Check your Lilies for Red Lily Beetle

The best way to control this nasty pest is to continually scout for the adults, larvae and eggs. Wipe the eggs off with a soapy cloth and drop adults and larvae into a bowl of soapy water.

June 29, 2015 | | Blogs | Leisure | The Flower Farm

I was poking around in my own gardens last week and was dismayed to see my Fritillaria lilies being attacked by adult Red Lily Beetles and some eggs already laid. The early extreme warm weather over the last few weeks had caused them to become active. My Asiatic lilies were being attacked too. I spent a good hour squashing them!

The Red Lily Beetle is a garden insect pest that has been introduced from Europe. Like all other introduced pests it has no natural predator. Although rare when it was first discovered in Ontario in 1993, it has since become much more common and is now a serious garden pest, feasting upon any type of true garden Lily, including Asiatic and Oriental Lilies. (Daylilies may be slightly affected, but the real damage is usually to the bulbous true Lilies.)

The bright red lily beetle is slightly larger than a Ladybug, but is spotless.

Adult beetles overwinter in the soil, emerge in early spring and spend the rest of the season defoliating Lilies while laying eggs. The eggs, laid in rows are bright orange in colour and are found on the underside of leaves. They hatch in 1 week and larvae quickly begin feeding. The larvae camouflage themselves in their own waste and are easily mistaken for bird droppings. Within 14 days, they drop to the ground, where they pupate and emerge as adults 2 or 3 weeks later. The best way to control this nasty pest is to continually scout for the adults, larvae and eggs. Wipe the eggs off with a soapy cloth and drop adults and larvae into a bowl of soapy water. If you keep up with the scouting then you should be able to eliminate the pest. If your Lilies are afflicted, don’t share plants with fellow gardeners as this will contribute to the spread of the pest.

About the Author More by Katie Dawson

Katie Dawson and husband Chris Martin own the Cut and Dried Flower Farm, a family owned greenhouse business located close to Glencairn, Ontario.

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