Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.

If you haven't yet, it's time to check your tree for small, brown clumps and lumps that resemble pinecones.  Whether you've decorated your tree yet or not, take the time to search, because it's easy for them to blend in unless you know what you're looking for.

Those strange, brown clumps are filled with 100 to 200 praying mantis eggs, and the last thing you want is to have that egg sack hatch inside your home during this magical time of year.

Marina Denisenko
Marina Denisenko

There are a couple types of praying mantises in New England, according to the Hitchcock Center, but don't worry. They aren't harmful to humans, according to National Geographic, but rather annoying and gross if you have them all over your home.

Closeup view of translucent praying mantis nymphs as they hatch.

According to Taste of Home, every 1 out of 100,000 Christmas trees has these prey mantis egg sacks, so it's best to examine your tree. Taste of Home says that by no means do you need to throw out your tree if you didn't check prior to buying it or cutting it down. Instead, you can just cut off that branch if you happen to find a brown clump, and set it outside where the eggs can hatch safely.

Even the National Christmas Tree Association says although "extremely rare", a number of different insects and spiders have been found in Christmas trees after setup, including these preying mantis sacks. So, it's always best to investigate your tree and vacuum around it daily.

If necessary, household insect sprays specifically labeled for use indoors on ornamental plants and evergreens may also be used, following label directions. It is important to turn off and unplug all tree lighting before any sprays are applied to your Christmas tree.

If you haven't set up a tree yet then after inspecting it, the National Christmas Tree Association recommends shaking it outside as well.

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