If you see this lump on your Christmas tree, your home is about to be invaded by bugs

Christmas tree vendors prepare for upcoming demand

Before bringing that pine tree into your home this holiday season, you may want to check it for this one specific lump.

One of the most beloved Christmas traditions is putting up a Christmas tree in your home and decorating it. But if you're a person who gets a real pine tree every year you need to watch out for stealthy bugs.

This walnut-sized brown lump on a pine tree may seem like a growing pinecone or a mess of branches, but it's actually a praying mantis egg.

Praying mantises are a type of insect known for eating pretty much anything, including each other.

Sign up for our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Female mantises, who sometimes practice sexual cannibalism, often lay their eggs in-between sticks or twigs.

Pine trees make a perfect spot for them because the egg case is hidden easily and the stems are sturdy enough to hold it.

But people who have not caught a mantis's egg case on their pine tree have become the unlucky host to hundreds of young mantises.

While mantises are predominantly harmless to humans, that doesn't mean people want them in their homes.

So, if you see a walnut-size egg on your tree, trim it off and put it outside.

Praying mantises are native to North America but now parts of the UK have been seeing the insect pop up more over the last few years.


Sawflies, bark beetles, scale insects, spiders, mites, aphids, and adelgids can also live in Christmas trees.

To prevent picking up a Christmas tree with mantises, or other bugs, hidden in it, be sure to examine the branches and bark before bringing it inside.

Some people recommend shaking the tree and letting it sit in your garage for 24 hours before putting it up as well, to prevent bugs from crawling around.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)