Beth is a long-time gardener and former professional who loves to share her rescues and successes in the plant world.
The Villains - Scarlet (or Red) Lily Leaf Beetles
For the most part we uphold to the motto "Live and Let Live... except when it comes to Red Lily Beetles decimating our beautiful Asiatic Lillies. They are also known as Lily Leaf Beetles (Lilioceris lilii), but they not only eat the leaves. These voracious bugs, and their always eating larvae, will actually chew lilies right down to the ground. Since the flowering plants start growing early in the season and take quite a while before they actually blossom, I have a problem with that, so on for the hunt.
Time to Save the Stargazer Lilies from Pests
You might ask why go through this battle with lily bugs?
Well, this is why. The Stargazer Lily is one of my absolute favorite, exotic, and easy to grow flowers. For all this beauty, these blooms do not last for long. These lilies happen to be pink and white. These flowers also come in different shades of pink, white, and also yellow, orange and red. They can be one color or several. Well worth the bug battle to save these beautiful blooms.
Now... Let's Begin
Supplies You Will Always Have on Hand
- Partially filled glass of water
- Small amount of Vegetable oil
- Paper napkin or paper towel
- Pour a small amount of oil into the glass of water, but just enough to make a thin layer.
- Place the napkins or paper towels under the plant to catch fallen bugs. Make sure to use enough to cover the ground all the way around, and at least 6 inches out from, the plant stem.
- Hand pick the beetles and drop into the glass of water and oil.
Repeat daily until no more beetles appear. If you are successful, you may notice less beetle infestation in the next year's bloom since at the end of the feeding period they burrow into the ground.
Note: Most beetles will drop, as a defense, before you can pick them. The napkin/papertowel makes it easier to locate them since they flip upside down. The dark coloring of their "underbelly" allows them to easily get lost in the mulch or soil.
So Sorry... Not PG Rated. Stop That.
How Do You Get Rid of These Pests?
The Simple, yet Effective, Beetle Trap
Another Warrior Battles the Lily Eating Bugs with a Different Solution
Here are More Alternative Ideas for Pest Control
- Lily beetle control: share your solutions - Lily Leaf Beetle Tracker
I had been informed at a Master Gardener meeting last year that the application of coffee grounds around the base of the lilies helped to deter these little pests, as they are attracted...
© 2016 BWDuerr
BWDuerr (author) from Henrietta, New York on May 01, 2016:
Thanks for your comment! I understand the lack of movement may be in part due to the introduction of parasitic wasps. If there is no environmental backlash for that, it works for me. Thanks again.
Catherine Tally from Los Angeles on April 29, 2016:
I enjoyed this hub and appreciate your organic approach. Fortunately, this destructive insect has not moved West. It appeared in New England around 2007 having been seen before that in Canada. It came from Europe and Asia. Yet another reason why plants shouldn't be transported to non-native areas without agriculture inspection.