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Monday, November 2, 2020

Pinocchio Land

A few years ago, my husband and I attended a really cool jam band festival. Those events are the epicenters for the hedonistic free for all child in all of us. Placed here and there around the event fields were beer tents with white picket fences in the front for seating. As we strolled around the thought occurred to us that this scene was equivalent to a "daycare for men". All these men were sitting around, drinking beer, watching TV while safely within the confines of their play yard until their wives came back for them. At the time it was hysterical.

So when in life is it ok to return to our inner child and let it start running our lives? When is it acceptable to take a break from responsibility to the very people to whom you made promises and vows to love, honor and protect? It's not.

Life shouldn't be Pinocchio Land.

If you recall the story line of Pinocchio, he befriends some boys who introduce him to the fun in the sun of Pleasure Island. A place of no responsibilities or consequences, or so they thought. Life doesn't work that way. What goes around comes around, be it the belief in God or simply karma giving you a kick in the behind. Pinocchio and his friends learned a bit too late that every action has a reaction. There are consequences and in real life people get hurt. 

Our society's sense of entitlement and thinking we "deserve" whatever it is we want when we want it is a recipe for a breakdown of not only the family unit but of what makes for a moral, ethical, mentally healthy functioning human being. 

In today's world we are connected to seemingly unlimited potential friends, when at the end of the day 99% of them are just acquaintances who make us feel less alone in the world. We can go through life flitting around social events, reveling in how everyone knows our name, but few of those people know your life outside of that social circle, nor do they really care. 

The majority don't think they have any business knowing your business. Few think they have the right to call out someone on behavior that is immoral or unethical. To do so is crossing the line of being in judgement. 

That is okay to a point.

There is a problem when innocent people pay the price.

Silence in the face of what is morally and ethically wrong may be minding your own business but your silence not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. Not exactly the message we want to send to our children.

When infidelity is accepted as yea well, the two of them look "so happy". I mean, don't we all deserve to be happy? We don't "deserve" anything. Attaining peace, joy and love are things we all want and to actually feel we've received those things is a blessing, but we don't actually deserve anything. Accept that fact and you will appreciate and be very grateful for all the gifts you have already been given. You should have enough life experience and the wisdom to know that and not to take anything for granted.

We make commitments, we make vows, and as adults we should be responsible and abide by those promises. No one held a gun to our heads to follow the paths in life we willingly chose. To want to veer off in a different direction should at the very least involve the decency and respect for a family discussion, to do right by each loved one, not to simply make a knee jerk decision as your right to search for the elusive idea of "happiness". 

Thinking the family is the reason for supposedly not being happy is a cop-out. Most likely these individuals are not happy with themselves, bored or overwhelmed with everyday responsibilities, dissatisfaction with what they've accomplished in their lives, fear of aging, whatever...thus they project that unrest onto others, usually those closest to them, those most vulnerable to their actions. Happiness and feelings are fleeting, fickle, and can be all over the place depending on what is going on in life at the time. True happiness should be synonymous with contentment. 

To believe that this life we've been given is all there is, to jump through hoops to fulfill that bucket list, may fill up your scrapbook of happy moments, but it won't make you content in the long run. In the end, all that really counts are treasured memories of all those little things that make up a family, to know in your heart that you were someone's "person", to know that you mattered.

To reach an age where you desire to seek the freedom and experience of Never Never Land and let out that inner child, it is only healthy when moderation and good judgement are still at play. Think about who was left behind when people take that walk. Who did they leave behind to deal with the path of destruction in their wake and shell shock devastation to the family. 

We all need to play. We all need to have balance between work and relaxation. But there is a line between letting loose and simply being immature.  We live in a civilized society and adults are expected to act like adults. There is no Never Never Land. Life isn't all rainbows and unicorns.

Decisions have consequences. Pinocchio learned a little too late he was making a donkey ass of himself with his behavior. 

Don't be a Pinocchio

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Comfrey, A Living Medicine Chest

Comfrey or Symphytum officinale is a must have for the garden, whether you want it for medicinal healing purposes or for vegetable and flower growing, it is an invaluable plant. A European native and member of the borage family, comfrey acts as a soil conditioner, weed barrier, compost booster and fertilizer.

A hardy perennial to Zone 4, comfrey thrives in just about any type of soil (though moist and fertile is best), is drought tolerant and grows fine in full sun to partly shaded locations. Seldom bothered by disease or insect pests it really is a low maintenance herb. It does need its space, as it can grow to a height and width of about five feet.

The large dark green fuzzy leaves are full of potassium, nitrogen, magnesium, calcium and iron.  A reason for this is it has a long taproot which takes up nutrients from the soil. The deep roots make this plant great for preparing a new vegetable or flower bed. The taproot acts as a clay breaker to penetrate compacted soil. 

The leaves can be spread around garden plants to keep down the weeds or they can be shredded first to form a mulch. To make a liquid fertilizer, steep the leaves in a bucket of water to form a compost tea. Do this outside, since the resulting "tea" can be described as none other than "it stinks". Anyone who infuses comfrey in olive oil to make an herbal oil for salves learns quickly that if they want to use the fresh leaves the resulting salve will have an odor. Taking the time to dry out the leaves a bit before infusing greatly reduces the risk of not only the smell but against spoilage. The fuzzy leaves of comfrey can be irritating to some people and cause contact dermatitis, so it is advised to wear gloves when handling them. 

Add comfrey leaves to the compost bin or pile as an accelerator, and be sure to turn the pile to thoroughly mix and combine everything.

Also, comfrey makes a great trap crop to lure slugs and snails away from other garden plants or flowers. Just remember its size so it doesn't choke out other plants.

The fact that comfrey is also called Knit-bone and Bruisewort makes it easy to remember the medicinal purposes of this herb. Broken bones, pulled muscles, sprained ankles, wound care and bruises can all use this plant to aid and speed up healing. Difficult to heal pressure sores or slow to heal wounds often respond amazingly well to the use of comfrey salves. Just remember to be sure there is no risk of infection and to let the would heal a bit for a day or two before applying. The allantoin in comfrey may cause the skin to close over too quickly, causing the outer skin to heal before the inner wound is ready. Wounds need to heal from the inside out. Don't use it internally because there is controversy about its effects on the liver.

Lastly, bees and pollinating insects love it! A win win all around!


Monday, January 20, 2020

Back To Basics Skin Care Routine...Starting Over

The case many a time when people do seek out products not easily found on the commercial market is a result of wanting to eliminate synthetics and chemicals in their lives or a frustration with the condition of their skin. Often it is a matter of going back to basics and starting over.
A mistake people often make with cleansing their face is that the products used are too harsh and strip the skin of their natural oils, leaving the skin pH out of whack resulting in too dry skin lacking the balanced oils that normally protect the barrier. In trying to get back to normal there can be an overproduction of sebum which we then try to scrub off by washing even more and the cycle continues.
A good routine to follow includes: a cleanse, an occasional steam and/or mask, then a toner and last a moisturizer if needed

I have two types of FACIAL CLEANSE, one is like a serum and the other is a honey/glycerin/castile soap blend:
First we have the oil cleanse method.
Remember years ago when women used cold creams? That method was basically using cleansing oils that removed makeup and dirt from the skin. It was a gentle approach to cleansing both dry and oily skin. I got this recipe from an old herbal book. 
Aloe Rose Facial Cleanse

Some people like this to cleanse and additionally use a moisturizer, others think this is enough for both cleansing and moisturizing. It consists of olive oil (this could be replaced with a "drier" oil such as grapeseed for oily skin), rosewater and aloe vera gel. You would apply this to a cotton round and simply wipe over your face to cleanse and moisturize and the same time. Second option is to use it like you would any other facial wash and rinse off with water.

Cleaning your face with oil may sound unappealing but contrary to popular belief, oil does not contribute to oily skin or breakouts. The sebum that the skin creates is there to protect the skin. When we use commercial cleansers to remove this natural oil, the body reacts by producing more oil. Dry skin is often the result of stripping away this natural barrier and things get out of balance. It is the same as how our hair adjusts to constant shampooing.
In washing our faces we want to remove the dirt and bacterial which builds up in our pores but we have to think about the chemistry behind it. Oil dissolves oil, like dissolves like. Water and oil do not mix; commercial cleansers contain ingredients to break up the oils but in doing so may strip away the natural protective layer. By using a nourishing oil like olive oil, the dirty oils are being replaced with beneficial ones.

Some people like to use the above serum type cleanse on some days and then the more traditional wash with water on other days, just to mix things up and get the benefits from both types.
There are three versions of the honey/glycerin/castile soap washes, mainly its personal preference. The first one uses essential oils orange or lemon which you may like for oily skin since they are more astringent. The next one is made with the honey infused with rose petals and the third the honey is infused with lavender.

Citrus Honey Facial Wash

Rose Honey Facial Wash

Lavender Honey Facial Wash

Wildflower and clover honey already have the beneficial attributes of various herbs and flowers within the honey itself. Honey is a natural humectant which means it retains moisture and plumps up skin cells. It helps to rebuild the moisture level in the skin without making it oily. The high sugar, low protein content create an acidic environment with limited availability of water therefore bacteria cannot thrive.
Glucose oxidase is an enzyme that when combined with water produces hydrogen peroxide, a mild antiseptic. Honey also contains antioxidants and flavonoids that may function as antibacterial agents. It calms down troubled skin without irritation.
Vegetable glycerin is what is known as a humectant which means it draws moisture from the air and holds it in. As part of a cleanse it bonds to dirt and oil and washes away.

To open up the pores, you can follow the cleanse with a 20 minute facial steam in which you fill a bowl with steaming water (add an herbal tea bag for extra benefits), make a tent by covering your head with a towel, and lean over the bowl.

Follow the steam with a RAW HONEY MASK or an exfoliating SUGAR SCRUB for wonderful benefits.
Masks and scrubs are great for periodic use for deeper cleansing to draw out impurities or for exfoliation to remove dead skin cell build-up. These aren't meant to use every day, once or twice a week is sufficient. Add variety by mixing it up a little, and there is no need to use both the mask and the scrub at the same time.

Unpasteurized honey contains all the live enzymes and life of the hive without being destroyed by the heat of pasteurization. Typical store bought honey is pasteurized to make it nice and pourable and remove bits of wax and stuff from the hive. Having a high anti-oxidant level and being the natural enzymes have not been destroyed by heat, raw honey is a much healthier product.
Facial masks are wonderful for deep cleaning in that they penetrate below the surface and draw out impurities. Honey masks are nourishing, moisturizing and gentle enough to not strip the skin of its natural protective oils.
When you wash the honey off your skin, a small amount remains in the pores. As a result, the sugars in the honey attract water from the air, which keeps your skin hydrated.

The first mask has tea tree and chamomile and is good for blemishes. The second one is good for blemishes too but in using lavender is more gentle. The third one is great for oily skin as it contains peppermint and lemongrass which are astringent and antiseptic.
Blemish Honey Mask
Lavender Honey Mask
Oily Tired Skin Honey Mask

Scrubs are optional as they may be too harsh for already irritated skin.
The choice between sugar or salt for scrubs depends on how it is to be used. For the delicate skin of the face sugar scrubs are gentler. People often make the mistake that if they scrub they'll scrape those blemishes right off when actually they are irritating the skin further causing more inflammation.
One uses vegetable glycerin instead of an oil and the other two use coconut oil. The glycerin scrub is "goopier" and good if you like a looser scrub. The coconut oil ones tend to be more compact since coconut oil solidifies under 75 degrees. But as soon as you touch it it melts and gets soft again.

Vanilla Sugar Scrub
Vegetable Glycerin Lavender Sugar Scrub
Coconut Sugar Scrub Lemongrass

Finish up with a gentle TONER:
The herbal vinegars are great for getting and keeping the skin pH back in balance. It's personal preference as any of them are tonics for the skin.
The first one uses herbs for their anti-inflammatory benefits and the second is an old-fashioned blend of roses and elderflowers which were used for their high vitamin C content.
Calendula Nettles Chamomile Toner

Rose Elderflower Toner

Herbal Blemish Spot Treatment

This third one is stronger than the other toners because it doesn't have the dilution of distilled water. It's more of a spot treatment for blemishes. It does make a great everyday toner too if it's diluted a bit which is an option when purchased.

The natural pH of the skin is what keeps bacteria levels in check Disruption of the skin's pH can be detrimental to your skin, because bacteria thrives in an environment only a little more alkaline than your skin's natural acidity. Once bacteria thrives it can lead to inflammation and generating more clogged pores.
Good quality raw vinegars restore the natural acid balance of the skin, leaving it soft and smooth.
By promoting circulation in the small capillaries that irrigate the skin, vinegar becomes a tonic for the complexion. Raw vinegars don't go through the processing and distilling of the typical clear vinegars, therefore raw vinegar still contains the living nutrients and beneficial bacteria of the "mother".
Vinegar acts as an antiseptic, meaning it prevents proliferation of bacteria, viruses and yeast that could trigger infection. As a facial toner, it removes oily residue as it dissolves fatty deposits at the surface of the skin.

Third step on a daily basis is to MOISTURIZE
There are several facial cream choices and one lighter lotion. They vary in ingredients just to offer options for personal preference or allergies but they all are very good for different skin types. The oil to water ratio is almost 50/50 whereas most lotions in pump bottles are 20/80. The key is how often and how much to use at a time. People with dry skin find these creams nourishing and great relief for parched feeling skin and those who don't need a heavier cream may find they only need a tiny bit or perhaps only need it as a night cream.

Herb Floral Facial Cream
Elderflower Rose Facial Cream

Rose Facial Cream
Serenity Facial Cream
Scent Free Facial Cream
Wrinkle Wrath Facial Cream

Touch of Bliss Facial Cream
Vanilla Wrinkle Wrath Facial Cream
This lotion has a higher liquid portion and doesn't have a solid oil such as shea butter or coconut oil. This lotion was originally the request from a woman who had skin troubles and was allergic to coconut oil. But since some people just want a lighter lotion rather than a cream I left the listing as it is. The essential oils chamomile and tea tree are the usual ones in the lotion only because it originally was wanted for and to prevent future blemishes. But if you don't need that, you can leave it unscented or add something else.
Sensitive Skin Lotion

Everyone has different needs and preferences, therefore there is no one product or routine that fits all. Getting to know what works best for you may be trial and error, but hopefully with options like these products you can be reassured the "first do no harm" philosophy is a priority.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Stinging Nettles..Undervalued for Hair Care

Nettle is a group of plants that have stinging hairs and even though the plant is so very valuable medicinally and environmentally, not everyone can or would want the plant on their property for an unsuspecting person to stumble upon. But there are sources where you can find products utilizing this undervalued plant.

The nettle plant is nutrient dense in that it is rich in Vitamins A, C, D, K and B, a good source of minerals Iron, Potassium, Manganese, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Silica, Iodine, Silicon, Sodium and Sulfur. Taking advantage of this green pharmacy in the form of a tea can do wonders for your health. But you can also take advantage of using the plant for topical use as a benefit to your skin and hair care. 

Nettles are one of the oldest treatments for helping with hair loss. It stimulates the hair follicles which results in healthier growth. Better nutrition is always best for seeing an overall improvement in the appearance of our skin and hair, but applying nettles topically in the form of after shampoo herbal infusion rinses, nettle-infused vinegar hair rinses or nettle-infused oil conditioning treatments can also bring wonderful results. People dealing with dandruff and scalp funk can get rid of the problem by taking advantage of the antifungal properties of stinging nettles.

1. First, lets talk about the use of nettles as an herbal vinegar hair rinse. Many of our hair care products are strongly alkaline and cause a dull buildup on the hair shaft. Continuous use of shampoos, conditioners and styling products can dry out and leave open the protective cuticle scales of the hair shaft which results in hard to manage, fly away hair. Healthy hair is on the mildly acidic side of the pH scale between 4.5 and 5.5. Apple cider vinegar has a pH of 2.9. Occasional after shampoo vinegar rinses help to balance the pH, remove that buildup and restore a softer, shinier head of hair. Vinegar rinses also help prevent or get rid of a flaky or itchy scalp. The acids and enzymes in the vinegar kill the "bottle bacillus", a bacteria that is one of the causes for many scalp conditions. The bacteria clogs the hair follicles which allows dry crusts to form that itch and flake off. Adding the benefits of nettles to the vinegar rinse adds a powerful boost to maintaining a healthy scalp and hair care.

Vinegar Rinse Dark Hair

2. An occasional oil conditioning treatment can help restore damage done from hairdryers, curling irons, color treatments, summer sun, winter wind and swimming pool chemicals. Infusing stinging nettles in a carrier oil such a jojoba oil is a great blend for not only the hair on your head but for men's beard care.
Jojoba oil isn't actually an oil, but rather the liquid wax extracted from the plant's seeds. Jojoba oil so resembles human sebum that it acts as a protective coating, quickly absorbed by the hair shafts. By infusing the jojoba oil with nettles, the hair and scalp benefit greatly and helps prevent scalp funk.
Conditioning oils can be used in a few ways: massage a bit into snarls to help comb out tangles, scrunch a bit just onto the ends to help with dry ends and split ends or use as a full head treatment by applying to the hair and scalp, wrap with a towel for a period of time and shampoo.

Further information on how stinging nettles can bring butterflies to your garden can be found in this post

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Oat-Hemp-Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies.....So Good

Whether you just have to include chocolate in your cookies or simply want the treat to at least be a little bit healthy to make it worth the indulgence, this recipe is a winner. Ideal for those milk and cookie after school snacks, coffee breaks, holiday cookie exchanges or gift ideas. They freeze well too!

Taken from Taste Of Home magazine, contributed by Jaymie Noble of Michigan, this recipe just has one alteration which is the addition of hemp seeds.


1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup oats or oatmeal
1/4 cup hemp seeds
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups or 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips


In a large bowl, cream butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar
Beat in the eggs and vanilla

In another bowl, combine the flour, oats, hemp seed, baking soda and salt. 

Add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well
Stir in the chocolate chips

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets
Bake at 350 for 10 - 12 minutes till lightly browned 
Cool a bit before removing to wire racks so they don't fall apart
Makes about 4 dozen

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Clean Green, More Ideas Using Household Products

Keeping up with maintaining a clean home is a challenge enough, so when ideas come up to help make tasks easier, safer, cheaper and more rewarding, it is worth noting.

A prior post about green clean covered the more common products to use, such as vinegar, baking soda, borax and lemons. This post will cover a few ideas you may not have heard about but are probably already in your cabinets: cream of tarter and hydrogen peroxide


Found in the spice aisle, cream of tartar often is only pulled out to make an angel food cake.
But it can be a great non-toxic source for laundry stains, warding off bugs and cleaning.
A byproduct of the wine making process, cream of tartar is acidic enough to tackle tough cleaning jobs.

1. Ring around the collar
Dampen the shirt collar with a little water and then sprinkle the area with some cream of tartar. Rub the fabric together to work in the powder and then launder as usual.
2. Whiten whites
Pretreat white clothes with a cream of tartar soak. Add a tsp. of powder for each quart of water and soak the clothes before washing.
3. Remove stains on clothes and carpets
Mix some cream of tartar and lemon juice to form a paste. Apply the paste to the stain and let sit for at least an hour. Machine wash clothes as usual or with carpets, blot with a damp cloth. Think of this idea for those ink stains that can ruin a good dress shirt.
4. Cleaning toilet stains and bathtub rings
Mix some cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide (or white vinegar) to form a paste. Apply the paste to the stains and wait till it dries before rinsing with water.
5. All-purpose kitchen cleaner
Mix some cream of tartar and white vinegar to form a paste. Use on stove burner pans, grout, ovens, kitchen sinks, spigots, stainless steel appliances, coffee pots, even cleans mildew.
6. Clean copper
Mix 2:1 cream of tartar to lemon juice (2 tbsp. cream of tartar and 1 tbsp. lemon juice). Rub onto copper pots and wipe clean with a damp cloth
7. Clean silver
Tarnished silver can be cleaned by dipping a damp magic eraser into some cream of tartar and wipe away the tarnish on old trays and utensils.
8. Sooty fireplace
Wet some cream of tartar with water and apply to the soot. Wipe away soot with a damp cloth.
9. Deter ants
Sprinkle where you suspect the ants are coming into the house.
10. Out of baking powder?
Mix 2:1 cream of tartar and baking soda (2 tsp. cream of tartar and 1 tsp. baking soda) to make 1 tbsp baking powder.

Be careful with how you clean granite counter tops. Acids such as vinegar and lemon juice can what they call "etch" granite and dull the surface.


We all recognize the typical brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide usually found in the first-aid section next to the rubbing alcohol. You want the 3% H2O2 antibacterial strength, nothing higher.
Hydrogen peroxide is amazing stuff and so cheap, keep a bottle in stock at all times. You'll be amazed how many different ways you'll find to use this safe and natural product.

Hydrogen peroxide is a weak acid, consisting of water (H2O) and an extra oxygen molecule (H202). It could even be called oxygen water and is so safe to use since it quickly breaks down into oxygen and water. Hydrogen peroxide can even be found in rainwater and snow.
All living things contain this oxygen water. Our white blood cells naturally produce it to fight infection and being it is in fruits and vegetables, that is another reason to eat more of these foods.

Have two bottles under your sink, one with the cap it comes with and one replace that cap with a sprayer top.
1. Remove dirt and pesticides from fruits and vegetables. Add 1/4 cup H2O2 to a sink of cold water, add your produce, wait a bit and rinse thoroughly with water.
2. Help your dishwasher sanitize your dishes by adding 2 oz. to your regular detergent.
3. Regular dish soap can be improved too by adding 2 tbsp. to the dish soap bottle.
4. Spray counter tops and cutting boards with hydrogen peroxide, let it bubble for a few minutes before wiping clean.
5. Spray the interior of the microwave and refrigerator to clean and disinfect. Spray and wait a few minutes before wiping it away.
6. Clean those kitchen sponges. Mix hydrogen peroxide and water at a ratio of 50:50 and soak sponges for about ten minutes. Rinse the sponges afterwards.
7. Clean crud from the bottoms of ovens, pots and pans. Combine hydrogen peroxide and enough baking soda to form a paste and rub onto the dirty areas, let sit for a while before scrubbing.
8. Clean floors by combining 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of hot water. Because this mixture is so mild it is safe for floors as well as pets and children who'll be crawling around on those floors.

1. Soak toothbrushes and hairbrushes in hydrogen peroxide to keep them clean and fresh.
2. Make your own mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen breath. Use at a 50:50 ratio with water.
3. Help whiten teeth by mixing a little salt and baking soda with enough hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. Do not overdo this. Using higher concentrations than 3% H2O2 or using too often can harm tooth enamel.
4. Add natural highlights to hair by making a 50:50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and water, add to spray bottle and spray onto wet hair.
5. Add a bit of hydrogen peroxide to a cotton square and apply directly to pimples.
6. Help kill foot fungus by spraying a 50:50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and water onto feet or make a foot bath with it and soak the feet.
7. Deter bacteria on shower curtains and shower stall by spraying down with H2O2.
8. Wash shower curtains to remove mildew and soap scum. Place curtains in washer with a bath towel and regular detergent. Run through the usual wash cycle but then add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to the rinse cycle.

1. Spray lunch boxes, toys and anything else your child touches.
2. Clean pet bowl with hydrogen peroxide to keep them fresh and slime free (often the case with plastic bowls).
3. De-skunk recipe solution for your pet. Combine 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide with 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 tsp Dawn dish soap and 2 quarts warm water. Apply this mix to your pet's fur and wait a bit before rinsing it all off.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Spotted Lantern Fly, Invasive to Southeastern PA

The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) was first detected in the U.S. in our own Berks County, PA in September of 2014. The bug established itself so quickly that by January 2018, quarantines were already in place to include portions of 13 counties. We're now in August 2018 and that quarantine has increased to 19 counties.

These insects came from Asia, notably China, Vietnam and Korea, and there are no known predators here in southeastern Pa. The Praying mantis and spiders have been seen eating them but for now the main source for control is left up to us. Any old insecticide won't do so don't just go spraying willy nilly or you'll do more harm than good. The last thing we need is to do more damage with the destruction of beneficial insects. The proper combination of chemicals are just recently being sold at garden centers.
Home methods that seem to work are a mix of dish soap and either neem oil or isopropyl alcohol. The nymphs can be killed or at least prevented from climbing into trees by wrapping the trunks with a band tape. The drawback to the bands is that it'll catch things we don't want to harm such as birds and squirrels. To help prevent that, chicken wire can be wrapped around the trunks.

An idea I recently learned about is to plant milkweed. The sap of the common milkweed is poisonous which deters predators from eating the plant, thus a means of self-defense. Since the lanternfly is new to the U.S. they do not yet know that, therefore destroy themselves. Plus, more milkweed is what we need anyway to help the plight of the monarch butterfly.

Lanternfly nymph

The favorite host tree is Ailanthus,which most of us know as the Tree of Heaven or Chinese sumac. Ailanthus (Ailanthus altissima) looks similar to smooth sumac (Rhus glabra).
Both plants have alternate compound leaves that droop but Tree-of-Heaven is a lot taller, up to 80 feet, whereas sumac grows to about 15 feet. Another way to tell the difference is through the berries. Smooth sumac has upright clusters of tiny red berries which last through the winter. Tree-of-Heaven has clusters of flat, winged seeds that also last through the winter but are yellow to green in color.

Smooth sumac

Tree-of-Heaven is considered a scrap or weed tree and it is strongly encouraged that if you have them on your property, feel free to remove them. Other plants effected by the lanternfly are maple trees, poplar trees, sycamore trees, grapes, apples, blueberry, peaches, bittersweet and Virginia creeper.

As we approach the month of September, be on the lookout for egg masses and get rid of them. All smooth surfaces, not just plants, are sites for egg laying. The egg masses are easily scraped off. Patio furniture, grills and decks are all likely spots. The adult lanternflies will die by December with winter cold but the egg masses survive.


The lanternfly has devastated orchards and vineyards. The damage is from the loss of sap from stems and leaves. This reduces photosynthesis and the mess from the drippy sap promotes mold growth.
The life cycle involves four stages, from crawling to the flying stage. The first three have been found on 30 species, including oak, birch, blackgum and poison ivy. After that, the Tree of Heaven is sought out. Just crushing the nymphs is futile. Both the nymphs and adults are excellent jumpers and it is very difficult to just knock them into a jar as we can do with Japanese beetles.

By late July into August the nymphs are at the winged, flying stage and seek out the Tree-of-Heaven trees for egg laying, but any smooth surface will suffice.

Infested trees are a pitiful sight. The lanternflies suck the sap from the leaves and bark. Not all of that sugary sap is needed by the insect, therefore they excrete the extra in the form of honeydew which drips to the ground around the base of the tree. If you've ever seen this mess, it is in no better terms, gross. The bark and soil turns black and mushy and forms an actual fungal mat at the base of the tree. If you stand under the tree you can actually feel the dripping of honeydew secretions from the lanternfly activity above you. Further problems can arise since this sweet mess attracts ants, bees and hornets.

Learn all you can by contacting:
PA Department of Agriculture 
Penn State Extension offices.

Below are two videos, the first one is during the nymph stage and the second is the flying stage.

Lanternfly adult stage
view from underneath
Lanternfly with closed wings