It's December, what many believe to be the most wonderful time of the year as they gear up for the holidays. Homes are being decorated inside and out, made to feel nice and cozy. In such pleasant ambiances, everyone seems to be at peace, but that tranquility can be severely disrupted by a barely noticeable brown clump that might be hanging on your Christmas tree right now.
The walnut-sized object could be quietly hiding among ornaments that have been passed down for generations and shiny tinsel, but if you don't get rid of it faster than Santa drops down a chimney, you will be pretty sorry. That's because the small, pine cone-shaped object is an egg sac, and it's holding a couple hundred little praying mantises that are likely very ready to hatch in your warm home.
A Cleveland man discovered two in his tree and posted a warning for others on Facebook.
It turns out the coziness of your home is exactly what causes the problem. The eggs on the trees are meant to stay cool through the winter and then hatch in the spring, when the insects in the egg can survive. However, when the tree is brought into your warm house, the toasty temps cause the eggs to hatch and all the mantises inside to emerge, only to then starve and die. At that point, you have to clean up all those bugs.
Based on comments on the post, the nightmarish scenario has happened to many people. One person wrote, "We had a tree with one in and we didn't know until they hatched. They were everywhere," while another said, "That s**t happened to me a few years ago, it was crazy, went to my in laws' house came back to a bunch of little bugs, found out they were praying mantises." Someone else stated, "I think I have PTSD from when it happened to us."
It's no big deal if you do find an egg sac in your tree, at least if you get to it early. If you do spot one, don't worry, you don't need to toss the whole evergreen out and get a new one. Instead, just clip off the branch that the egg sac is on and simply put it outside.