Can woolly worms predict our winter? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Can woolly worms predict our winter?

(Source: Sierra Potomac) (Source: Sierra Potomac)
(KFVS) - One of the most popular ways in folklore to predict the winter weather is to compare the black and brown bands on a woolly worm - also known as the caterpillar stage of the Isabella Tiger Moth.

People all around the world have been using this method since before written records.  Not all read the black and brown or gold markings the same way. 

Around the Heartland, the more black on the moth, the more severe the winter. 

Also, called the woolly bear, the woolly worm has a natural anti-freeze so it can survive the winter and show up in spring as the Tiger Moth.

Now how accurate can the Woolly Worms be when it comes to predicting this year's weather?  The folks at the Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, North Carolina say they are correct 80 to 85 percent of the time. 

But that was only one study back in 1950 and researchers since that time have not been able to replicate those numbers.

The scientists who study insects say that temperatures are not the only thing that affect a woolly worm's coloration including larval stage, food, moisture, age and sex.  We will have more about folklore and weather on Heartland News at 10 on Wednesday as we count the fogs for this winter season.

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