Sunday, October 6, 2013

Camera bug

My wife took this picture at my request. That's the second woolly bear I saw in September, and both of 'em had the long black band in front, and a short black band at the rear.

What does it mean? Maybe that the winter starts out rough, but spring comes early?

Saw a third one just the other day, and he had the same pattern: long in front. Except, he didn't move at all, so I'm not sure it was the front.

A couple years ago all of 'em had tiny short black ends, both ends, and that was a very mild winter around here. It's funny how the color pattern seems to vary uniformly, different patterns in different years but great similarity in any one year. (If you can find "great" similarity among only three bugs.)

Kevin Myatt's Weather Journal recently had a picture of a woolly bear that shows the same long black slash short black pattern. From a comment by TQ on that post:
How to Forecast with Banded Woolly Bear Caterpillars
Long-range winter forecasters who use the banded wooly bear caterpillar look at the width of the black stripes on the worm's front and back and the ratio of black-to-orange.

With that information in hand, the following forecasting rules apply:
- If the black stripes are narrow – defined as less than half the worm's length – then the winter will be mild.
- If the black stripes are thick – defined as more than half the worm's length, then the winter will be cold or harsh with harsh being undefined.

Some banded woolly bear caterpillar forecasters can tease out additional information by looking out the difference between the front and back black bands:
- If the front band is larger than the back band, then the first part winter will be colder or harsher than the last half.
- If the front band is merely dipped in black, that portends a mild first half, whereas if the back band is merely dipped in black, that portends an early spring.
- If the caterpillar is mostly black, then winter will get cold early and there will be a lot of precipitation.
- If the caterpillar is all black, then the winter's snowfall will be light.
- If small brown spots are present, then the winter's dominant precipitation type will be drizzle

The 2013-2014 forecast!
Overall mild
Start of winter will be more harsh than the end of winter.
Early spring.

I know my dad kept an eye on the woolly bears.

No comments: