Identifying and Controlling Liloceris lilli – Scarlet lily beetle

The Scarlet lily beetle has been a big concern for gardeners across Canada this summer and readers from Halifax (hi Shawn) to Alberta have asked about what this bright scarlet beetle with a black underside is and what can be done about it.  The Scarlet lily beetle was introduced to Canada approximately 3 decades ago into Quebec.  Finding Canada to be the friendly host it is, it has become an unwelcome addition to the horticultural community from coast to coast.  This little monster does not have discerning taste and will eat every part of your lily plant if left unchecked.  The reluctant hosts for the beetle are true lilies and daylillies.  They like to hide on the underside of the leaves and scarf up your plant before you even notice they are there.  The larvae coat themselves in their own excrement which looks like a gross blob of well, poo, which it is.  When the larvae hatch they will begin eating voraciously so try to contain by eeww, handpicking them off the plant (really) along with the use of Neem products every 5-7 days.  Chemical controls can be used with a modicum of result but they are hazardous to the little birds and bees we love so The Yard Therapist would never encourage her readers to use them and in fact beseeches them not to.  There are no natural predators for the beetle (except you) and they are known to make a squeaking sound when threatened.  Of special note, the lily beetle is known to be predominant Nova Scotia.  (so sorry Shawn).  They can overwinter in the soil or decimated plant material, so a thorough clean up of the soil around the infected plants is recommended.  References used:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/scarlet_lily_beetle; www.gardeners.com;  Garden Bugs of Alberta, Fry, Macaulay, Williamson

 

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