The Wooly worms have made there annual visit to Brevard. When I see them I always know that winter is around the corner. Below are some interesting facts about the Wooly Worm and MaMaw (grandmother Worley) no matter what research says was just about right on with the weather by observing the Wooly Worm and other creatures. Not to mention she always planted her gardens by the signs and I never saw a bad crop but always one of the best gardens in the south.
Below is a compilation of several articles I found quite interesting; enjoy and maybe if you pet one you just might have some good luck.
"The creatures we call wooly worms are, in fact, caterpillars, so their time spent as a wooly worm is limited. The United States is home to at least eight species of the hairy caterpillars that are commonly called wooly worms."
According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the longer the middle brown band, the milder and shorter the coming winter; the shorter the brown band, the longer and more severe winter will be.
The truth behind the woolly worms/bear's band length actually has more to do with age than with predicting the weather. As the caterpillar prepares to overwinter, the caterpillar molts, becoming less black and more reddish-brown as it ages. Woolly worms overwinter from September to May, and are commonly found along nature trails and wooded edges and crossing sidewalks and roadways seeking overwintering sites.
A lot of folklore surrounds the banded wooly worm, particularly related to its supposed ability to predict upcoming winter weather each fall.
"The typical banded wooly worm has sections of black hairs at each end, and a section of orange-brown hairs in the center," she explained. "Legend says that the more black on a banded wooly worm, the more severe the winter will be.
"Some folks have taken this to an extreme, and noting that there are 13 segments in a typical banded wooly worm, they argue that each segment represents one week of winter. Orange segments predict mild weeks, and black ones foretell bad winter weather."
Then there are those that insist that the thickness of the hairs is the predictor--thick hair equals a bad winter, sparse hair a mild one. Another legend says that the direction a wooly worm is found traveling is a hint about the coming winter. If the wooly worm is traveling north, count on a mild winter. If he's headed south, get ready for a long, cold winter.
"Research has shown repeatedly that the colors or hairs of wooly worms have no bearing on weather the following winter," she said. "Larvae hatched from the same clutch of eggs reared under one set of environmental conditions will show a range of hair thickness and colorations, from fully orange to fully black.
"This variation in a constant environment is a strong argument against wooly worms being able to predict the weather. There is genetic segregation for color and hair thickness present in the wooly worm population. This segregation would make it nearly impossible to visually sort out any environmental influence if it did exist."
People come from miles around to participate in the Banner Elk wooly worm festival races.