Proof of an Organic Christmas Tree Farm

Found on Norway Spruce at a tree farm in Connecticut.

Found on Norway Spruce at a tree farm in Connecticut.

While walking with my family through our Christmas tree farm we came upon a Norway Spruce with these peculiar looking capsules hanging from the underside of the branch. It was a wonderful teaching moment because they are Praying Mantis egg sacs (ootheca) and they are so interesting. I explained that the female mantis will lay hundreds of eggs in a frothy mass, then the outside of the mass hardens to form a capsule. I left out the part of the female cannibalizing her mate. Mantis are beneficial insects that feed on aphids and other small insects. If you find these while hunting for your perfect tree, they are a great indicator that the owners spray little or no pesticides. Then, you are not bringing unwanted chemicals into your home for the holidays.

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