One Virginia woman had a walnut-shaped Christmas ornament on her tree this past holiday season: a praying mantis egg sac!
Molly Kreuze of Springfield, VA told the media the insects hatched from a brown egg-shaped sac that was hidden beneath the tree’s branches. “They were crawling on the walls, crawling on the ceilings. Just king of moving,” proclaimed Kreuze.
This isn’t the first time real tree owners has seen walnut-sized masses that resemble pine cones appear on their Christmas trees. In 2017, one Facebook user posted a photo of a “walnut-shaped egg mass” and wrote that her tree had two eggs on it that year. She urged any one who had eggs on their tree to take them outside before they hatch.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry, praying mantises begin to eat one another if they can’t find food. If they are left on your tree, numerous tiny mantids swarm over the tree in search of their next meal.
Each sac has about 100 praying mantis eggs inside them and hatch due to the warmth of the indoors.
Next year if you’re purchasing a real tree, double check for light tan, walnut sized, frothy sac masses before taking your tree indoors. If you find one, cut it out of tree and place it somewhere it can hatch safely.