What Do Woolly Bear Caterpillars Eat? (Food List)

woolly bear caterpillar

The woolly bear caterpillar is a very common insect, which feeds primarily on foliage of broad-leaf deciduous trees.

These creatures usually stay close to the ground and rarely bother cultivated trees, but they are known to occasionally make their way up a tree to feed.

Generally, they prefer tree species with lower tannin content and a higher sugar content. Despite the name, the caterpillar’s diet varies greatly depending on its location.

Leafy delicacies

The woolly bear caterpillar feeds on leaves of a variety of plants, including nettles, lamb’s quarters, burdock, sunflower, and other plant species.

They also eat various vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage. Herbaceous plants, also known as forbs, have leaves instead of blades and are low-growing. They are not known to eat woody plants.

Low-growing plants

The caterpillars’ feeding habits vary from one species to another. The yellow woollybear is especially suited to growing in a temperate climate, as its larvae can survive in freezing temperatures.

Despite the fact that these animals are native to colder climates, their diets are quite varied, and some of them are even edible; Soybeans, ferns, and other low-growing plants are favorites of the woolly bear.

Dandelion leaves

Woolly bear caterpillars prefer dandelion leaves. However, they will also eat birch, maple, and sedge leaves.

Although they can be very picky eaters, they are still known to eat leafy greens and are an excellent source of green foliage. If you are worried that the caterpillars may contaminate your food, don’t be afraid – the earthworms will not ingest it if you do this.

Herbs and trees

Woolly bear caterpillars eat a wide variety of green plants, including herbs and trees. They prefer leaves and tend to sleep under fallen leaves, and can survive in ice.

During the day, they can meander slowly or wander around in a forest. During the winter, they feed on flowers, grass, and tree twigs, but they will also feed on tree grubs.

They will stay indoors and overwinter in colder areas, and they can cause serious damage to your plants. These insects may eat your plants, but they will not harm you.

They will only eat plants that are safe for humans and pets. You can eat anything that they eat, including eggs. They are a pest in many areas but don’t worry – the woolly bear is harmless!

Green and leafy plants

The caterpillars have thirteen segments and will eat anything green and leafy. They are mostly found in forests but can be found in cities, as well. When feeding, the caterpillars will eat dandelions, violets, and dandelions.

These caterpillars will only eat plants that are edible to them. During the day, they will eat flowers that are not edible to humans.

Where do Woolly Bear Caterpillars live?

The caterpillars are not poisonous, but they do need a jar to live in. The woolly bear caterpillars can be kept in a glass jar for a couple of months and can be kept in a dark place for several months.

They can also be kept in the ground under logs and rocks. They prefer dry habitats, so it is best to find a suitable container.


In winter, the woolly bear caterpillars feed on flowers. Some species are beneficial, while others are harmful. If you find a single woolly bear caterpillar, be sure to check the rusty bands and avoid touching the caterpillar.

In the wild, the black bands on the caterpillars will indicate the presence of parasites, and the wide rusty bands indicate a milder winter.

The food source of woolly bear caterpillars varies widely. They may eat grasses but prefer forbs.

The species in their native range is called Pyrrharctia iosa. The Isabella Tiger moth is the most common species of woolly bear caterpillar. The slender, hairy, spiny hairs of the cocoons are a sign of an infestation.