A woman has issued a warning about real Christmas trees after making a horrifying discovery inside her own.
Andrea and her family, from Ohio, US, had cut down their own tree ready for the festive season and made sure to give it a good shake before putting it up in their home. But after decorating the tree the mum was shocked to make a stomach-churning find.
A plague of praying mantises had made it their home, hatching all over the pine branches. The skin-crawling incident happened back in 2018 but Andrea recently took to TikTok to share the tale in hopes of warning other people about the risks of having a real Christmas tree.
“That time our tree hatched a million friends,” Andrea, who goes by @andeekitty on TikTok, wrote over a compilation of photos showing the creepy infestation.
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In the first picture, a whole hoard of white insects could be seen covering the pine needles of the tree. It was followed by three close-up shots of the bugs. "Only fake trees from now on," Andrea wrote over the photos.
She captioned the post: "Beware of the real trees." In another video explaining what happened, Andrea warned: "If you're going to get a real tree this year just make sure that you thoroughly inspect it.
"We had real trees every year for years growing up and I never had any issue so I didn't know that you needed to inspect the thing or clean it or whatever." It turns out lots of people in the comments of the original video, which has been viewed more than 4 million times, could relate as they revealed they'd also experienced horrifying praying mantis infestations in their Christmas trees.
"Yep!! Happened to me 2 years ago. Nobody believes me when I say we had THOUSANDS of praying mantis in our tree and house," one person recalled. Another said: "We had this same thing happen when I was in middle school. My mother cried her eyes out while trying to collect them."
A third added: "Had this happen ONE time! Cut our tree on a beautiful tree farm. Never again!! Thousands of praying mantis!!"
Others recalled how their real trees had hatched an even scarier type of creepy crawly. "Last real tree had spider babies. Cat knocked the tree over and 400 trillion baby spiders went in 900 different directions. I almost burnt the house down," one person said.
Another revealed a heartbreaking story, commenting: "Mine was filled with Brown recluse spiders with a bunch of babies. My whole house was covered and my puppy was bitten on his nose and died within 2hrs."
A third wrote: "My last real tree launched thousands of spiders. We threw it right out the front door and will NEVER get another real one again."
Spiders and praying mantis' weren't the only creatures people had discovered living in their Christmas trees. "I had a bat in mine one year. That was fun lol," one person said.
A second wrote: "One year our tree had a frog in it. It would wake us up every morning, SCREECHING!! We thought it was a bat because we’ve never heard a noise like it."
The chilling stories left other viewers petrified. "Christ new fear UNLOCKED. The spider comments omfg CRYING," one terrified person wrote. Another said: "I would literally die, so scared of praying mantises."
Others saw the funnier side. One person joked: "12 drummers drumming, 11 pipers piping, 1,133 prayers praying." Another added: "The tree really said, ‘Let us pray.'"
Some people even claimed praying mantis' are likely one of the better infestations you can get as they're known to eat other bugs. "Praying mantis is the coolest invertebrate you could have asked for they will exterminate all other bugs in your house and then each other," said one viewer.
Andrea admitted she did think the insects were "super cute" but pointed out that while some people claimed they would have loved to have had the same thing happen to them, it was a less-than-ideal situation. She said: "While yes they are cute, I mean to a point, you really don't want hundreds of them racing through your house scattered everywhere."
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