'Tis the season when people bring a tree indoors and apparently discover they are harboring praying mantis eggs.
According to a Facebook post by Officials in Erie County, Ohio, that is once again being spread around the Internet, if you see a strange walnut-like growth on the tree, you should not bring it indoors.
"PSA: 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. These are 100-200 praying mantis eggs!" they wrote in the post. "Don’t bring them inside they will hatch and starve!"
This advice, of course, applies only to people living in areas with praying mantises.
The danger is to the praying mantises themselves. The creatures are quite harmless to anyone other than their prey, which we — thankfully — are not.
They are unlikely to pose any danger to humans, even with their rare, venomless bites, and do not carry disease.
The mantis, meanwhile, would be in serious danger of a lack of food were they to find themselves transported into a nice, cozy, insect-free living room for Christmas. Ohio officials suggest that you just cut off the branch and place it outside, before you witness up to 200 praying mantises crawling out of their eggs.
So if you see these growths on the tree, as the officials suggest, please do not bring them indoors.