Subject: Woolly Bear Caterpillar
Location: Corvallis, OR
October 14, 2013 5:29 pm
Dear Bugman-
My three year old daughter and I have found two of these caterpillars. I believe that they are Isabella Tiger moth woolly bears. We have been feeding them plantain and dandylion greens and are concerned that we might not be providing the correct diet. They are eating the plantain leaves. I read that they eat Alder leaves- though there are no such trees in the immediate location in which we have found caterpillars. Do you have any suggestions? They will be over wintering on our patio in a screen topped jar.
Signature: Gwen’s Mommy

Banded Woolly Bear

Banded Woolly Bear

Dear Gwen’s Mommy,
You have correctly identified this Banded Woolly Bear as the caterpillar of the Isabella Tiger Moth.  It sounds like you are providing the correct habitat for them.  If they are eating plantain, you should be fine.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae eats many plants and trees including grasses, asters, birches, clover, corn, elms, maples and sunflowers.”  They will most likely pupate soon.

Thank you!  We are looking forward to observing the process!

Location: Corvalis, Oregon

2 Responses to Banded Woolly Bear

  1. Amy says:

    We found a Isabella Tiger Moth Caterpillar in our driveway. We have put him in our butterfly habitat to watch it turn into a Moth. Can we feed it spinach and kale as its now late fall and most leaves have turned brown and our yard has been sprayed?

    • bugman says:

      According to BugGuide: “The first of two broods pupates in Summer. The second brood overwinters as a caterpillar and pupates in Spring.” With winter hibernation, the caterpillar will not need to feed. Keep the temperature of the habitat cool to prevent early emergence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *