“O Christmas tree clumps, O Christmas tree clumps, wherever are you hiding?” (You sang that, right?) Now that that catchy Christmas tune is stuck in your head, let’s get down to the bottom of what Christmas tree clumps we’re talking about, and why there are warnings about insects in Christmas trees this year.
When you pick up a real Christmas tree, you might see some branches clumped together, or pinecones hiding near the limb. However, if you see any lump, it’s worth checking out. After all, a mass of any kind inside your tree is worth examining since it could actually be something that is not welcome (to say the least).
Curious about these mysterious clumps? Wondering if you should be worried? Let’s get into it.
Related: Here’s What You Need To Know About These 16 Types of Christmas Trees Before Heading to the Tree Farm!
What insects are in these mysterious Christmas tree clumps?
The Christmas tree clumps we’re referring to are small, walnut-shaped egg sacks from a praying mantis that you could find on your tree. And just one egg could be a big deal. After all, a praying mantis can lay up to 300 eggs in one sack.
Okay, gross. I mean, who wants some insect hitchhikers invading your home during the holidays?
Should you be worried about praying mantis eggs?
While a praying mantis egg in your tree would be a serious problem and it is something to look out for, the reality is (not what you may have seen floating around the internet since at least 2017) that the odds of you bringing in a praying mantis’s sack of babies are low. Actually, the chances of you bringing in any insects are low—but even more so for the minorly aggressive insect.
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Thankfully, according to Snopes, there is a significantly less chance of bringing a praying mantis into your home than any other insect, which that happening is only about 1 in 100,000.
That being said, Snopes also admits “praying mantis egg cases have been found on occasion on Christmas trees,” so it’s absolutely a good idea to look out for these clumps—and ideally before you bring the tree into your house. Once the tree is in a warmer environment, that’s when the eggs would begin to hatch.
How to get rid of Christmas tree clumps and prevent praying mantis eggs from hatching
Let’s face it: Bugs live outside and have to live in or on something. And that something could very well be your Christmas tree. But that doesn’t mean that you have to bring them inside your home when your tree does!
Carefully inspect the tree’s branches for any critters. A Christmas clump is small and shaped like a walnut (and colored similarly as well).
If you find one, just clip it off and take it back outside, placing it near a garden or another tree. The jury is out on whether or not to discard the egg sac, as praying mantises are known as an “invasive” species. But they do eat some unwanted bugs too and may do well to keep those away from your garden in the spring.
Warning: Do not spray any type of pesticide or bug spray on your tree. They are flammable!
Bottom line—Bugs are a possibility with live trees, and that’s a chance you take for getting a real Christmas tree. But with the right steps and a careful eye, you should be able to avoid any issues.
Next up, 100 Unique Christmas Tree Theme Ideas To Get You in the Holiday Spirit