Dear Tom,
I am having problems with squirrels digging through my garden this summer, and I have never had this problem in years past. Is this a sign of a harsh winter ahead?
Marge Onsen, Oak Lawn

Dear Marge,
Folklore holds that when squirrels are busily gathering large stores of nuts, a severe winter lies ahead. However, research provides no documented evidence that squirrels (or any other animal, for that matter) can predict future weather. Experts from a wide range of disciplines agree that animal behavior, even when it is unusual or uncharacteristic, is a response to past or current weather and it is not based on predictive ability. You are probably dealing with especially aggressive squirrels who are merely taking advantage of the bounty of your garden.