Merry Mantis Christmas

Many Americans will bring a cut Christmas tree into their home this holiday season. Sometimes, more than just the tree enters the house. Evergreen trees are home to many animals including small insects. Insects (or insect eggs) are occasionally brought into a house as unintended Christmas guests. Last year (2012), a Maryland family brought in a Christmas tree with a praying mantis egg case. Fooled by the warm indoor temperatures, the eggs hatched and young mantids covered the tree and ornaments. The unintended guests were collected by the children and became an insect learning experience.

Egg case of Chinese Mantis

Egg case of Chinese Mantis

Praying mantis egg cases are commonly found on Christmas trees. Singer Taylor Swift recalled picking the egg cases off the Christmas trees at her family farm near Reading, Pennsylvania. This kept the mantis population on the farm and out of the hair of the customers.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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