Ohio bug expert warns insect egg cases could be in your Christmas tree

Once inside, more than 100 little insects could hatch and be all over your home.

Northeast Ohio bug expert warns insect egg cases could be in your Christmas tree

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -Inspecting your Christmas tree once you bring it in your home, might be as important as putting a star or angel on the top.

What you might mistake for a crusty looking pine cone could actually be a praying mantis egg case with more than 100 eggs inside.

“The praying mantises in the northern United States survive the winter as eggs in these protected cases,” according to Dr. Gavin Svenson, a bug expert with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. “The warmth of spring spurs their development and hatching.”

The warmth of your home could spur the eggs to hatch and you could end up with more baby praying mantises on your tree than ornaments.

“The warmth would accelerate the time it takes for the egg case to hatch. They typically need a number of weeks of warmth to develop and hatch,” Svenson said.

In September, the Sugar Pines Farm in Chesterland, posted on a picture on Facebook of an adult praying mantis in one of their trees.

This weekend, in a reply, a person posted a video of an egg case in their tree from the farm.

Not only do we meet some pretty cool people at the farm, but wow, do we meet some cool creatures too! #prayingmantis #sugarpinesfarm #thoseeyes @ Sugar Pines Farm

Posted by Sugar Pines Farm on Tuesday, September 10, 2019

What should you do?

Accord to Dr. Svenson you should clip the branch off and take it outside immediately. If the egg case has been inside for a period of time already, it could hurt the eggs.

"Putting the egg case outside quickly is critical if you want them to survive normally to hatch in the spring," Svenson said. "Going from cold to warm and then back to cold can cause problems and reduce their chances of survival."

If you do find one an egg case and take it outside you should not just set it on the ground.

“The egg cases are susceptible to rot from too much moisture, so placing on the ground or on a surface will not work out for them. Affixing the case to an elevated branch works best. Many insects in northern climates have adapted to deal with the winter and they can handle the cold just fine,” Svenson said.

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