Christmas has come and gone, but one Virginia veterinarian was left with one unpleasant gift under her tree.
Like many Christmas lovers, Molly Kreuze, of Springfield, set up a real Christmas tree in her home for the holiday. Little did she know that a brown sac full of praying mantis eggs was hidden under one of its branches.
Now, more than 100 insects have made her home their playground.
“Bugs. Crawling on the walls, crawling on the ceilings. Just kind of moving,” Kreuze told WJLA, noting that she doesn’t like to think about them making their way into her bedroom or bathroom.
Kreuze has been feeding the bugs fruit flies and collecting them with a shoe box.
“In my googling, I discovered people really like praying mantises,” she told the station. “They are useful, they eat other bugs, people use them for organic gardening.”
With that, Kreuze said she doesn’t want to squish the bugs.
“I hope to find them a home,” she told WJLA. “I don’t want them.”
Kreuze said she’s resolved to buy a fake Christmas tree next year.
In 2017, one Facebook user issued a warning about finding the brown sacs on trees.
“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,” The Facebook user, Daniel Reed, wrote alongside a photo of the “walnut-sized” clump.
“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!”
Praying mantises can grow to be up to 6 inches long, according to National Geographic. And the insects, typically brown or green, are well-camouflaged on trees and other plants.