Woolly Bear

You see woolly bears crossing roads and drives.

When we walked out to our mailbox on a blustery early November afternoon, we learned we weren’t alone. A solitary woolly bear slowly inched its way across our driveway.  It must have seemed like an endless walk for this intriguing creature.

Sometimes we struggle to coordinate our two legs, so we’re glad we don’t have 13 body segments like our woolly bear friend.



It gets cold in Iowa. Very cold. On some winters it’s been 25 below zero at Winding Pathways, so how do insects whose larvae emerge in the fall survive?   Well, they have it figured out.  The insect finds a safe place and just lets the freeze come. Their body actually freezes solid, and sometimes we find one tucked into our woodpile on a frosty winter morning.

Woolly bears’ larvae aren’t picky eaters. They enjoy snacking on many types of vegetation but don’t seem to do much damage.  The slow-moving caterpillars of fall become Isabella tiger moths next year.

Can they predict how severe the coming winter weather will be? Probably not and they may not even care.  They’ll spend winter frozen solid and worrying about nothing.

We love seeing woolly bears each fall and someday we may visit one of the five wooly bear festivals.  They are held in Vermillion, Oh; Banner Elk, North Carolina; Beattyville, Kentucky; Oil City, Pennsylvania; and Little Valley, New York.

Woolly bears are always fun to see. Fortunately, they have a huge range across the northern part of North America.