Other victims of red lily leaf beetle?

ginny12May 5, 2006

The red lily leaf beetle has become a real plague in our area. It devours true lilies and relatives like fritillarias. Now I notice that two clumps of perennials I have had for over twenty years have disappeared. They are Korean fairy bells (Disporum flavum) and great merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora). They are both members of the lily family--liliaceae. (Hope that's not too much Latin first thing in the morning!) Have any of you had this beetle attack members of the lily family other than true lilies?

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magda(Z 5b/6aOnt Can)

Not yet on anything else other than frittilarias and lilies. I kill about a pair of the beetles a day now. I have managed to keep them in check that way- daily hunt, but thanks for the warning.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 10:09PM
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I mashed another 5 today in addition to 5 on Thursday. Seige is underway, I fear.

I'll be hauling out the big cannons pretty soon.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 2:24PM
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I've just shipped a couple dozen lilies to my future garden in western Massachusetts.
THANK YOU GINNY for the warning about this pest!


    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 4:28PM
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6 more this afternoon...

Time to call in the major toxins; jeez I hate that!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 6:20PM
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I hate it too. I try to garden with no chemicals but every so often....

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 7:58PM
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The lily beetles appeared in my garden for the first time last year. This was after I ordered some special lilies to add to my collection from a longstanding Ontario mail order importer.

I don't know whether it is connected or not, but the lily beetles are not big 'flyers' and they all appeared around the area where I had planted the new lilies from this new supplier. Maybe it is a coincidence, or maybe it was bound to happen. I see from the RHS chat sites that the beetle has moved in pockets into the northern regions of the British Isles too. They wonder if the popularity of mulches or composting (without sterilization) is to blame.

Anyway, to be on the safe side, I have decided to a) never order from these folks again, and b) if I purchase any bulbs from anywhere, then I will check them very closely for soil traces, and soak the bulbs in a solution of 10% bleach. This works well for all manner of problems, including iris borers.

I know that I am obsessed, as I started looking over the lilies at my golf club a few weeks back, and started squishing. I then wondered if they had ordered new lilies from the same supplier as I'd tried. I have yet to ask.

I am sorry for the squeamish folks -- The beetles are easy to squish, and the larvae are too. The eggs are easy to rub off (make sure to squish 'em). This has to be done with bare or gloved hands. All this advice about bricks -- my goodness - such labour, for such a tedious task. If you have a large infestation you just have to dive in and squish.

Notes: try to place a nice cool glass of wine up on your porch and carry a soapy cloth with you -- wipe your hands frequently when you get over-squished, and sip your wine liberally; it helps!!

"Oh how I long for the days before Cruikshanks had been 'branded' and then ruined".

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 5:08PM
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I'm using Bayer's Advanced Rose & Flower systemic. It lasts 6 weeks. I have no idea how toxic it may be to other species. Does anyone know? I just hate losing all my lilies. Last year's flowers were few and the foliage was ugly.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 7:53PM
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I'm in the heart of the New England infestation. I've been patrolling, picking, squishing every day now... and have yet to haul out the toxic "cannon". I'll probably have to but, this is the latest in any season of the past 3 that I've seen so few of the little red devils.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop...

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 8:00PM
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These Korean beetle, are they reddish ? I had them during the first year I had a lilies (Tiger Lily ?) The pest ate averything. The next season the plant came back. I planted lots of Marigolds and Garlic around the Lily. I never seen the beetle again. I noticed that my garden have been pest free (almost) for the last 4 seasons. I refuse to apply chemicals. I just do companion planting. It may not work right away but eventually it works.

I am not sure if I am just lucky. I probably will be visited again.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 2:56PM
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jackied164(z6 MA)

I squish and squish. Do the toxic sprays really work? All of my beds are lined with rocks and I have my squishing rocks next to my lily patches. If these buggers looked down I think there is a valuable lesson for them in plain sight. I hate that the beetles are actually kind of pretty while their young are just moving piles of poo.

I will take the glass of wine.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 8:42PM
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Last year I was pestered with them so much I pulled all the Lilies out. Or so I thought.

This year I have a suprisingly huge healthy crop of lilies. Around the lilies are other plants which the slugs were attracted to, so I started spraying with my slug solution of 10% ammonia (nitrogen) and 90% coffee leftover from the pot in the morning. At times I would spray the foliage of all plants in the area as well as the ground, adding a tbsp of Mis Murphy's Oil Soap (vegetable based product) for a bit of adherence to the foliage. The reason I sprayed the foliage is the deer were starting to munch on the phlox paniculatas, and I discovered the spray deters them. They hate the taste.

On the day I started spraying, I had killed 5 beetles in the morning. The day after spraying, two were squished. I kept spraying every two evenings - soil and foliage - and have yet to find another. My spraying routine has gone to one evening a week if I feel like it. No lily beetles seen for the last three weeks.

I'm not sure if there's a correlation, but it sure is quite the coincidence since my neighbour 500 feet away is infested to the point she is picking over 30 a day...

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 9:03PM
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RE: Bayer's Advanced Rose & Flower: I live in the City of Toronto which has a ban on any kind of chemical insect control in the hands of non-commercial gardeners. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) works fairly well on the larvae - it's a biological method that doesn't harm people and other animals; Carbaryl still seems to be available, but I haven't tried it.

So, here I am, occasionally sipping as I run my fingers up iris leaves to catch the iris borer larvae before they get into the rhizomes; and squashing the scarlet menace (or their blobby offspring). All jesting aside, the regular squashing forays really do help.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 11:10PM
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ornata(London UK (8/9?))

I have fingernails that are probably longer than is practical given the amount of gardening I do, but they do come in handy for squishing lily beetle. I'm also wise to their trick of dropping onto lower leaves and then onto the ground when they see a hand approaching, and always put one hand underneath so they drop onto that.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 5:23AM
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nancyd(5/Rochester, NY)

They're here in upstate NY, too. Just saw my first batch on Saturday - wasn't quite sure what those "poopy" things were at first. Really nasty. I'm using Neem oil. We'll see what happens. I heard they're experimenting with a parsitic wasp in Mass. and feel confident it's going to work. They've had success with it in Europe.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 4:24PM
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Was at a friend's for lunch today and she gave me a tour of her garden. She commented that she didn't know why all the leaves on her lilies had fallen off. I took one guess.

We inspected closely and saw two pairs of red lily leaf beetles mating!! She squashed them so fast and put them out of their ecstasy!!

I've had so many this year (in z6) I couldn't keep up with the squishing. I've used Bayer 3 times now. All my lilies are looking good, and will be blooming in the not too distant future.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 5:09PM
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triciae(Zone 7 Coastal SE CT)

Ginny, I've got L. 'Star Gazer' planted in a dappled shade area & underplanted with H. 'Sum & Substance', ferns, astilbe, & the usual suspects for this type of area. Anyways...last year, the little buggers were eating my HOSTA. This year, I've not seen a single one around yet. Quite possibly, they've all drowned! So, watch out for your hostas...

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 5:50PM
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Oh, please don't tell me they go after hostas. I might as well pave the place with asphalt.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 6:54PM
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I had almost forgotten about the lily beetles. I used the Bayer systemic on my lilies awhile ago and put the whole matter out of my head.

Now that I am reading this, it is clicking what the holes are from in other plants I had been seeing. I knew they were familiar type holes, but my mind blanked. Now I know they looked like red lily holes. I will have to go look for the red guys everywhere now. I think it was in some hosta.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 7:28AM
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janetr(Ottawa USDA 4a)

That's weird. I've never seen them on any of my hostas. The first one I ever saw though was sitting happily on my Pagoda erythronium, also in the lily family. It didn't last long.

Janet's Garden

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 11:56AM
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I'm in Mid-Coast Maine and my lilies have been attacked too, within the last 2 weeks these red lily beetles have eaten holes in every leaf of my asian lilies. I didn't have this problem last summer. They aren't bothering my day lilies yet - will they eat those too? - Violet, Maine

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 7:51PM
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The lily leaf beetles ate my tiger lilies to the ground a couple of years ago - I've got 4 little stunted ones left that I'm trying to save. In my vigilance I've found lily leaf larvae on potatoes, chinese lantern (physalis) and violets. I'm trying to eradicate the chinese lantern and violet and I'm half tempted to let the beetles do it for me but they'll just move on to something else. Saturday I had 2 generations of larvae working on the chinese lanterns - all lined up in a row munching away, disgusting but also made it easy to pull up the whole plant and dump it in a bucket of soapy water. If I'm feeling particularly vengeful I dump some alcohol in with the soap.
Any success stories?
Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 10:13AM
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Hello I am new to this website. I was looking for info on a red lily beetle I saw mating and eating my new lily. I squashed them. After reading everyone's plight, I too am also "on the hunt" I just started my garden last year and still don't know where or what everything is. One thing I do know is NO RED LILY BEETLES!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 8:38PM
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THese little boogers will destroy chinese lanterns too!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 1:56PM
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