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That 'walnut' on your Christmas tree could harbor praying mantis eggs

It's really unlikely to come across something like it, though.
Credit: Erie County, Ohio, Facebook

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A "public service announcement" published this week by the folks in Erie County, Ohio, warn of a walnut-sized mass on a Christmas tree.

"Don't fret," the Facebook post reads, in part. "These are 100-200 preying [sic] mantis eggs!"

Officials' advice to anyone who comes across it probably is wise -- clip the branch and put it in your garden, though the odds of coming across anything like it isn't common at all. 

Snopes.com, citing a horticulture educator at the University of Illinois Extension, said post-harvest pests in Christmas trees are discovered in about one out of 100,000 cut trees.

The picture published by Erie County government actually began circulating in 2017, Snopes found, which was about the time a pest control company claimed "as many as 25,000 bugs can live in one tree."

People aren't likely to count up to that many, but those "Christmas tree hitchhikers" -- if there are any in the first place -- could include adelgids, aphids, mites or, yes, praying mantids.

"You may never experience any problems with Christmas tree pests, or if you have, you may never encounter them again," writes Chris Enroth at the University of Illinois.

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PSA: If you happen to see a walnut sized/shaped egg mass, on your Ch... ristmas tree, don't fret, clip the branch and put it in your garden. These are 100-200 preying mantis eggs! Don't bring them inside they will hatch and starve!

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