Tuesday, 2 June 2009

As red as the Devil!

Hiding underneath the flower bud of an Asiatic Lily is a creature blood red in colour, as destructive as any pest I know and something I've been dreading.  Well, at least it wasn't in my garden!

Last year I suffered at the hands of these little beetles, which are quite unimaginatively known as 'Lily beetles' or more accurately Liliocercis lilii.  They arrive without warning and start munching away on the leaves of bulbous plants, in particular Lilies and Fritillaries.

The beetles then breed and lay eggs on the plant.  The larvae hatch out and they too eat plant leaves just like their parents.  I didn't notice the larvae at first as they normally cover themselves with their own excrement (Nice!) and as a result they look pretty much like birds droppings.

The beetle is native in many parts of Europe and Asia but not here in the U.K.  Well, that was until the 1940's, when it became established in the South.  I found this beetle in Lancashire, North England.  This pretty much backs the theory that as temperatures rise these beetles are moving further North.

My advice is to dispose of the insect as soon as you find it.  Luckily for me they haven't been seen in my garden yet, but I'm sure they will appear!


  1. I have lilies in my garden but have never seen a Lily Beetle yet. I've also just planted some lilies in the allotment so I will have to keep my eyes peeled.

  2. Hi Ryan, they are horrible little creatures and very destructive. I don't grow these kind of lillies any more as I got those beetles all the time when I did grow them. I just grow Day Lillies now which I prefer anyway and the lily beetle doesn't seem to care much for them.

  3. Hi Ryan, today I have had problem with those tiny snails in the soil :-( They ate up all the little plants that have just germinated. I threw away all those tiny snails immediately (I really know what you meant by disposing those beetles)! But I am sure that are more in those soil that I bought. Now, I need to germinate again :-(

  4. Ewwwww!!! Thanks for the warning.

  5. Great new look to your blog Ryan!

  6. Gosh you are so lucky.

    The best method to catch them is evening as they tend to be near the top and to cup your hand under them they usually fall with the slightes moement and so you can catch them as they often land on their backs they are difficult to see in the soil.

    I have found that they are usually in pairs so if I find one i look much harder for a second one.

    The bugs are far more difficult to get rid of and appear to do more damage.

  7. I've caught two lily beetles in the last few weeks - both were on the underside of leaves, so it pays to look your plants over from all angles.
    Flowers a couple of weeks from opening, so hopefully I'll be fine till then,

  8. Vile,vile creatures:( Glad that they have not made into your garden yet Ryan.

  9. I am new to gardening, and didn't realize that these guys were the problem until it was too late. They went for the expensive lillies first, and then munched all of my tiger lilies. Next year vengence is mine if they show themselves!!!!!


Web Analytics