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If you grow lillies like we do at the RainyDayGarden, at some point you will come across a bright red beetle on those shiny green leaves.   They like to hide underneath the leaves when the temperature is low...so check in between for them if you don't see them sunning themselves on top.

These Red Lilly Beetles start showing up as soon as the first shoot come out of the ground... even when there is still snow around (which is not uncommon for the New England area). The good thing is these bugs are VERY slow moving when the temperature is under 50 degrees. Which makes them easy to catch.

The best way we've found to control the infestation is to hand pick them off the leaves as soon as they appear. This, off course, is NOT practical for gardens with a large lilly collection... for that, a chemical alternative may have to be used. However, we want to focus on how to take care of this problem for the smaller urban gardens.

The most useful tool we've found is a long surgical clamp with a curved body. It lets us maneuver easily amongst the leaves and reach deep without damaging them. The serration at the tip of the clamp also help with grasping the beetle and pulling them out.

It is easiest to grasp the beetle by the head, but anyway you can get them is fine :-) Happy hunting!!!!



Red Lilly Beetles

By Wan Chi Lau

This beetle has no natural enemies in the NorthEast area, birds won't eat the larvae, and there aren't any good chemical solutions to check their attack on the lillies.

The name of this pest is the Red Lilly Beetle. You might mistake them for Lady Bugs from a few feet away. However, there is no mistaking the amount of damage they can inflect on your lillies in just a few days! One or two of these bugs or their larvae can clean a plant down to the stalk in no time.


Project Summary:

1. Difficulty - easy

2. Time - early morning is best

3. Tools - long nose tweesers/clamps

4. Cost - free

Photography by Wan Chi Lau
Rainy Day Magazine is a Publication of Rainy Day Entertainment Group © 2004