Lily Beetle - Plant Pest
Pests - beasties
Diseases - fungal
natural is your garden? | ants
| aphids | blackspot
| botrytis -
grey mould | caterpillars
beetle larvae | fairy
rings | leatherjackets
beetle | mealybugs
| powdery mildew
| red spider mite
| rust | slugs
and snails | vine
weevils | whitefly
Unwelcome visitors: cats | foxes | frogs | moles Weeds: clearing a neglected area, general weeding
If you are growing lilies, you need to look out for them from the point that the shoots appear in the spring. Look at the leaves for cleanly cut holes. The easiest way to see the adults I find is to bend at the waist and turn your head upside down so you are looking up the stems and at the bottom of the leaves rather than down on the stems. If you find one lily beetle, you can bet you'll get lots more. The overwintering adults arrive first emerging from the soil to lay their eggs in early to mid spring once there are lilies to feed on. The larvae then appear and cause the real damage.
The larvae are very inconspicuous as they cover themselves with sticky black excreta which if you've never seen them before doesn't look anything like an insect that can devour your lovingly cared for lilies in next to no time.
The eggs are tiny, but are bright orange/red and laid in groups of up to 15, so they are surprisingly easy to see for their size - they are only laid on the underside of leaves.
These pests can destroy your prize lilies
in a very short time
Treatment - A two pronged attack, pick off and crush the adults underfoot and use a systemic insecticide which is most effective against the larvae.
As I said above, the adults are surprisingly good at hiding for a bright red 6-8mm long beetle. Look under the leaves, pick them off and tread on them, this may affect your sensibilities, but it is organic! Once you've had a favourite lily attacked by lily beetle though, you will happily pick them off and tread on them.
A systemic insecticide applied every 4-6 weeks according to instructions is the most effective means of combating lily beetle. This kind of insecticide is taken in by the leaves and distributed around the plant, when the adults or larvae eat the plant, they eat the insecticide and are killed, it is also residual within the plant for this time.
The lily beetle was a relatively localized pest in south east England, especially in and around London until about 2000. In the last decade it has spread throughout Britain and is now established as far north as Scotland and Northern Ireland.
While they can be a particularly devastating pest, they are readily dealt with as long as you are aware of them and are looking out.
If you grow lilies - you MUST be aware of this pest and look out for it - wherever you live
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