The Cottage Smallholder

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The Dreaded Lily Beetle

Lily BeetleThree years ago my mother started to mutter about the Lily Beetle. It was attacking her lilies, chomping all her flowers when thery were just tasty shoots. I checked our lilies carefully. They were fine. Two years later the Lily Beetle reached our village, fifteen miles away.

I didn’t notice the invasion. We had no lilies in flower that year.

Lily Beetles are bad news. Generally in the first year you find the decimated lilies before you find the beetles. You never make that mistake again.

They seem to have a great love life as you tend to find them in pairs. They are easy to pick up and crush between thumb and forefinger. Having got rid of these rampant egg layers it is important to get rid of their eggs as these will develop into grubs that will devistate your lilies. The grubs are particularly keen on the tender leaves and flower buds. The eggs are easy to spot as they are the blackish-brownish smuts on the lily leaves. I remove them with a damp cloth.

I am not keen on using sprays in the garden but if Lily Beetles are a real pest there is a systemic spray that controls them well. My mother asked her local garden centre for a solution and they suggested Bayer Provado Ultimate Bug Killer. It does not state that it kills Lily Beetle but she has found it to be effective. As the spray is systemic, your lilies will be protected for about six weeks.

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  1. Hi, just found my first lily beetle – disposed of – and checked the leaves. So far can see no sign of eggs or grubs, but glad to have been warned.
    Gardeners world advises spraying with sunflower oil.
    I wonder if growing sunflowers near them would help?

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Karen

      I hate lily beetles! I’ve found a few this year ans squished them.

      I think the oil is a deterrent rather than the sunflower element. But I could be wrong. Good idea though – thanks for the tip.

  2. Tracy

    I have just found this beetle on my lillies.. Have a relatively new garden and am going to zap them A.S.A.P. luckily I have spotted them before the buds on my lilies come into flower..

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Tracy

      You need to remove the beetles immediately and wipe of the eggs (they are on the underside of the leaves). I used to wear rubber gloves for this but now just sqish the beetles between thumb and forefinger. If they really get going, the lillies won’t flower well if at all.

      At this time of year I check morning and evening as I have a lot of lillies!

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Joanna,

    All sort of nasties are flying in. It is the same with the bees (there is now Hive Beetle – don’t know what it does but knowlegable people whiten instantly if iit’s metioned.

    Hi Ash,

    Colorado Beetle – I am rushing for cover with the mention of it’s name. It is far more devistating than the Lily Beetle/

    Hi Sara,

    Lilies like well drained soil. My mumalways plans them with a cople of handfulls of gravel beneath the bulbs for drauinaage.o90

  4. My lilies haven’t been doing very well in the last couple of years. I wonder whether this is the problem. I will check them out. Thanks for sharing.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  5. Eek, what a horrible looking beetle. A Dutch blogging friend found the Colorado potato beetle in her potatoes and it looks equally horrible!

  6. Joanna

    My sister-in-law tells me that there’s a similarly destructive beetle that kills rosemary, apparently endemic in London, so coming to a garden near the rest of us by, say, next summer … I’m going straight out to check my lilies


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