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Talkback: Dealing with lily beetle

I catch lilly beetles with a spring loaded meash infusor (used for infusing tea leaves) which I hold open over the lilly beetle and then sna...

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I catch lilly beetles with a spring loaded meash infusor (used for infusing tea leaves) which I hold open over the lilly beetle and then snap shut. Before it knows what's happening, I've captured it. I gently pull the meash infuser away, letting go a little bit of a grip so as not to damage the lilly leaf, and then put the meash infusor with contained beetle into hot water to kill it. Totally organic (no chemicals), and mildly satisfying!

And there was me feeling guilty about guillotining slugs with my secateurs It is a quick death no?

Lion S

Wintersong, that is exactly what I do to slugs to!  I refuse to feel guilty, I would feel bad when I'd be using the pellets though. Lily beetles are crushed with whatever I can find - I really love my Fritillaria meleagris- IMO just as quick as boiling them.

I just catch them in my hand and drop them in the water butt I find they arent very good at swimming 

Like those other nocturnal nasties these horrors don't like garlic sprayed leaves . A dilute spray of garlic infusion seems to flummox them (as does leaving crushed mint leaves and lavender in the pots later in the summer).

Once the flowers are open though it's squishing 'em that seems the only remedy. I am a little worried by the amount of satisfaction this gives me TIm Burr, she laughed demonically, so you are not alone.


I've found 7 so far, but I've noticed they only attack the older Lilies. The Lilies I planted in the Autumn remain untouched. The older Lilies have a different type of leaf as well. The untouched Lilies happen to be ones advertised last year in Gardener's World (including Tree Lilies). I hold a trowel below them when collecting. I've heard they don't only attack Lilies, our Fritillaria imperialis have given up before they even started. They've gone pale green and will not flower now. Maybe the beetle is to blame?

Don't forget to hunt out the eggs underneath the leaves.  They are tiny, but as they are red as well they do stand out so you can squish them.  When I do catch the adult beetles, I pop them on the floor upside down - they stay put as they think they are camouflaged!!!!  And then I crunch them.  Very satisfying.  But not quite as satisying as the crunch you get from a vine weevil.

Gary Hobson

I use the finger and thumb method too. I've already posted this photo on a couple of other lily beetle threads. But it is so satisfying:

The warm dry weather seems to bring them out. I've been finding half-a-dozen, or more, every day while the weather has been fine.

I think that regular visual inspection, and manual termination, is by far the most reliable and effective way of dealing with these creatures.


Just found my first lily beetle. I crunched it but think if I find any more I will try the tea infuser. - What else can they be used for! Sounds very satisfying and I do love my lilies


Gary Hobson can we have some of your dry weather here in Ewell ,We had two dry days over the weekend and its raining again now.That must be over a month of rain.

I found lily beatles on my soloman seal today, is this unusual?
Unfortunately not. Squish on sight!
Gary Hobson
oldchippy wrote (see)

Gary Hobson can we have some of your dry weather ... ,We had two dry days over the weekend and its raining again now...

Afraid not. We only had two nice days here too.

So there's been no sign of beetles since then.

But the weather will improve, and they'll be back.

This year, my lilies seem to be fated - nibbled by lily beetles during the day, and munched by slugs and snails whilst its raining, and overnight. Some pot-fulls are being attacked for the 1st time, despite being several years old!
This is the worst damage my lilies have ever suffered.
When I find either types of pest, I get great satisfaction from lifting it from the 'victim', then quickly crushing underfoot.

Thanks Marinelilium for the tips about garlic, mint & lavender. I'll try them out.
I too love lilies... keeping an eagle eye is a must..simular to Tim Burr..I use an old jam jar to knock them into & close the the jar is small amount vinegar & salt...with bit of water.. placing the jar outside & leaving it until I need it again..eventually throwing it away..
Used to make me angry when they dropped off & I missed them.. I dont anymore...


All these suggestions and methods are good , I dont feel guilty at all either . They have killed my plants and I kill them!

I havent  invited them to my garden so they get the tresspasers treatment ! did you know they fly too ?

One of the most useful items when trying to catch lit beetles, is an old tea strainer. Preferably not the one you use for your Earl Grey - but one that is no longer used in the kitchen. You can knock the red terrors into it, put your hand over the top and carry the beastie to a hard surface where you can jump on him howling with glee - the last part is optional, but my neighbours are used to this, and know I am rather odd anyway so ignore my howls in lily beetle season. (come to that, at any other time as well ..... .) Seriously, a strainer really does help catch the beetles, and is easily popped into your pocket or tool bag as you go about the garden.

Lat year we were away for most of May so I did that which I don't normally do, and doused the potted lilies with Provado ultimate bug killer. This was sad as I have been non-chemical in the garden for years, but was not happy to come back to around a hundred or more dirty black sticks. I must say it worked very well indeed, nothing else got touched, and I can see it happening again. The trouble is there is nothing that will recognise these beetles as prey, as they are not native to the UK, but another aggravating import. Red means means danger to most insectivores so they are not likely to try it and see if it is delicious or not.
I Just pick it off and carry it around the garden waiting for it to squeak
I grow my lilies in pots, and submerge the pots weekly in a rain barrel for 30 mins, and scoop off the beetles with a jar. I leave the lidded jar in the sun till they die. This is an easy method and I have very few catches since ai have been doing it this way. And my lilies love the soak.