Just a few months ago, we shared an unusual warning with you about live Christmas trees.
While chopping down and decorating your own tree is a Christmas tradition, it has its risks. Of course, live trees are more flammable than the plastic kind, and they can leave annoying needles all over your living room.
But most tree buyers don’t concern themselves worrying about pest infestations. This story could change their minds.
Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has already warned that insects like moths, weevils, and mites will sometimes cling to your Christmas tree.
While experts assure us the risk of bringing bugs into your home on a tree is very small, that’s just what happened to an unfortunate woman from Virginia.
Molly Kreuze was preparing to throw away her Christmas tree this week, when a pair of brown egg sacs attached to the decoration started hatching.
"Bugs," Kreuze said while describing the scene to ABC 7. "Crawling on the walls, crawling on the ceilings. Just kind of moving."
The homeowner managed to round up dozens of the creepy crawlies, which were later identified as praying mantises.
While most people would be eager to rid their home of the bugs, Kreuze is a veterinarian, and has kept them in a box. She's even been feeding them flies while trying to rehome them.
"In my Googling, I discovered people really like praying mantises," Kreuze explained.
"They are useful. They eat other bugs. People use them for organic gardening. I hope to find them a home."
It’s not unheard of for insect eggs to spawn on Christmas trees, since the bugs inside those eggs are waiting for warmer weather to hatch and could mistake your cozy home for the spring air.
But usually, just a handful of small insects are born, and they often die before they can do any real damage to your home.
Most of the time, giving the tree a good shake while it’s still outdoors is enough to keep bugs out. Combing the branches for brown walnut-shaped masses can also help: these are actually clutches of up to 400 mantis eggs.
Cutting off the limb with the egg attached and leaving it outdoors (in a bush or hedge) will help the mantids inside survive once winter is over.
While Kreuze is still searching for a place to send the bugs, she makes it clear that they are not welcome to hang around now that the holidays are over.
"I don’t want them," she said.
Kreuze also said she’ll be shopping for a fake tree next year.
[H/T: Global News]