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Praying mantis nests may be hiding in your Christmas tree

Knoxville WVLT-TV logo Knoxville WVLT-TV 12/15/2020 Lauren Meyers
a nest in a tree: Florida woman finds praying mantis nests in Christmas tree. © Provided by Knoxville WVLT-TV Florida woman finds praying mantis nests in Christmas tree.

TALLAHASSEE, Fl. (WVLT) - All sorts of bugs and insects can hitch a ride inside your home on a Christmas tree. A Florida woman found multiple praying mantis nests in her real Christmas tree.

Leah Mikola said so far this year, she found 3 ‘lumps’ hidden in the branches of her tree.

She said she did some research and found that the ‘lumps’ can be praying mantis egg sacks. Officials say that those lumps found on trees could carry 100 to 200 praying mantis eggs, Chicago 5 reported.

The ‘lumps’ are smaller than a match stick. If hatched, the mantises can crawl all over the walls, windows and ceilings of a house.

Mikola told WVLT News she has always bought a real Christmas tree and has not been concerned until now.

However, officials with the University of Illinois said that such occurrences are rare, “occurring in 1 out of 100,000 cut trees.”

When East Tennesseans find more than what Santa left under the Christmas tree, AG expert with the UT Extension Neal Denton gets a call. He told WVLT News it’s not uncommon to get unwanted critters in your tree.

“Eggs will begin to think it’s spring, because it’s warm in the house. So, they’ll hatch and come out,” said Denton. “They [praying mantis] seem to like it[the trees]. They have dense foliage on Christmas trees. So, it’s a good place for them to lay their eggs, because then predators will have a tougher time catching them.”

Pest control company Safer Brand reported that as many as 25,000 bugs can live in one tree.

The major insects include: adelgids, aphids, bark beetles, mites, praying mantises, psocids, scale insects, spiders, bark lice and webworms. The company said most of the bugs aren’t dangerous and will eventually die.

The pest company said it’s important to check out your tree for bug nests before buying it and bringing it into your home. They also recommended leaving the tree in your garage for a few days and shaking it out to dislodge any critters.

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