I HOPE YOUR LILIES ARE SAFE AND SOUND. Mine, alas, are not. They’ve been ravaged by Lilioceris lilii — the scarlet-topped insect you see pictured above. More about this “Lily Leaf Beetle,” and the cartwheels I’m performing in order to save my plants:
I apologize for the picture above. But I wanted you see how the beetles perform unspeakable acts of intimacy in broad daylight. And in public.
If you are a member of a certain group of activists, you’re probably clutching your pearls just now.
And who can blame you.
After her little roll in the hay, the female beetle
lights a cigarette lays eggs on the underside of leaves. If you find these clusters of orange capsules, by all means destroy them. At once.
Otherwise, hatching will occur in about 8 days. The larvae will promptly feed (and feed and feed) on the lily leaves.
And by the way, there is a reason I’m wearing gloves in the above photo.
As the larvae eats, it covers itself in its own excrement.
After 16-24 days of continuous feeding, the slug-like larvae falls to the ground and pupates in the soil. Adults emerge in 16-22 days, and promptly eat their way through leaves, stems, buds and flowers. But they do not mate until the following spring. They spend winter either in the garden or in nearby woods, which can sometimes be a great distance from their host plants (lilies).
I hope you never have to confront the Lily leaf beetle. But should you discover the beast in your garden, and you have only a few lilies, proceed this way:
First, pour water and a little liquid dish-washing soap into a bucket or jar.
Next, don a pair of surgical gloves. Blue gloves are particularly nice.
Squish, with your fingers, every adult beetle you can find. Drop the dearly-departed into your bucket or jar of soapy water.
Squish also the excrement-covered larvae. Too revolting a job for you? Then simply detach the larvae-covered leaf, as I do, and drop it into the bucket.
Now, if you have lots of beetle-battered lilies, you probably won’t have the time or energy for hand-picking. In that case, you can spray your plants with Neem. Neem, an organic insecticide, is available at most garden centers.
A few “fun” facts, courtesy of the Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program:
The recent arrival of the lily leaf beetle in Boston has complicated lily culture and gardeners throughout the area should be on the lookout for this insect. The lily leaf beetle, native to Europe, was discovered near Montreal, Canada in 1945. Its damage was limited to the Montreal area for decades, but recently it has spread to the south and west. The beetle was first officially sighted in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the summer of 1992. Many gardeners in the area believe it came in with bulbs shipped from Europe. The beetles are strong fliers and excellent hiders. They have spread as much as 150 miles from Boston, in many cases with the assistance of gardeners. At present the infested area in the USA reaches into all of the New England states, including southern Connecticut and northern Vermont. Not all areas are yet infested and gardeners who are transplanting bulbs and other garden plants should be careful not to move these beetles to an uninfested area.
In closing, I’d like to say that Lilioceris lilii is a threat only to Lillium (true lilies) and Fritillaria. It is not attracted to plants that have “lily” in their common name, such as daylilies or Lily of the Valley.
Have you seen the lily leaf beetle in your garden? You can let me know by leaving a comment. As always, I love hearing from you.
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How I Smother Weeds with Newspaper
A Late-Spring Garden Tour
The Fall Webworm
Yes!!! I had no idea what they were, now I know and will get out there tomorrow! Thank you!!!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Kara – Good luck to us both!
MaryAnn Quinn says
Oh yes, some years ago. I bought several Asiatic lilies, or the ‘real’ lilies as you say. They were devoured that first year by those beetles. After that I’ve focused on the day lilies. They are just as pretty and I’ve never had a problem since.
Please keep them back east, okay? I have enough problems with virus being spread by aphids through all my Oriental lilies.
“Beetle-battered lilies”….sounds like a title for a Dr. Seuss book! I know this is not a funny problem, but your descriptive writing made me laugh! By the way, the blue gloves ARE the best!
Ugh, not another imported insect! I now live along the Delaware River in Bucks County, where I have seen more strange insects in the past few years. Thanks for the warning–I’ll inspect my lillies tomorrow.
Mary Ellen Hern says
Yes, they are all over my my newly planted lily bed and I have been squishing and flinging them. BUT as soon as we get a rainless day, out comes the NEEM. They have completely devoured a couple and I’m racing for the rest. I’m told they need to be sprayed with NEEM every week to 10 days. Oh joy.
My daughter has an insect something like this but it’s a duller orange/red and has 2 narrow black stripes either side of center, on its back. Any clues as to what it might be? It seems to eat holes in the lily leaves and I don’t think the eggs are bright red. She lives near Calgary, Alberta. Thanks for your help.
Scott Trudell says
I think we’re safe here in Wisconsin…at least for now. However, like the
Japanese Beetle, I’m sure it will continue it’s diabolical trek westward. Is this a pest you deal with all summer, or is it only around for a certain time? I love my lilies!!
We get them in England too. I check my lilies every day and remove any beetles and larvae. As you say, not a pleasant job but necessary.
Yikes! We haven’t seen them yet in our area of southern NH, thank goodness. But now I know to keep an eye out. NH had its first confirmed case of emerald ash borer a month or two ago and that was pretty devastating news.
Thanks for all the great info about them. I knew they were bad news but didn’t have any details on them. I’ll be sharing your article on my gardening group’s site.
They just showed up about a week ago here in Pittsfield. I had so many last year ( and I wasn’t diligent enough in removing them ) that they totally destroyed my bed and I ended up loosing several plants completely. This year I am being MUCH more proactive ! And there is something extremely satisfying about squishing the little buggers 😉
Nicole H says
Oh Kevin, you make me laugh so much, I truly enjoy your posts! I had a big sinking feeling between the laughs on this one; “so THAT is what ate all the holes in the lilies last year, I remember seeing those! … And I recall seeing PLENTY of their little orange/red eggs all over the tiny yard this Spring. I wonder if they damage many other plants. Looks like it’s finally time to find some Neem around here in Canada!
Thanks for the info as always, happy gardening!
Shake cheap black pepper all over your lilies. It really works,I had them last year and have not seen any this year. It will not hurt the lilies at all. GOOD LUCK!
This charming fiend showed up here about 4 years ago (inland a bit from Mount Desert Island, Maine). I squish every one I see–some types of lilies seem more affected than others–my turk’s cap lilies aren’t as affected as the orientals. I have a large vegetable garden and orchard space that is enclosed by a deer fence. A few years ago, we moved our ducks in to this space and built them a nice duck house. To keep them out of the veggies during the growing season, we have a temporary fence that just happens to go through the middle of a cutflower garden, including a large patch of lilies. The lilies on the duck side of the fence show no damage, at all. The ones inside the garden are hit, but not as badly as lilies elsewhere on the property. They also kept the potatoes I grew on their side completely bug free a couple of years ago as well! Their main job (besides great eggs!) is to root around all through my vegetable garden and eat up all the slugs and snails between growing seasons–they are very good at it, too!
Donnella Bryce says
Hello Kevin, I am at this moment making your Fennel and Spinach dish – well not exactly your one, nearly your one except I have made it somewhat more rustic and family filling. The topping has fine slices of tomato under an oats, butter and parmesan mixture, and no cream in the sauce, only milk. However I have good news for you, I used a red pan on the stove and it worked just fine – not so certian of the baking dish yet as it is yellow on the outside and white inside. How do you think that will bake this dish? Now I have some photos for you but do not know if it is possible to put them into your message place here.
Elma Richmond says
Hi, From Scotland!
I have, for the first time, found the above beetle in my garden 🙁 This is one import from the USA we don’t need……….( just joking) I hope I have found it in time……….I squashed and hope have removed all the eggs!
BTW I love your blog and have tried several of your recipes !!
Heather O'Shaughnessy says
I hate these beetles…they ravaged my lillies last year and I could not keep up with them 🙁 So far this year my lillies are fine but I am keeping a watchful eye on them.
Peg Staley says
Hi Kevin – Don’t have the beetles but my lilies have suffered greatly this season – we’ve had quite a few late frost/freezes and my lilies look terrible! I planted 5 new ones this past early spring and they all appear to have been frozen off – will they come back from this or have I lost them forever? Some of the lilies that I planted last year look like they have been frozen off as well and are not performing at all! Our last freeze (32 degrees or below) was during the first week of June….we are at an altitude of 7000. Normally, lilies do well here but I would hate to lose my stargazers!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Peg Staley – From what I know about lilies, you will probably (though not definitely) lose this year’s blooms. Just keep the foliage in place, so that the bulbs can store up energy to produce embryo buds for next year’s show.
I had those nasty beetles for two years now and fight with them the same way you do. I just use plain gloves. Have to look for the blue ones.
Oh, forgot to add that I am in Down East Maine near Calais, very close to the Canadian border.
Sue Hubley says
I don’t grow lilium anymore because of those little jerks! They turned my lilies into an eyesore. Every so often I see a beautiful lily and think maybe i’ll try again, but then I think better of it. I see lilies in public places that look just perfect, and I have no idea how they do it! Non-organic poisons, probably.
My madonna lilies were totally ravaged by the beasts this year, but they left the stargazers alone. I try and pick them off and take great pleasure in sqashing them underfoot – allows me to get rid of some of my frustration. My poor madonna lilies did not really flower this year, and I’ll have to give them a lot of TLC to see if they will come back next year. What I have found is that the beetles tend to let themselves drop to the ground so I tend to bend the leaves or the stems so that they fall into my waiting hands. If you keep them inside your fist they start to make whistling noises… but I’m afraid there’s no mercy for these killer bugs 🙂
Wendy s says
I live near Cambridge, Massachusetts and had to stop growing lilies years ago. Before the infestation we had a garden filled with gorgeous lilies. I just spotted a lily volunteer in my garden though, and I’ll keep an eye on it and see if it can survive.
very good advice on the gloves….yuck is the least I can say about that subject. Thanks for the informative newsletter, Kevin. I look forward to it every Sunday.
HI Kevin. As I am just west of Cambridge MA, I have been battling these critters for a very long time. And yet, I add more lilies every year. Go figure. I have been diligent about squishing all forms of the little #@&#@#s and it seems that I don’t get quite as many anymore. I am not squeamish about using my bare hands to eradicate them. I actually get more damage from the rabbits that will strip the entire plant of leaves and then come back and eat the stem . Not as easy to control. I tend to let my three dogs patrol the garden, hopefully scaring them away. Lastly, two interesting tidbits. Watch your shadow when you are picking the beetles. If they detect your shadow, they drop to the ground. They drop onto their backs, exposing a black belly and are very difficult to find. Secondly, the old variety, “Black Beauty” seems to have natural immunity. Although they are gorgeous, life is too short to pass up all those other lily varieties so I will just have to persevere and kick some red lily leaf beetle ass.
I’ve had the beetles for several years. NEEM does work. And they love all of the plant: leaves, blooms, stem, bulbs. The only good thing is that they’re brilliant red, and so with careful looking I actually find them easy to spot. I don’t bother with the gloves. When I see them I get to angry I squish them with my bare hands, fingernails actually. Proper ladies would be shocked at what my fingernails look like most of the time during gardening season. I find thumbnails great for deadheading, too. Lots of snails this year with all the wet weather. Japanese beetles will be out soon because the roses just arrived. It’s a brutal world out there in the garden.
Beverly, zone 6 eastern PA says
These pernicious pests are not in my neighborhood YET.
I do spend a lot of time inspecting the garden and will keep a watchful eye out.
Years ago during my Master Gardener training, I received a great piece of advice from one of the Penn State Instructors….
He said, “KNOW WHAT’S NORMAL.” When a gardener looks at a plant’s foliage, form, and vigor regularly, s/he will know when something abnormal shows up. It takes time, and basically is never finished, but it will teach a lot to the observer.
That beetle plague is horrible, Kevin. And those intimate photos! A “million mothers” just had a sinking spell. Do you have a recipe for homemade smelling salts?
Donna S. says
Thanks for the warning . Nothing spotted in my garden in central New York YET. I’ll be keeping close watch.The pictures in your post are so helpful and you always make me chuckle !
Liz Klingler says
Good luck with your eradication efforts, I hope they are more effective than mine were several years ago. I tried for 2 years to have lilies, but beetles kept ahead of me, even the second year. I finally pulled out the plants and have resisted having any true lilies since, which I regret.
Marsha Smith says
I used to have absolutely beautiful lilies in my garden in midcoast Maine. The beetles won!
Now, chipmunks are digging up and eating all of the spring bulbs. Gardening is a challenge!
The last two summers I’ve had deer eat the blossom buds right off the top of several lily plants. Grr! No flowers from that plant. I fence around my vegie raised beds and spray Liquid Fence or sprinkle other deer repellants around everywhere else. I have too many gardens to fence them all. I think if deer are hungry enough they will eat anything. I’ve watched them eat my raspberries, thorns and all! I have a friend who fenced their arborvitaes last winter and where ever the fence was too close to the tree, the deer ate right thru the fence.
I live in the Missouri Ozarks and have not seen these pests–but my lilies do host stem borers for which at the moment I have no redress. Last year though I acquired a 50 pound bag of food-grade diatomaceous earth (via my local health food store) to use for controlling soft-bodied insect infestations in my greenhouse and garden. The idea behind applying the stuff is that crawling over the sharp dust granules kills bugs by abrasion. We have three varieties of blister beetles here in MOzarks that appear en mass in mid-summer. The juveniles are said to eat grasshopper eggs, but the adults–the squashing of which will actually produce blisters on fingers–feast on and skeletonize leaves, especially those of tomatoes and chard. Since the adults are soft bodied, and since I’ve damaged tomato leaves with soapy water, I thought to try diatomaceous earth to dispatch them. At their first appearance, I treated both upper and undersides of the leaves. A couple of days later when I checked for results there were no blister beetles in sight and they never reappeared. This year I’ve dusted the stuff onto my cole crops which have always been plagued by multiple generations of some kind of leaf-eating larva–not the light-green cabbage-butterfly worm, but masses of smaller, blue, gray, and yellow longitudinally-striped caterpillars (moths maybe–have not been able to identify them). Result? cabbage munchers gone! I’ll be dusting my squash plants with it too since squash bugs are soft-bodied in the nymph stage. Other insect pests to try puffing it on are aphids, mealy bugs, white flies, cucumber beetles, juvenile harlequin and pototo bugs–and it might kill these young lily pests too. Since it’s food-grade any particles of residue can safely be ingested by humans (not that you’d want to eat lily leaves)…and since it’s natural it won’t poison the environment either =:-)
Susan M. says
– SIGH – I finally gave up on my beloved lilies. I live about an hour south of Montreal and had my first encounter with this revolting (although beautifully colored) little beetle maybe 5 years ago. I battled fiercely with the tactics you recommend, Kevin, but it was discouraging. Two years ago I got rid of the lilies and I enjoy my garden again. I put in day lilies, which are nice but very different. I was sorry about all the homeless beetles that must have set out from my garden and landed in some poor neighbor’s garden, but that’s nature, I guess.
In Wisconsin I have at times had insect damage but I have never seen these buggers. I commonly lose the flowers/plants to deer. They eat the tops off, sometimes just the tops/flower buds, sometimes most of the stems. The bulbs always try to bloom again the next year, however the same ones get eaten every year. Some plants, always in the same location, are left alone. The deer pass through the yard and along one bed all the time. Two lilies in the center of the bed have been left alone but about ten feet away all of the lilies planted around a Pagoda Dogwood get munched off every year – half their height or more. I am working on trying to change the travel patterns of the deer – to redirect them away from the lilies. The last several years the deer have not bothered my two arborvitae, standing about four feet tall, but this winter they ate them to bare stems. They are beginning to show signs of green and I am hoping they may come back. This next winter I will have to devise some means of protecting my trees.
None of those here, but my plants, roses and hibiscus are being devored by Japanese beetles!!! I do the same dance, water with soap, grab them, drop them in the water mix and they die.. but there are too many and I can’t stay out all day doing that..
desperate to save my plants..
Jerry Pinto says
Hi Kevin –
Thanks so much for your article on the Lily Leaf Beetle.
I noticed the beetle last year and did my best to squish them. They returned this year with a vengeance, I couldn’t keep up with them. I sprayed with Neem Oil and that got things under control. I garden in Averill Park NY in Rensselaer county.
I’ve never seen these beetles before until this year. I live near Shrewsbury, England and recently bought Lily plants from a local garden centre. I believe the beetles were hiding away in those plants and now I have an infestation. Thank you so much for your helpful advice! I’m waging war today.
Herbal Oma says
These unlovely ladies have come for June visits in upper Vermont the past 2 years. Diligence in daily insect hunting has brought the visitor total to just 3 insects so far this year. I’m hoping for flowers this year. Interesting to know how they arrived here.
Nancy Shelly says
My lily problem isn’t beetles – yet. It’s the furry critters which hung a “Free Lunch” sign at my curb 3 years ago. Something – rabbits, squirrels, a groundhog, a raccoon or all of the above have devoured every asiatic I’ve planted. Perhaps someday you’ll devote a column to how to protect an intensively planted, organic garden just a block from center city. It’s a certified urban habitat (WHAT was I thinking?) No sweet beagle here and only indoor cats. Help!
I have been battling these red beetles on my lilies for about 5 years in my southern NH (seacoast area) gardens. I have been picking the beetles and larva off and squishing them or dropping them in my cup of soapy water and squishing the eggs but they keep coming back. I’ll give the pepper solution a try and will resort to NEEM if that doesn’t work.
Mylitta Bradette says
I have been battling those pesky little bugs here in Ottawa Ontario for many years. I search and squish as soon as the lilies start to come up. I have found that the ones I planted amongst the day lilies are never “seen” by the beetles and are unscathed. Camouflaged ?????
I had them also …….even with going out every day and picking leaves and squashing bugs they decimated my lilies. I ended up losing the battle and pulling the plants. A Pink, Peach and light yellow lily bed…… sigh.
These destructive insects have ruined my lillies. I have been picking them off and dropping them into a cup of hot water, Dawn and vinegar and doing the same to thier equally disgusting “children”. My lillies have truned into stricks with no foliage. They only thing good about them is that their color makes them easy to spot… if it’s not raining!!!!!!!
We live in Jamaica Plain, Mass. The last two years, 2011 and 2012, the beetles absolutely destroyed all our lilies and those in our neighborhood anywhere I could find. I’d go out with a bad, day after day, and collect hundreds to feed to my red eared slider turtle, who gorged herself all July. But as fast as I could pick them, new ones would appear — great for the turtle but every lily I saw was totally ruined by the end of July.
But this year — it’s already July 26 and not a single beetle anywhere so far.So, anyone who what happened to Jamaica Plain’s lily beetles? Anyone else noticed this strange disappearance?
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Jon – Well. That’s good news for you! As for what happened to the beetles in your area, perhaps this segment of a press release from the University of Rhode Island will offer a clue: The lily leaf beetle is under good biological control in France and Switzerland, where at least four species of parasitoids attack it. We have released one species of European parasitoid in Boston, MA and Cumberland, RI.
Sounds like URI’s biological-efforts might be working. Hurray!
I worked at an estate in the Berkshires where I discovered these Scarlet Lilly Beetles a couple years ago. An interesting thing about them, they squeak when you touch them. Now I have them in my gardens, in a place you may have heard of, Valatie. Ever been there? Enjoy your blog so much.
dutch margreet says
Hi, I am from the Netherlands and I have known this beetle for at least 60 years (I do not remember much from the garden from before I was five). I was always on wooden shoes and when the weather was dry on bare feet, socks and clogs out and a wooden shoe is a perfect container to fill with the caterpillars of the colebutterfly, infestations sometimes eating a grown plant in a day. So it was my task to catch them and destroy. How? Well, put the other wooden shoe on, empty the container wooden shoe and wahoo, put your foot with the wooden shoe on them and then sqeeze them under. The stench! But the stench and stickiness of the lily beetle larvae was far worse! And those pesky red things tended to drop on their backs and show only the black belly, so I could not find them. I took an old white discarded soupdish with me and quickly shoved it under the beetle, with luck it would drop in the dish. Although I thought they looked wonderfull, my mum told me there would be no lovely lilies if I did not catch all. I wish she had known about the pepper dusting then. Btw, in Europe we were presented with a striped beetle from the America’s about WW II, it is called a Colorado beetle, rings any bells? Horses over here are walking around covered in a very fine netmaze cloth, because of a very small African kind of mosquito, called a Knut. It came a few years ago with southern sandstorms carried high in the sky and coming dow with rainshowers. Maybe the lily beetles were carried airborn too. El Nino and Elle Nina are not heard of for some years, ocean streams and airstreams seem to have changed a bit the last decade. I have heard there were some good results with a few drops of Eucaliptus oil on cottonballs placed between rabbit or deer favoured plants. I guess Australian rabbits etc. would not mind, but maybe American furry noses will not like the smell of eucalypthus oil. Animals and plants that were common like weed in my childhood I can now not find anymore, the new ones that are coming in seem to do much more dammage.
Jane Choi says
Last summer I tried to put a layer of hot sauce to lily leaves. It worked. Well, I don’t have too many lilies to work on :-).
I just noticed theses nasty things in my garden. I sprayed them with insecticide.It looks like they have been there a while because all I see are the larvae and the extrements from them. They are so awful.
I live in Wausau Wisconsin and have had several infestations of Scarlet Lily beetle. I used sevin insecticide on them and seems to work well
I have had these for years and I try to pick them off and crush them…some years are worse than others. But I didn’t know the trails of excrement were actually larvae – I knew they were gross, but I didn’t worry too much about getting rid of them all. Now I know. So far, I haven’t seen any here in northern Vermont this summer.
Slugs are easy: I just pick them off and throw them to the chickens – they snap them right up!
My new problem is leek moths: I have tried removing the damaged leaves and stalks from my garlic and picking off the cacoons of the moths…but I was wondering if you have any ideas on how else to treat them? My neighbor is using something that looks pretty scary to spray her garlic – I was hoping to stay away from that sort of thing.
After losing about 150 lilies to these gross insects I found Safer Brand 3 in 1 Organic spray. I now have 15 lilies blooming. The spray totally killed these bugs. I spray the plants & the soil surrounding the lilies as they go underground. Now I can put in new bulbs for next year. Also, Japanese beetles on roses can be eliminated by planting garlic around the roses. Have used this method for years & no beetles.
I’ve been fighting those pesky beetles for few years and I am in the Down East Maine close to the Canadian border. I try to find them and drop them into a soapy water. I do the same with the larvae but it’s a loosing battle. I’m considering getting rid off the Asiatic lilies and replacing them with day lilies. 🙁
I also live in Wausau, wis. (see comment # 53). Strange as most information on this bug come from Canada and the east coast states. I didn’t realize I had a problem until it was to late to even think about controlling the problem! The plants and buds were completely covered, some of the stems eaten bare. After an internet search I realized I what I was dealing with so we just cut all the stems downs, put them in a bag and burned them in the fire pit. Most of them clung to the stems while we cut the foliage, making it easier than taking them down one by one. Now I am wondering, do I need to dig up all the bulbs or can I treat the area to prevent a re-infestation next year?? Any advice… these were always very dependable and pretty plants in the past.
Debby Jerpbak says
Anyone have advice for another enemy of lilies: the dreaded rabbit?! Our area has gotten way more rain than we need so far, so sprays or granules don’t last long, not that they help much anyway. We’re reluctant to put up fencing because of cost and the reality that it obstructs our view of our lovely, but struggling, flowers.
Post 57. June, could you contact me? I just got back from vacation and found my Lilly’s destroyed by those bugs. Have you received any advice? I’m tempted to dig up two gardens. Yuck!!!
UGH! We just got these beetles for the first time this year. They have done so much damage to our Lilies!! My most pressing question; can they invade our home? Before I saw these beetles last week, I cut 4 flowers and brought them into the house. Should we be concerned about any infestation in our home??????????????????????????????????
Susan M. says
Here in northern NY I gave up on Asiatic lilies several years ago because of this horrible pest. The beetles never go away no matter how hard you try, and they ARE disgusting. Although they aren’t as elegant, colorful, aromatic, or interesting as Asiatic lilies, I now grow day lilies and appreciate their carefree dependability in the garden.
I have been following you for about a year and am always happy when I see your name pop up in my in-box. I live in northeastern New Brunswick (Canada) and the lily leaf beetle has hit my garden this summer. Also enjoy your recipes. Keep writing.
Perveez jamaji says
Talking of lily beetle s we in Montreal region have had them for years, I gave up on the lilies but I have one volunteer coming up every year, and since there is only one. I am on the lookout for these red critters all the time, and have managed to save this one, but what can I say about the Japanese beetles, I had never seen one till this year, had heard about them, but this year these jewel like beetles chewed up all my roses. I had to actually ask Google to show me what these beetles looked like, they said not to worry, the beetles are there only for a short while,but that short while, is the best time for the roses, but not this year. Kevin you talked about he way your lily beetles shamelessly and publicly did things, but these shameless japenese beetles were doing it in the bed of roses, lucky buggers and then devouring them. I did the best I could, but I have lots of roses and this year was a bust. I’ll have to come up with some new strategies next year . I would like some advice about this problem please. Thanks. By the way I never knew that the lily beetle also attacked the daylilies. I have some beautiful re blooming Appster lilies, I’ll have to lookout for those. Last year was the first time I got a pot and they lived up to their name, bloomed till frost. Next year I plan to get some more of different Colour.
Bye now keep writing, love your blog.
In the spring I fill to half full, a 5 gallon bucket w/ lid and put in liquid dish detergent, mix well and then top with some Neem oil. I keep a long stir stick in it and I put it in a sunny place in the garden (helps to keep the Neem oil in a liquid state). When I have an out-break of aphid or worms hatching on my apple trees (they roll up in the leaves) I get my bucket and clean up and if it’s real bad I clip off plant tips. Use the stir stick to saturate and drown them and the Neem oil makes it impossible to escape. After the first fall frost when I start a new compost hole I’ll bury it at the bottom.
They have arrived on the West Coast! I discovered this bug two springs ago, when I saw a lot of mysterious damage to my oriental lilies, but had not seen anything like this before. I eventually found an adult and now know what I am dealing with. My lillies are breaking the surface and some are alreayd showing damage. I cannot see any eggs or larvae at this point, since they are just one or two inch high , still tightly wrapped. so, I used some Neem on them. I will hope to get him past this plague.
but, just to let you all know that here, near Seattle, we have them , too!
Chris Looney says
To Caroline – I work for the Washington State Dept. of Agriculture. We are teaming up with WSU Extension to seek funding to release the biocontrol agents in King County! Please keep your eyes and ears open for announcements about public meetings, and our plea for sites and volunteers. Feel free to contact me (my link is in the website connected to this message) if you would like more information about our plan. Cheers, Chris
I am from Wausau Wi. and am in the second year of the beetle infestation. I have killed 18 adult beetles so far and found eggs on several plants . I have ordered Bonide 252 Captain Jacks Dead Bug Brew Concentrate. I have read that this works well on the beetle, I will post results, wish me luck cause if I cant kill the beetle I may have to destroy my 100+ lily’s
These nasty beetles are just too hard to eliminate and just keeping them in check is extremely time consuming (picking adults, spraying neem/Capt. Jack’s dead bug) to the point that unfortunately I’ve decided to destroy the entire crop. It started with 50 bulbs as a gift ~ 7 years ago and the plants have multiplied to well over 100, but enough is enough. Southern Maine.
sheryl kehaya says
YES SIR..I VE BEEN IN THE GARDEN KILLING THOSE LITTLE RED LILLIE DEVILS. I WAS CHECKING MY GARDEN OUT, AND LO AN BEHOLD MY LILLIES WERE COVERED.. I SPENT 2 HRS. SQUISHING, AND SQUEEZING THEM DEVILS. I,LL BE OUT THERE AGAIN IN THE AM. THEY,RE NOT GETTING MY LILLIES..
Audrey Jones says
If I cut down all my lillies, am I safe? How long do they live in the soil? I have 1000’s of asiatic lillies. Am I doomed?
There are thousands of them in my area. I used to have hundreds of asiatc lilies but the majority have been devoured. It’s unfortunate. I live in Ontario and I keep buying more lilies every year so there are more and I battle them even more the best way is to spread the word and have everyone kill them. The will eventually kill all them.
I live in Southern Connecticut and have had Lily Leaf Beetles the past few years. I can generally keep them under control by picking them off but this year they have been out of control! They have ravaged all of my dozens of Lilies of all types. It is to the point where I may just pull the Lilies and replace with something for future years. Sad actually.
I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and have had lilies in the same place for 8 years…this is the first year I’ve ever seen a Lily Bug. My lily bed is so thick it’s hard to be able to search them all. I have inspected and killed what I have found. I’ve heard that Sprinkling diatomaceous earth works as well…I’ve also heard that Talcum Powder works…Yup, ordinary talcum powder. Baby powder with talc, not with cornstarch, supposedly works very well. Poof it beside the lilies and on the ground around them. begin in the spring with the first sign of plant growth, then apply it regularly afterwards. It apparently works on all stages of the beetle. It is cheap, safe for humans and plants and is biodegradable….this is what I’m going to try
Kelly Cotta says
These guys have made their way to Florida! I just found them today. They have devoured potato vines on the back of our property and I’m determined to get them before they make way to my lillies!
I live in Australia, in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. We have never seen anything like it before but this summer, something has been depositing lumps of sticky goo, with larva, onto our fabric items – a flannel shirt hanging on the verandah, the space between a covered cushion and the wooden frame of a chair. We could not spot what was making the deposits but a friend suggested the Lily Leaf Beetle. It seems odd that they would be placed where there is no leaf to eat — could they be eating fabric????
Hello-I have about 3 to 5 lily plants in my garden and these things completely destroyed them, I tired it keep up on them but they took over. My first question is because they ate them last year will they (my lilies) still come back this year? I do have some Neem oil and I will use it this year, however what should I do now in early spring to get a head start?
Any help would be appreciated-many thanks!
In Alberta at least 3 years. An old ant powder containing Carbaryl controls but does not eradicate. Any suggestions on eradication?
Heading. Out to kill some now! Trying dog shampoo pyrethrin and need oil. Rroyal PIA!!!!!
I just found then in Fort Saskatchewan Alberta today! I’m horrified. Trying the tobacco juice and coffee ground route tomorrow.
Well! When I first noticed these pests I thought they were maybe young Lady Bugs. After 3wks , I noticed the leaves of my phlox (yes PHLOX!) were holey (and not in a spiritual way). Touched a leaf to discover black goop on the underside. This morning I spent an 1hour picking goop and beetles in all stages off the leaves and as many in the surrounding soil as I could find. I used a few drop of simple dishwashing liquid ( no ultra, anti, or scented ) and BUG STOP mixed with water. I will be out there tmo to see what happens. I did test BUG STOP on several adults and they died immediately. First the voles ate the roots of 8 plants, then the woodchucks chewed 5 plants. The only plants I had left were my phlox and Stella D’Oro lilies (which they didn’t touch!
Angel Heinemann says
They are in central Wisconsin this year for sure…. 🙁
cheryl kuyoth says
I will be starting the battle with these horrible bugs that are destroying my lilies. In the past years I have been fighting with the rabbits. Now this. Has anyone tried the coffee grounds trick? I am going to try everything suggested. Wish me luck! I live in central Wisconsin and your right…Angel…they are here.
I laughed at your site. I live in Calgary, Alberta Canada and these “buggers” r eating my lilies. Thx for the tips!
Roni Fitzharris says
I live in Kildare, Southern Ireland. My lillies are infested, the 1st time this has happened to me, disgusting gunge all over them. Heading out with wash up liquid by the bucket now and hopefully it’ll work. Thanks so much for your insight. Will post how I get on 🙂
I live in Winnipeg, MB and have fighting this miserable creature for at least five years now. I have eight flower beds, some of which had thick stands of lilies and picking became overwhelming after a couple of years. So I resorted to Sevin spraying in late evening after the honey bees went to bed when the plants were smaller (also saturating the soil around) and as they grew taller, use a concoction of Neem oil and dish detergent in water as the plants started to bloom, hoping that honey and bumble bees would not be affected. Also spread finely crushed egg shells and talcum powder on the soil around the lilies. I still go out every day to pick and crush (with bare fingers now, forget the gloves, as the beetles infuriate me). I am afraid it will be a never ending battle as I notice when I water the lilies sometimes several beetles will fly out of the middle of a thicket. Go back a few hours later if it’s a warm day and I can see them flying into my lilies from elsewhere. But I may eventually give up as several other lily lovers in Winnipeg have told me they have done.
Syracuse Ny my lilies are ruined thanks to theses pests never had them on my Star Gazer Lilies before 🙁 I won’t get the fragrant blooms that I look forward to every year in my flower garden.
Heather Vadum says
they are getting lucky in Toronto Canada as well; however have only really noticed damage in the last two years. love your site have told my sister in Worchester to look it up.
Marco Martinez Guerrero says
I’m in Buffalo, NY. I’ve had asiatic lilies and lily trees for a long time. Last year (2016) I noticed the beetles for the first time. Not a lot of them. But this 2017 spring, we are infested… :(. I’ve just killed over a hundred of them by hand…! I’ll try neem oil this weekend. I’ve also read coffee grounds applied to the base of the plant help because of the odor… I drink lots of coffee so I’ll try that too!!
Thank you, I just noticed them a few days ago and they are destroying my lillies! I’ve had lillies for years and this never happened. Do you have any idea why they would appear all of a sudden?
I have been squishing these bugs for the past couple of years in Troy, NY. Hate them. Just don my gloves and start. Such a nuisance. There have been times before I was aware of them that they devastated my tiger lilies.
First year in your years bit I have them. I’m in Connecticut and brewing coffee as I type this. I hear the coffee grounds keep them away. I have to cut off all my leaves.
Been battling these beetles for years in Western MA, Springfield area. Please KILL them, vs using pepper or as another person I know, garlic water. We need to eradicate them not send them off to a neighbor. Problem I found with NEEM is it seems to only work on the bugs you actually spray! Doesn’t seem to have a residual effect or any effect on the larvae and eggs.
from Syracuse New York.
lost all my lilies last year 2017 to this beetle that I had never seen before. By the time I realized my lilies were infested with this disgusting beetle it was too late. this spring I have picked off multiple red beetles and thought I was safe but today have noticed the disgusting slugs. I am trying neem and pulling off the Leafs that have them on them. This is so depressing. when are the beneficial parasite insects arriving?
Alf Turner says
Found in my lilies today but did not know what they were until read your website. Well done and thanks.
Live in Cambridge UK and have never seen them before!!
Kari Car says
My Stargazers are infested this year, gloved up rag in one hand soapy water in other. Neem afterword. Hope this works. First time seeing these pests. Buffalo, NY.
For the first time, I purchased Yellow (my favorite color) Asiatic lily bulbs and planted them in containers. The flowers are gorgeous!!! However, I just recently looked at the stems/leaves and was horrified. Most of the leaves are gone and spotted those tiny, ugly, squishy pests – OMG – thought I would die. Thank you for your blog and I am being very diligent now BUT next year, I will definitely look at my beautiful flowers twice a day for those ugly beasts.
Diane Legere says
I only have five of the nicest lilies but i notice yesterday that they are infested with that bug. I used soapy water to wash them. waiting for the results.
Found them on my lilies today here in Wisconsin, yuck, horrible little creatures! Lilies always were my favorite no fuss perennial. How do I totally exterminate this beetle!
moyra bunger says
Now seeing these in central NY!
We have just been introduced to these little Red Devils this season and now have a full time job squishing them. Luckily our Asian Lilly bed is small so they are conveniently all in one place. I did find that when the Lillie’s were spaced out in full sun with good air flow that there were no beetles at all on them. It wasn’t until we clustered them into one small bed ( full sun but quite sheltered from the elements ) that they hit the Lillie’s. Of our small assortment, they like tiger Lillie’s the best. So from what we have experienced we have found: they don’t like dry open areas or poor, dry clay soil. Water Lillie’s from the bottom and keep the foliage as dry as possible. A little spacing goes a long way for air flow and fluffy fresh turned soil is very inviting for the crusty young to drop into. They seem to be more active on overcast days and less active during the heat of the day.
I wonder if covering the bed with a couple inches of sand would be less inviting than fluffy soil or mulch. Also I am having trouble finding neem oil locally any suggestions where to purchase it at a reasonable price online?
donna white says
Have had lily’s in the flower bed for Years, never a problem until last yr. and this yr. Been using the Neem and the good ole ‘home’ recipes too. Iv’e knocked them back a lot but I’m more concerned about the larve that Iv’e knocked off to the ground. Would spraying the ground around the lily’s also help.? Thank you
Sadly, all of my lilies have been decimated by Lily Beetles over the past three years. The only one that has survived is an early-blooming Asiatic Lily called “Matrix Dwarf.” It’s a bright neon orange color. For some reason it hasn’t succumbed to the infestation and comes back stronger each year. I wonder if its early-blooming habit has something to do with its survival?