Here’s What You Need to Know About Praying Mantis Eggs in Christmas Tree Branches

You read that right, people do find praying mantis eggs in Christmas trees. But don't panic yet.

If you water your Christmas tree, you’ve probably gotten to know its branches pretty personally. Maybe you’re keeping a mental note on which ones to avoid, because they’re holding with delicate ornaments you don’t want to disturb—or have given you scrapes and scratches. Either way, with all the time you spend in, out and around the tree, you’d notice if something was unusual.

When I say unusual, we don’t mean things like sap or cobwebs. I mean finding praying mantis eggs in Christmas tree branches. Yes, it’s a thing, but not that common. Here’s what you need to know!

Do Praying Mantises Lay Eggs in Christmas Trees?

The short answer is yes. But don’t panic!

Christmas trees, like anything grown outdoors, are subject to visits from furry friends, harsh conditions and even the occasional hitchhiker. However, Christmas tree farmers do everything they can to prevent and limit these interactions, because nobody wants Chip and Dale rummaging around in the branches on Christmas morning.

If you set up a real tree in your home, there’s always a chance you may be bringing an insect or two with it, but not a big chance. Snopes says that there’s about a 1 in 100,000 chance that a Christmas tree will be host to a pest of some sort, and as far as praying mantises go, that chance narrows down significantly. Snopes dug even further, checking in with a spokesperson for the National Christmas Tree Association, who said that it is “very rare” to find praying mantis eggs in your tree.

Here’s what to do with your Christmas tree after the holidays.

If You’re Still Worried, Look for This on Your Tree

Though finding praying mantis eggs in your Christmas tree is highly unlikely, that’s not to say that it hasn’t happened. It has.

The above Facebook post was shared in 2017 and sent quite a few Christmas tree buyers into a frenzy. But, as we now know, this problem isn’t a common one. If you’re still spooked, check your tree right now—just look for a mass on the branches that looks kind of like a walnut. And in the off chance that you find one? Snip it off with some pruners and set the nest near your garden. It’s smart to always check your tree, too, before you saw it down and strap it to the top of your car.

And as far as praying mantises go, they’re not nearly as scary as they look. To humans, they’re harmless “friendly hitchhikers” who’d rather be outdoors than indoors.

This is when to take your Christmas tree down. And don’t forget—running a vacuum cleaner on the rug isn’t the best way to pick up Christmas tree needles. Instead, pop on a crevice attachment or use a lint roller.

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Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.