Christmas tree pests: Woman opens up about surprise encounter

Andrea Coward said she wants to raise awareness about the potential issue.

November 29, 2023, 11:27 AM

As families gather to start decking the halls this holiday season, some are reminding others to check their fresh Christmas trees for any pests before trimming.

Andrea Coward said she and her family cut down their own Christmas tree at a tree farm back in 2018 but about two weeks after they brought the tree home, they received an unexpected surprise.

"There was all these little bugs everywhere. They were little baby praying mantises," Coward told "Good Morning America."

Coward opened up about her experience in a TikTok video posted Nov. 21, which has since gone viral with over 4.8 million views.

"I just wanted to bring awareness to what could be in your tree," Coward said.

Gavin Svenson, chief science officer at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, explained to "GMA" that praying mantises can hatch from eggs in a home due to the warmer temperatures inside.

"The egg cases are tricked into believing that they had already gone through winter because [of] the warmer temperatures of the house," Svenson said. "They don't hatch right away. They develop over the course of a few weeks, and then surprise!"

PHOTO: Stock photo of a praying mantis on a pine tree.
STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

Experts like Svenson say although praying mantis encounters are rare, homeowners should check any fresh Christmas trees before bringing them into the home.

If a praying mantis egg case is discovered, experts recommend snipping them off the tree and leaving the egg case outside.

"If you do find a bunch of these mantises, don't worry," Svenson said. "They're not harmful. They're little, delicate, fragile little creatures."

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