If you spot such clusters on your Christmas tree, you need to take the tree down immediately

Your Christmas tree could be home to over 25,000 insects but you may want to be aware of a recently discovered clump that is, in reality, a cluster of over one hundred praying mantis eggs.

If you spot such clusters on your Christmas tree, you need to take the tree down immediately

Christmas is over — so what do you do with your Christmas tree? While some chuck it out the moment Christmas day ends, others leave it up for so long that one might consider using the same tree for next Christmas. 

But there is a sign that your tree does not belong indoors for longer than a stipulated time. That sign is a walnut-sized mass that looks like a pinecone. Though rare, this hardened brown patch on the branches of your Christmas tree is a cluster of more than one hundred praying mantis eggs called ootheca.

If you find these clusters on your Christmas tree, cut them off and leave them outside for they are in reality a mass of praying mantis eggs, waiting to hatch! (Source: Daniel Reed)

An ootheca is an egg mass produced by several different groups of insects. Most notably cockroaches and mantises. The ootheca contains several hundred eggs. 

These eggs could be lurking around on the branches of your fir tree, hidden amidst your festive decorations! If you do happen to spot them, you'll know you've got praying mantis eggs ready to hatch and take over your house!

Don't feel distressed over this, if you do find them, clip off the branch and leave it outside on a bush or a tree. In this way, you will ensure their safety and protect them from the damp environment. Zoologist Gavin Svenson from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, says the warmth of your homes can accelerate the time it takes for the eggs to hatch. Tricking them into believing winter is over, they'll finally wake are also likely to starve inside your home and eventually die.

An ootheca contains over several hundreds of eggs. Source: Shutterstock

Daniel Reed discovered the clump of eggs on his tree and shared a picture on Facebook along with a warning which went viral and was shared over 75,000 times. Daniel wants people to be aware of these walnut-shaped egg masses and what they can do to ensure their safety.

“If you happen to see a walnut-sized/shaped egg mass, on your Christmas tree, don’t fret, clip the branch and put it in your garden," he wrote.

“We had two egg masses on our tree this year. Don’t bring them inside they will hatch and starve!”

Praying mantis are usually found in tropical and temperate climates. (Source: Shutterstock)

Praying mantis are usually found in tropical and temperate climates, and are likely to die in colder parts of the world. To ensure their survival, the eggs could be placed high up on the tree branches. 

The zoologist said: "Many insects in northern climates have adapted to deal with the winter and they can handle the cold just fine."

The bugs you find on your tree are not likely to cause any problems. They're harmless and it is quite natural to find them on your tree. 

Doug Hundley with the National Christmas Tree Association says, "We call them harmless hitchhikers. That can be on a Christmas tree, that can get through the harvesting process and still be on the tree. When they come into the home, they stay on the tree and you never see them.”

The warmth in your house could accelerate the hatching of these eggs and the praying mantis could starve and die. (Source: Shutterstock)

Many people on Facebook were thankful to Reed for having educated them on this. 

Betsy Borowiak said, “You educated me today, thanks, now I know to look for this and make sure we protect and care.”

Carolyn Henderson summed up what you may currently be thinking, “And that is why I don’t want a real tree in my house.”

Connie Wydra Newton commented, “We had a tree with one in and we didn’t know until they hatched. They were everywhere.”

The average Christmas tree could be home to around 25000 insects. (Source: Unsplash)

There is something new to learn every day. Now that you are aware, go check your Christmas tree and before you panic, let us tell you it's highly unlikely for you to find them, but if you do, you know what to do! 

Cheers!

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