Fact or Fiction: Woolly Worms can predict the winter ahead

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For centuries, people have said that woolly worms, or woolly bears, can forecast the winter ahead. The saying goes if the red-brown band is wider, the winter will be mild. If the red-brown band is smaller, it will be a harsh winter. This is fiction.

Woolly worms are actually Isabella Tiger Moths and the width of their band is determined by the food they eat, the age of the worm, and the conditions the worms lives in. In fact, back in the 1940’s, Dr. C.H. Curran of New York’s Museum of Natural History, spent years trying to test the theory of the woolly worms forecasting winter weather. His study failed and proved that woolly worms can not accurately forecast the winter weather in the months ahead. Since then, other studies have backed up what he found in his initial experiments, that the worms cannot predict the weather.

However, the legend of the woolly worm lives on and now some towns even celebrate festivals around this insect! One of the well known woolly worm festivals happens in right here in Pennsylvania, in Lewisburg!

Weather folklore is fun! If you have heard a saying and want to know if it is fact or fiction, send cshields@wtajtv.com an email to find out if it is true!

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February 07 2021 06:30 pm

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