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Scourge of the Lily

In the Sandbox we try to incorporate many Native plants into the landscape.  My husband's favourite is the Lilium superbum or Turk's Cap Lily.  This is a lovely plant with orange petals dotted with black speckles and long stamens.  It grows in our front flowerbed on the north side of the house.   The soil there is slow to warm up and  through the summer can be quite dry.  

At this time of the year on the lily this type of damage occurs.  The leaves are torn and full of holes.   Not appealing foliage.

This is the problem.  The Lily Leaf Beetle or Lilioceris lilii is the culprit.  This beetle was introduced to North America from Eurasia.  As an adult this brilliant red beetle lays its eggs on the undersides of leaves.  The larvae are orange-red and carry a layer of excrement on their backs.  One generation is produced a year.  The adults and larvae eat leaves, flowers and seed cases.  The entire plant parts can be consumed.   Not only lilies are affected but Fritillarias and enven potatoes can be attacked.

In Ontario we are not allowed to use fungicides, pesticides or herbicides to control insects and weeds under the Ontario Cosmetic Pesticides Ban which came into effect On April 22, 2009.  In our garden we abstain from using any kinds of pesticides anyway so that we can keep a proper balance for biodiversity.   The method above which I am sorry is out of focus, is my two finger method.  You get the beetle between your  thumb and finger and give him a squish.  Believe me it is a very satisfying and thorough method of elimination.  Give it a try on your lily beetles.    Happy Gardening.  


Diane said…
Thank you very much for visiting my blog, Valerie. We are in Sudbury, just four hours (or not quite) north of you. I'm so glad I found this 'blotanical' site because I had just started my own blog and was having trouble finding other garden blog on blogspot. (If there is a way to search I haven't found it yet.) When I have a little time, I will enjoying browsing through your blog.
hetty said…
I'm not sure if I could just squish them with my fingers. I usually just drop them onto the path and step on them. The larva covered in excrement are another story. I carry a bowl of soapy water and drop the larva into it as I take them off the plant. That way I can sort of wash the gunk off my fingers at the same time. Still, I can't wait to get back into the house to wash my hands! Yuk!
Crafty Gardener said…
Those dreaded red lily beetles ... I keep a couple of rocks by the lilies and squish, squish, squish.
They make your fingers orange if you squish too many. Yuck:(
Dave said…
the first one is a stunner.

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