It’s not reindeer doing the lion’s share of work at Hubbell’s Grove Christmas tree farm. It’s praying mantises.
Through three seasons every year, praying mantises feast on insects bent on devouring Christmas trees. No chemical insecticides, herbicides or fertilizers are used at Hubbell’s, so the task of protecting trees falls to the beautiful and voracious mantis. Their long, elegant bodies pose motionless, just waiting for an unsuspecting insect to come within range.
By late autumn, their job protecting the rolling 29-acre farm and its nearly 4,000 Christmas trees is done. At the end of her life, the female mantis deposits up to 400 eggs in a foamy case attached to a Christmas tree. The cases solidify and remain through winter looking like tiny, glistening tree ornaments.