Wormy Weather: Does an increase of silkworms mean chilly weather is headed our way?

·2 min read

Our FOX13 meteorologists use all kinds of science and technology to forecast the weather, but some people want to leave it up to a worm that lives in hardwood trees around the Mid-South.

Some say those worms tell of a big chill heading our way.

They come by different names: webworms, silkworms, and pecan tree worms. Some people even believe they can forecast the weather.  A lot of trees around the Mid-South are overrun with them and their webby-looking, silky nests are all over pecan and other hardwood trees.

“It’s going to be a cold winter, so turn your heat up,” Jack Marr of Olive Branch said.

That’s the old wives’ tale behind these “worms,” which are actually caterpillars. They are thick in the trees this year and many people believe that says a lot of snow is headed our way. Believe it or don’t, as wormy as it is. Some say the caterpillars know.

”I don’t know, they know the consistency and the temperature and stuff,” Shannon Barnes of Olive Branch said.

Bug scientists at Mississippi State told FOX13 the caterpillars make their nests to protect themselves from birds and spiders as they turn into moths. The webbing keeps predators from getting to them.

By the way, the same scientists say that there is no study showing there is any connection between the number of caterpillar nests and the weather.

”They are basically just eating the leaves of the tree. They are not going to hurt them. They just make them real ugly. That’s all,” Timmy Burkes of Olive Branch said.

But, perhaps the trees’ bare limbs could soon be covered in snow. If so, some people say that’s just what the worms predicted.

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