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Lily Beetles


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#1 belli

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 07:08 PM

Imagine my dismay to come home from work today to find several of my lilies chomped to the ground.

On closer inspection, I found a pair of lily beetles enjoying conjugal rights in broad daylight!

One got away, the other was subject to summary justice (squashed in a piece of kitchen roll).

My gardeners' bible states simply that I should squash them. While I'm more than happy to do this (maniacal grin), I wonder if anyone knows of any means of deterring them?

Perhaps a sign saying that several beetles have already been subject to violent assault in the vicinity to serve as a warning to others? (Couldn't resist that one!)

Any ideas gratefully received.

Ian

#2 HeadGardener

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 10:05 AM

We have lots of lily beetles in the garden because the first time they appeared - in my neighbour's garden - he didn't know what they were and left them alone because he thought they were so beautiful! :rolleyes:

I wish I knew some way of deterring them - I've wondered about leaving their corpses on top of the pots, in the way that gamekeepers pin dead crows to fences. I do know that the only chemical that works against them is Provado but I'm not keen on spraying and picking them off the plants and squishing them underfoot seems just as effective. I wonder whether something strong-smelling, such as pepper, would work? I assume the beetles home in on the lilies by smell, so maybe another strong whiff would confuse them?

Just off to experiment with some curry powder sprinkled on top of the pots ....

#3 wmp

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 11:30 AM

I've used pepper dust to try & keep the squirrels off my precious plants, but don't know if it'd work against lily beetle...

Must admit I used the squash & leave the corpses method :)

#4 RachelF

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 02:57 PM

This is what Alan Titmarsh has to say on the matter:

Although chemicals are thought of as being the easiest and quickest way to get rid of pests, it is often simpler and more effective to pick off the offenders when you see them. Such an example is the lily beetle. These shiny red beetles can decimate lilies but need to be directly hit by the chemicals for it to penetrate the shells. It is much quicker to just pick them off by hand and squash them. The larvae, which do the real damage, can be squirted off with a jet of water, which also washes away the messy frass they excrete. It is best to check your plants regularly, particularly the undersides of leaves where pests tend to congregate and hide before the infestation reaches such proportions that they start colonising the upper surfaces too.
Rachel
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#5 jackrussellstanley

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 06:04 PM

lilly beetles come out in fine, sunny weather so check your pots regularly when the weather is nice. They can also appear on other members of the lilly family such as fritillaries where, for me, they've done far more damage as my fritillaries died but the lillies struggle on. I don't normally advocate that children are cruel to animals but i trained my son from the age of 3 to seek and destroy lily beetles (and vine weevils) which seems to work quite well. Apparanl;ty it also helps if you clear away dead leaves and stuff off the tops of pots in the autumn as the little beasts can overwinter under them. Good Luck!

#6 belli

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 06:35 PM

Thanks for all the advice. Have squished 4 more today, althoughn they managed a good feed beforehand.

#7 HeadGardener

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 06:20 PM

I'm squishing a few every day now. Part of the problem, I think, is that they have non-stop orgies and seem always to be in the process of reproduction. How many offspring two lily beetles have in a year I dread to think. :(