A Facebook post warning people to check their real Christmas trees for walnut-sized clumps chasing mantis eggs made the rounds again this year.
The viral Facebook post from an earlier Christmas season is re-shared as a warning after a man said he found two of the lumps on his tree and advised others on how best to solve the problem. The mirror reports.
Daniel Reed wrote: “If you happen to see a walnut-sized / shaped egg mass on your Christmas tree, don’t fret, cut the branch off and put it in your yard. These are 100-200 praying mantis eggs!
“We had two egg masses on our tree this year. Don’t bring them in, they will hatch and starve!”
The post was shared more than 181,000 times, and while it might be easy to turn down the advice, many people left comments to say the same thing had happened to them.
The warning only applies to real Christmas trees, however, and finding clumps is rare, especially in the UK.
A spruce, Scots pine or Fraser fir could once have been the home of one of the beetles.
Research has also shown that legions of lice, mites, moths and spiders can also lurk in Christmas trees.
“(Bugs) hibernate for the winter and usually drain their bodies of fluids, produce a chilled fluid and become completely inactive,” said Bjarte Jordal, associate professor at Bergen University Museum IB Times.
“When you feel the heat and are awakened by the light, you believe that spring has come and come back to life.
“If you hit the tree on a white cloth before throwing it away after Christmas, you will see a number of small bugs.”
The study also found that most of the mites stay in the trees and will soon die because they have no food available indoors.