It may be fun to predict the approaching winter weather by looking at the wooly bears. There is a difference of opinion, however, as to the reliability of these fuzzy little caterpillars.
The wooly bear caterpillar is often seen crossing roads and sidewalks any time from spring to fall, but more often in the late fall.
According to weather folklore, the longer the middle brown band, the milder and shorter the approaching winter will be. The shorter the brown band, the longer and harsher the winter will be. This seems to have started in the late 16005 when farmers wanted something from nature to help them predict the weather.
Just how savvy are these woolly bears when it comes to predicting the winter? That depends on what you want to believe!
The Farmer’s Almanac mentions the relationship between caterpillar stripes and weather. There are even some people who may buy a new, warmer winter parka based on what the almanac says about the woolly bear’s stripes. After all, the almanac and wooly bears seem to be correct 80-85% of the time.
Scientists agree that often wide brown bands do fit in with the mild winter at the time. However, they insist that sometimes wooly bears have been found living near each other, yet their brown bands have shown different predictions for the same winter. Scientists speculate that the length of the colors may show the age of the caterpillar. As the woolly bear molts and gets closer to being an adult, it becomes less black and more brown.
There are interesting arguments for following either the Farmer’s Almanac or scientists. The choice is yours!
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