Many people are putting up their Christmas trees earlier than ever this year in a bid to spread some festive cheer – but people have been warned they may also be bringing unwelcome guests into their homes.
Those buying trees have been urged to look out for brown walnut-sized lumps, which look similar to pine cones, as it may actually be a sac of 100-200 praying mantis eggs.
Experts have said the temperature inside our homes could speed up the time it takes to hatch the eggs, meaning your living could be crawling with bugs if you don’t spot it first.
A viral Facebook post from a previous Christmas is being re-shared as a warning, after a man found two of the clumps on his tree and advised others on the best way to deal with the problem.
Daniel Reed wrote : “If you happen to see a walnut sized/shaped egg mass on your Christmas tree, don’t fret, clip the branch and put it in your garden. These are 100-200 preying mantis eggs!
“We had two egg masses on our tree this year. Don’t bring them inside they will hatch and starve!”
The post has been shared more than 181,000 times, and although it may be easy to dismiss the advice, plenty of people left comments to say the same had happened to them.
One person replied to say: “We had a tree with one in and we didn’t know until they hatched. They were everywhere.”
A second replied: “That s*** happened to me a few years ago it was crazy, went to my in laws house came back to a bunch of little bugs, found out they were praying mantises.”
And another added: “I think I have PTSD from when it happened to us.”
So it’s probably worth taking the time out of your day to have a quick look.