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Talkback: Lily beetles

I have grown Lillies for years and love them 2 yrs ago I saw orange beetles had eaten bude and holes in all the leaves ,my young neighbor ca...

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I have grown Lillies for years and love them 2 yrs ago I saw orange beetles had eaten bude and holes in all the leaves ,my young neighbor called around and I showed him He said ''Oh they are on my plant nthey were on them when I bought them'' so I suppose they have fown over my garden wall (is the grass greener on my side of the wall) no because I pick them of and step on them but I cant keep up with them has anyone any tips for me please
Woodgreen wonderboy

The only way is to destroy them by squashing. I use my fingernails to slice them in half. You need to do this daily I am afraid. 


Hi Rosytoes - If these really are lily beetle (bright, bright red) you need to get really tough.  The young larvae are even worse than the adults - they strip the leaves and cover themselves in their own dung so they look like disgusting blobs on the plants - vile.  I've tried being organic but the only thing that works on these monsters is chemical spray, ask in your garden centre to give you one that will work on lily beetle.   Spray at dusk (to avoid too much damage other insects) and only spray the lilies (the beetles don't attack other plants).  And don't delay - do it now before they've destroyed the lot.



This year seems to be really bad I have killed more than any year I can remember.

I am not growing Lilies this year, this pest is a veracious feeder, along with every other pest in the garden chomping through everything in sight, just hoping the Lily beetle doesn't take a liking to anything else in the garden.


I have loads of lilies in my garden which normally attract a regiment of lily beetles but for some strange reason I've seen very few this year...SO FAR! However in past years I have never needed to resort to a chemical solution but have found that an  almost daily beetle patrol where all invaders are executed on sight ,has very effectively halted their progress through my plants.....this has not seemed onerous nor does it seem to take that long provided they are hunted down regularly. When I spot one I cup my hand under the host leaf before the pest has time to drop to the floor out of sight....(its natural reaction to danger)....I then tap the leaf and catch the catch the insect as it drops into my hand. With very  bad infestations however  you can commit mass genocide by placing a cloth on the earth under the lily  plant and then  shaking the whole plant whereupon all resident beetles will abandon ship and jump out of the plant  landing on the cloth when they can be dispatched.

happy dispatching 


Woodgreen wonderboy

iTotally agree withb Tallulah... veryfew  beetles this year.... have no idea why. So far I have only seen 2!!

I don't grow lillies as I have cats and am afraid of them being made ill by the pollen but I do grow frittillaries and lily beetles affect them ..... both snakeshead early in the year and others later.   I have an iris that has been shredded and nibbled, even into the flowerhead,  and wonder if this could have been the lily beetle.   Although feel it may be muntjac deer as they will graze the leaves from geraniums and hellebores .... it is just one bearded iris although I have very many more bearded ones and different varieties around the garden that have not been touched.  I use the pick and squash method ...don't know how this is affecting my karma.

Most of my lilies are grown in pots and this year was the first sighting of lily beetles, not many but enough to know they are there.

My Q is would it get rid of the larvea if the bulbs were lifted after flowering and die back, washed off compost and then repoted in fresh compost for next year?

So long as you are sure to replace all the compost (in which I believe they overwinter)  I guess this may help to get rid of existing colony of beetles but would not  prevent more beetles from floating in from elsewhere....and I don't think that lifting lilies every winter does them much good.....they seem to become more sturdy and established for being left alone. Unless you grow them in pots replacing ALL the compost would not be a very easy task!

Only seen a couple of lily beetles....never see many anyway.  I squash those I see.  You can spray and I do occasionally but best not to I think.   Tending towards thinking more of wildlife these days and awareness of chemicals used in home and garden.  Beware pests!  I still will use sprays if I have to ....on ants esp

Verdun.....well done for being wildlife friendly but beware ant poison ......especially powder like Nipon. A local beekeeper told me recently that one of the greatest dangers to bees is in fact ant powder which can easily be picked up on a bees legs and even the tiniest amount once transported back to the hive or nest can wipe out the whole bee colony! I have been looking around for a non chemical ,environmentally friendly  alternative and have found a number of posts on the web claiming that powdered polenta sprinkled around the ants nest is brilliant because apparently the ants try to eat it but their digestive systems cannot cope with it and they die. Also boric acid is supposedly poisonous  to ants. Have recently tried polenta and results so far looking very good.....but have not yet been able to find boric acid.

Thanks tallula.

I don't use powder for ants but it's good to have your advice about it and that warning   I have a dog and aM conscious of powder.  Use ant spray but sparingly.  


Woodgreen wonderboy

Lily beetle count still stands at only 2 so far... my fingers remain crossed altho as the season progresses surely they can't turn up this late?


We have a lot of lillies in our borders and most have been munched by the dreaded lily beetles. Lost count how many I found.  I  discovered that they make a squeeking noise to warn their mates of attack, and if they drop off the plant, they lie on their backs so you cant see them...cunning little rotters!! A good way of catching them is to cup your hand under the area where the beetle is positioned and tip the plant into you hand, so the beetle lands in your hand and  not on the soil, then crush it with your finger nails. Got quite fed up doing this so I use Bug spray on all the lilies,  that seemed to finish them off and I have'nt seen any since..ha!     It is a shame they do so much damage, as they are actually quite a pretty bug.

Well  I live just north of wonder boy..... in Herts.  and likewise am rather bemused at lack of a respectable show of lily beetles so far this year....3 max ....and none in the last 2 weeks!! I am not allowing myself to be lulled into a false sense of security however, since I think this is another one of their cunning strategies because they have realised that   we are all now aware of the 'pretending to commit suicide by jumping off a leaf when spotted and then landing on your back and feigning death' routine!...No, I am convinced that we have not seen the last of them. I believe that they are in  hiding ...probably  in underground bunkers...and that they are most likely at this moment either  regrouping in preparation for their main assault or being trained by 'Beetle Command ' in the ways of terrorist warfare and will probably launch their attack on an unsuspecting gardening public of East England  later in the summer .....most likely when we are all away on our summer holidays. So wonderboy ,do not be surprised if you come back from your summer holiday to find that all your lilies have exploded!!

otnorot but just call me Bill

For years I have killed 50 to 60 by this time every year but this year I dont know what has happened but I have only found 7,have I finally beaten them?


Woodgreen wonderboy

Perhaps the lily beetles living in the south of England are "softies" and didn'y enjoy the cold winter and have emigrated to warmer climes..... or froze to death