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Families warned to check Christmas trees for clumps and remove them immediately

Lucy Devine

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| Last updated 

Families warned to check Christmas trees for clumps and remove them immediately

Featured Image Credit: Mint Images Limited / Alamy / Facebook

People are being warned to check their Christmas trees for strange 'lumps' after one man made a horrifying discovery lurking in his tree.

The Facebook user took to social media to warn others after he found a strange, walnut sized clump in his tree.

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With the start of December marking the time many of us will start putting up our trees and decorating our homes, the man explained how important it is to get rid of the clumps should you ever spot one lurking in the depths of your tree.

He said: "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.

The Facebook user warned others about the sac. Credit: Facebook/Daniel Reed
The Facebook user warned others about the sac. Credit: Facebook/Daniel Reed

"These are 100-200 praying mantis eggs!

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

*Shudder*.

Since the post was shared, other users have offered up their horrifying, similar experiences.

And while some were able to remove their nests in time, others were not so lucky.

One person wrote: "Missed one on a tree one year..... left town for 4 days....returned to babies all over...took hours to get them out...."

Each sac can contain hundreds of baby praying mantis. Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo
Each sac can contain hundreds of baby praying mantis. Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo

While another said: "I think I have ptsd from when it happened to us."

And a third added: "We had a tree with one in and we didn’t know until they hatched. They were everywhere."

While a fourth said: "I had one hatch one year after the tree had been in the house for about a week...had thousands of baby praying mantises in every branch tip! They were adorable but had to succumb to the vacuum cleaner!"

Others were adamant that without the post, they would have assumed the walnut-shaped mass was a pine cone.

"I probably would have thought it was a deformed pine cone. Thanks for the info," wrote one.

The sac is usually around an inch long. Credit: Panther Media GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo
The sac is usually around an inch long. Credit: Panther Media GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo

According to the website Gardening Know How, the adult female praying mantis lays eggs before the weather takes a colder turn in early winter.

They explain: "The sac is about 1 inch (3 cm) long, rectangular with rounded edges and tan to white.

"The eggs are surrounded by a frothy foam which hardens into the casing. The foam is called ootheca."

The site explains that by being indoors in the warmth, the insects hatch within four to six weeks or immediately if the sac is found in the late winter.

While it certainly sounds like it's best to remove the sac sooner rather than later, finding one in your tree is not common, or dangerous.

In fact, it's estimated that only one in 100,000 Christmas trees have pests once they're inside the home.

Added to that, Doug Hundley, a spokesperson for the National Christmas Tree Association, told Snopes that Christmas Tree Farms actually take precautions to reduce the chances.

So despite the horrifying stories, you can rest assured that it is extremely rare.

Topics: Life, Christmas

Lucy Devine
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