Many people feel the holidays are the most wonderful time of year - homes are decorated inside and out and perhaps there is a nice fire going. With such a pleasant ambiance, everyone seems to feel cozy and at peace, but that calmness can be severely disrupted by one small brown clump that could be hanging on your Christmas tree right now.
The walnut-sized object might be quietly hiding among the ornaments passed down for generations and the shining 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 that pine cone-shaped object is actually 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 found two in his tree and posted a warning to 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 inside can survive. However, when the tree is brought into your warm house, it causes the egg 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.
It's happened to plenty of people based on comments on the post. 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 said, "I think I have PTSD from when it happened to us."
If you do find an egg sac in your tree, don't worry, you don't need to toss the whole evergreen out and get a new one, just clip off the branch that the egg sac is on and put it outside.