Woolly Worms and Wives’ Tales

Woolly Worms and Wives’ Tales

We found this fast little fellow on our sidewalk and had to share!

I have always heard it said that if the woolly worms in the fall are solid black, it will be a long, cold winter.

Who am I to argue with the wisdom of wives’ tales?

We have spotted quite a few of these solidly colored, fuzzy fellows lately and (along with the Farmer’s Almanac) it has me curious.

Last fall the woolly worms all seemed to have three stripes. They were black, then brown, then black again. This pattern was actually a pretty accurate reflection of the winter. It started out cold and wet, was dry and mild, and then really wet and cold before early spring.

2015-wooly-worms

2015 Woolly Worm

 

The idea of Mother Nature providing us hints as to what is to come (weather wise) has always fascinated me, so I did some research. Here is a brief synopsis of the cool stuff I learned.

In the 1940’s and 1950’s the curator of insects from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, Dr. C. H. Curran, conducted a study of the Woolly Bear Caterpillars to see if the size of their brown band was an accurate predictor of the type of winter that would follow their autumn appearance. His research did support the wives’ tale, but he knew it was too small a sampling to legitimately support the fanciful idea fully. It would take a much more serious and larger scale investigation to prove those old wives (whomever they may be) correct. While unable to deliver a definitive answer, Dr. Curran, his wife, and a close group of friends enjoyed these studies so much they called themselves The Original Society of the Friends of the Woolly Bear.  Continue reading “Woolly Worms and Wives’ Tales”

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