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Do Lots of Acorns Mean a Long Winter and other 10 Myths About Winter

There's some strange folklore out there about winter weather predictors.

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Do a Lot of Acorns Mean a Long Winter?

The old saying is “squirrels gathering nuts in a flurry will cause snow to gather in a hurry” but is there any truth to it? Well, there isn’t any truth to it and instead it’s only ever been a coincidence if a bad winter follows a large dropping of acorns, the same goes if there is a mild winter. But it’s fun to look at weather folklore so here are other myths about winter you might not know about, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. Learn cleaning myths you’ve believed for way too long.

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OnionWako Megumi/Shutterstock

Thick Onion Skins

Folklore claims that thicker onion skins can signal a cold and snowy winter. The old saying goes, “Onion skins very thin, mild winter coming in; onion skins thick and tough, coming winter cold and rough.” People have tried to tie what crops look like to predict the weather but what crops look like typically reflect the growing season. See why using an onion on your grill is a great idea.

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Woodpeckers Sharing a Tree

Woodpeckers typically create their own roost so if two were to share a tree it would signal something. In weather lore, two woodpeckers is supposed to mean a rough winter. Woodpeckers can wreak havoc on your house, here’s how you can keep woodpeckers away.

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Crickets house bugsKlzTH/Shutterstock

Crickets Arriving Early on the Hearth

An early arrival of crickets to the hearth means an early winter and crickets are widely considered to be good luck. The cricket has also been used in the past to tell the temperature because the number of chirps in 14 seconds plus 40 is supposed to equal the temperature. Here’s how to get rid of crickets.

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Spiders Spinning Large Webs

“Spiders spinning larger than usual webs and entering the house in great numbers” has meant a hard winter coming in weather lore. It’s tough to say if there’s a correlation between spiders spinning large webs and a harsh winter but pests typically seek shelter in homes as the temperature drops. Here’s what you can do to prevent pests from getting in your house.

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Woolly-caterpillarNancy Bauer/Shutterstock

Small Orange Band on Woolly Caterpillars

The width of a woolly caterpillar’s orange band is rumored to be a signal of the type of winter coming. If it’s a narrow band, there will be a cold and long winter, if it’s wide, it will be a short and mild winter. Also, the thickness of the woolly caterpillar’s hair is another folklore weather indicator. If the hair is thick, it could be a harsher winter. If the hair is thin, it could be a cooler winter. The use of the woolly caterpillar to indicate weather seems to come from a study from Dr. Charles Curran back in the late 1940s when he said that the width of the orange hair predicted the type of winter with 80 percent accuracy. But his research hasn’t been duplicated in the years following. You could find any of these crazy cool caterpillars in your backyard.

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Street of residential housesKonstantin L/Shutterstock

Green Leaves on Trees Late into Fall

Trees that continue to have green leaves late into the fall has meant a long, hard winter in weather lore but it is more likely a result of a cold spell that has interrupted the process of trees shedding leaves. These are 11 things you should never do with fallen leaves.

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Large-hickory-nutsJiang Zhongyan/Shutterstock

Heavy Shelled Hickory Nuts

Like an onion, a thick hickory shell is believed to mean a cold winter and a thin hickory shell means a mild winter. Do something different during the holidays and crack some nuts with hand tools.

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large tree in open yard Steven H Gordon/Shutterstock

Tree Bark Heavier on the North Side of Trees

If tree bark is thicker on the north part of a tree, it’s supposed to mean a cold winter though it’s hard to say where this weather lore came from and how someone could tell if the bark is thicker on one side. Find out why you should never grow these trees in your yard.

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Crickets in the Chimney

The chimney is one area where pests like to climb in to get out of the winter cold. According to weather lore, if there are many crickets appearing in the chimney it means that it will be a cold winter. See what you can do to keep pests out of your chimney.

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Raccoon-with-a-bushy-tail-on-a-roofPuffin's Pictures/Shutterstock

Thick Tails and Bright Bands on Raccoons

Kind of like with the woolly caterpillar, a sign of a long, cold winter is supposed to be thick tails and bright bands on raccoons. It’s as if animals can sense a harsh winter coming in weather lore but it’s hard to find a correlation. Animals typically have a winter coat each year anyway. Here’s how you can get rid of raccoons from your yard.

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pig with a raised snout outsideJulia Lototskaya/Shutterstock

Pigs Picking Up Sticks

Pigs have been said to predict weather through their behavior. In weather lore they’ll gather straw or sticks in their mouth to make a nest, which is a sign cold is coming. If it does turn out to be a long and cold winter you’ll need these tips on how to keep your home warm in the winter.

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