People are being warned to check their Christmas trees for clumps – as they may need to be removed immediately.
Decorating your Christmas tree is undeniably one of the happiest moments of the holiday season.
That sparkling, light-filled, great-smelling festive addition sparks joy whenever you look at it.
But there’s also a serious downside to bringing a real tree inside your home.
People on the internet are sharing some absolutely horrifying things they’ve discovered in their Christmas trees – and it’s giving everyone the heebie-jeebies.
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It makes sense that a fir tree grown outside could house some creepy crawlies, but for some reason, many of us just don’t consider that when bringing them into our homes!
However, there’s one particular – although rare – sign of a bug infestation on your tree that could spell danger.
Christmas tree owners are being warned to check their foliage for any small, walnut-sized brown lumps.
These lumps could be a sign of a seriously horrifying bug infestation that must be removed immediately.
The lumps, which also closely resemble miniature pinecones, are actually a sign your tree may be infested with praying mantis eggs.
These lumps are sacs containing 100-200 praying mantis eggs, and need to be taken out of your home as soon as possible before they hatch!
It should be noted although they may not be a pleasant find, they are not common or dangerous.
“These are 100-200 praying mantis eggs! We had two egg masses on our tree this year.
“Don’t bring them inside they will hatch and starve!”
Even more terrifyingly, several people commented that they’d also experienced this weird Christmas tree phenomenon.
One reply read: “We had a tree with one in and we didn’t know until they hatched. They were everywhere.”
A second person added: “That s*** happened to me a few years ago it was crazy, went to my in-laws’ house came back to a bunch of little bugs, and found out they were praying mantises.”
A third joked: “I think I have PTSD from when it happened to us.”
A fourth clean-freak commented: “If I see this the whole tree is going in the garden! Taking no chances with bugs.”
Whilst another remembered: “I had one hatch one year after the tree had been in the house for about a week… had thousands of baby praying mantises in every branch tip! They were adorable but had to succumb to the vacuum cleaner!”
It seems as though this is a problem to be concerned with if you opt for a real Christmas tree.
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“The females will lay their eggs on any kind of plant. It’s not like they’re seeking out pine trees to lay their eggs on,” Case Western Reserve biology professor Mark Willis tells Fox 8.
“It’s a very rare occurrence, but, sometimes it happens.”
But things can get especially scary after your infested tree has been inside for a while.
“Eggs will begin to think it’s spring because it’s warm in the house. So, they’ll hatch and come out,” expert Neal Denton told WVLT.
So, what should you do if you do discover these praying mantis egg sacs?
“Gently sweep them up, using a broom and dustpan, into Tupperware before placing it into the freezer (to euthanise the mantis nymphs) or to transfer to a terrarium to feed and play with until the summer when you can release them back into the wild,” Sydney K. Brannoch, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Washington who wrote a thesis on the creatures, tells House Beautiful.
Snopes has also confirmed that praying mantis eggs really can be found on Christmas trees, so it’s definitely worth giving yours a check to avoid any… unwanted gifts.