The praying mantis does look like an alien from another planet but it is strictly an earthling (as far as we know). So how do you connect these bugs with Christmas? It's really simple and it will make you think differently about your real tree selection. The female praying mantis really prefers to lay her pod of eggs in Fraser fir trees which are often sold as Christmas trees.

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis

Image via Wikimedia

Normally this pod of eggs will remain dormant until spring and then hatch normally. However, in the warmth of your home the whole process speeds up and you could find yourself with hundreds of these beneficial bugs for the holidays. Aside from being annoying these little bugs will slowly starve to death.

You can tell you have one of these pods. It is about the size of a walnut, brown, sometimes a bit frothy, and looks rather like it was woven together. Check it out in the photo below:

Praying Mantis Egg Pod
Praying Mantis Egg Pod

Image via Wikimedia

Do yourself and these mantis eggs a favor and nip off the offending branch just beyond the pod and take it outside. They will go on and hatch in late spring as they were meant to and go on to eat a whole bunch of insects like mosquitoes. Just letting them die out is not a fun option since they will go cannibal and start eating each other. They might try eating other things too. I once found one in my pantry and it had survived by breaking into a package of cookies. Ugh.

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis

Image via Wikimedia

This past January a woman in Springfield, VA, found the little critters crawling out of her discarded tree. Each pod contains about 100 to 200 eggs, so clean up is a big job. While the Frasier fir was specifically mentioned, the mantises will use a variety of vegetation, so it is best to check all kinds of Christmas trees. Don't worry too much through. The odds of this happening is only 1 in 100,000.

Here's hoping that you'll have a merry, bug-free Christmas.

Sources: House Beautiful, Marie Claire, SC Weekend, NBC Chicago

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