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  1. The Lily Leaf Beetle

    Red Beetle Alert!

    This spring, with warmer than usual temps., brings early evidence of destructive and nasty garden pests. Would you believe I detected Lily Leaf Beetles already feasting on our treasured hybrid lilies in March! These beetles over winter in the soil and rear their ugly heads in the spring. Hurry up, they work quickly. The female lays her eggs(and she is quite prolific) on the underside of the lily leaves and that is how an infestation of ravenous larvae can go undetected. You must eradicate them before they annihilate your precious lilies.

    Lily Leaf Beetle

    Lily Leaf Beetle

    Lily

    Lily

    We spray with a botanical insecticide as soon as the lilies pop up from the ground in addition to snatching the beetles off of the greenery and crushing them whenever one is detected.

    Lily

    Lily

    Here the yellow arrow indicates a hole in a lily leaf where the red beetle has been feeding. This is nothing compared to what will happen if left untreated.

    Lily

    Lily

    2 Lily Leaf Beetles at work.

    Lily

    Lily

    If you grow just a few hybrid lilies you may hand pick the beetles regularly but be sure to check under ALL the lily leaves DAILY and remove any eggs you find by cutting the leaf and destroying the eggs. For photos of Lily Leaf Beetle eggs and larvae you may find them on one of our previous blogs.

  2. The red “Lily Leaf Beetle”

    I  can remember the first time spotting this little red beetle. It was many years ago and it was perched on the tip of one of the hundreds of hybrid lilies that grace our gardens. I thought wow what a beautiful color, isn’t nature amazing and continued on (those of you who have had experience with this beetle should be cringing at this point). Little did I know the destruction these tiny beetles were capable of.

    As the summer flew by I started detecting a ridiculous amount of disgusting slug like creatures on the underside of the lily leaves that were feeding on all the greenery at an incredibly insane rate. I was beside myself and knew full well at this point that no matter what I was to do it was too late. The lilies were infested.  To make matters worse anyone I spoke to at our local garden centers at that time were completely unaware of a beetle that aggressively and specifically attacked hybrid lilies. They  had a look of disbelief and doubting eye as if  I was some crazy lady who had nothing better to do then to conjure up a bug.  So with that, I decided to fight back the best I could so as not to be completely defeated and do the only thing that made sense. I put on rubber gloves, scraped every lily leaf of eggs, larvae (not a fun moment) and crushed every red beetle I encountered (not bad, actually quite satisfying).

     By the time the lilies bloomed they had very few leaves, but at least they bloomed. Controlling these beetles has become just another maintenance task, and anyone who gardens knows that conquering insects is just one of countless battles (I wont even get into weather!) that comes with the dedication and passion of successful gardening.  I start inspecting as soon as the lilies break ground and use an organic spray that I have had good results with and by doing so I eliminate the infestation I will never forget.

     Winters are long in Maine and we look forward with great anticipation to enjoying our gardens, especially the hundreds of dramatic blooms and the intoxicating and exotic fragrance of our Oriental lilies. I have read about a parasitic wasp that is used for biological control in certain European countries has been released in Boston and part of Rhode Island. We’ll see, hopefully in my lifetime, but until then SPLAT!

    Lily leaf beetle

    Lily leaf beetle

    lily leaf beetle larvae

    Lily leaf beetle larvae

    Lily leaf beetle eggs

    Lily leaf beetle eggs

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