Yellow woollybear

Tiger moths

Link to Caterpillars in Your Yard and Garden Yellow woollybear caterpillars (Spilosoma virginica) are present from spring to fall. They produce two to three generations per year.

The body of this caterpillar is covered with small tubercles (often white or light colored) from which hairs of varying lengths and colors arise. Most of these tubercles contain some hairs that are almost twice the length of the other hairs in the tuft. The most common hair color is yellow, but orange-red to black variations exist. The body color is generally yellow, but it may vary from cream to light and dark brown. There is a dark line on both sides of the body, and the spiracles are white. Host plants include more than 100 vegetable, field crop, fruit, flower and weed species.

About the family

Tiger moth of the Arctiidae family caterpillars, often called woollybears, are covered entirely with dense clusters of tubercles from which arise short tufts of hairs or long hair “pencils” of varying colors. The hairs on these caterpillars can be irritating when handled by individuals with sensitive skin.