Red Lily Beetles

casey1gwApril 18, 2013

Yesterday I found my first red lily beetle. It crawled out of the mulch. Last year was the first time I had them. I was hoping the cold winter would keep them down.

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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Always depressing to hear that the cursed beetle is out already, casey1. I added your sighting to the FAQ: How do I keep the red lily leaf beetle from destroying my lilies?

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Apr 18, 13 at 17:37

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 5:35PM
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cheleinri(z6 RI)

I've killed a dozen or more already. This year I'm staying on top of it..we'll see how it goes. Lilies are only up 4 inches and they have holes.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 6:15PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I saw some on lily foliage today, chewing away. Have to get after them tomorrow. Grrrr!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 6:28PM
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diggerdee

Saw my first ones yesterday. Grrr......

Dee

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 8:56PM
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spedigrees z4VT

No beetles here, but no lilies either. RIP I hope they don't move on to other species once they have devoured all the lilies in New England.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 12:27AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

FAQ updated. Three things to remember:

1. If your lilies are sprouting then this is the time to look for the beetles. They emerge from the soil at the same time as their 'food' does.

2. You CAN successfully defeat them if you act now. See the FAQ for methods, either chemical or manual.

3. The parasitic wasps have controlled the beetles in other areas and are beginning to control them in New England. For the last few years I've done minimal spraying even though I originally lost a number of lilies.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 9:47AM
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spedigrees z4VT

I think I will buy new tiger lilies when, and if, the parasitic wasps defeat or control the red beetles. I'll wait to see. I don't have the energy for hand-to-bug combat against this pest or the Japanese beetles. I prefer to replace their favorite food sources with less desirable options (as Jane did awhile back with her house sparrows).

(I hope the insecticide I use to kill wasp and hornet nests around the house and barn does not harm the parasitic wasps that feed on the red lily beetles.)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 2:01PM
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cheleinri(z6 RI)

I'm waiting for those wasps here in RI- they should be here soon if they are coming..ha. It's less than 30 min. to URI from here. Have there been any official reports of them becoming established? I'm worried about the effects of chemical controls on the honeybees but if someone tells me one that definitely won't hurt them I will go for it.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 4:15PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Oh no! I'm away for the week and return late tonight. I'll definitely check for them on early Saturday. Darn! They really attacked my plants last year.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 4:27PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

From the URI Lily Leaf Beetle site:

"Recent efforts to control the lily leaf beetle have concentrated on biological control. The lily leaf beetle is under good biological control in France and Switzerland, where at least four species of parasitoids attack it. We have released one species of European parasitoid in Boston, MA and Cumberland, RI, and we are conducting basic experiments on parasite biology and host specificity with the other parasitic insects in our quarantine laboratory on campus--perhaps eventually leading to additional releases in the USA."

I know that the folks at URI collect some of the fecal covered larvae in order to determine if the wasps have been effective in different parts of NE.

Steve

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 8:52PM
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diggerdee

Maybe I should offer my yard as an experimental station for them?

;)
Dee

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 11:42PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

The URI Lily Leaf Beetle site that Steve cites is a little confusing to me, because I remember earlier reports of release of wasps in many other sites, including on Cape Cod.

I did some searching and found a few links, in particular this one, check the presentation on establishment of parasitoids in New England by Lisa A. Tewksbury and Richard A. Casagrande of URI Dept. of Plant Sciences.

They apparently released three different species of wasps in a number of sites in New England, including Cotuit, Falmouth, and Middleboro, MA and Kingston, RI, and also in ME and NH. Parasitized Lily leaf beetles were monitored up to 2006.

They say that "Tetrastichus setifer is successfully established in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine."

Maybe these results weren't published, or there was no follow up, but it seems to me that parasitic wasps were released in many more areas then just Boston, MA and Cumberland, RI and those wasps could well be thriving.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 10:30AM
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molie(z6 CT)

Home now and I checked my garden. My lilies are just emerging. I didn't see any red lily beetles. Thanks, Dee, for offering your (CT) garden as an experimental station because these parasitoids have not yet been released in our state!

I wonder how to tell if these wasps have colonized in an area? I googled "Tetrastichus setifer identification" and discovered that they are so tiny (link below) that identification would seem to be very difficult. I also wonder--- would the use of chemical sprays that so many people use also destroy these wasps? Seems like this is a catch-22 situation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Impatient for the Paristoids

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 6:03PM
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casey1gw

Has anyone who's near the released wasps noticed less lily beetles? They're obviously traveling south. I'm in CT and first noticed them last year. Since I'm close to NY, they'll be there soon. It may take a long time before they come south.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 6:46PM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

I spotted one last night in my lillies in Ansonia. I finally remembered to look and sprayed it with some insecticide that I got from Home Depot. I need to remind my neighbor because he had them last year too.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 8:20AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

casey1: I'm in Plymouth, MA, just over the bridge from Cape Cod where there were wasps released in Cotuit and Falmouth (Cotuit is a little closer).

I've had much fewer beetles in the last year or two. I saw a few last year and spot-killed them; I didn't spray or drench any of the lilies.

It's too early to tell yet this year but the tiger lilies are just beginning to emerge.

I'm in a rural area with few gardeners close by and I can't rule out the possibility that there are just fewer lilies in the neighborhood to support beetle growth. I know that the closest lilies (two houses down the road) got wiped out a few years ago.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 10:47AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

This tiger lily (lilium lancifolium) seeded itself in the middle of some scillas. There's no sign of beetle damage on it and I haven't seen any beetles. I haven't sprayed anything.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sat, Apr 27, 13 at 11:57

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 11:56AM
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casey1gw

I killed 10 RL beetles today and it's still April.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 1:51PM
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girlcat36(6 ish)

While it's pretty depressing to hear that the beetles are out already, I'm glad to hear that they have been released in nearby Cotuit!
I decided to start growing them again last year; thinking I would confine them to a small area of the garden, and hoping to be more vigilant.

Teresa

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 8:35PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Haven't seen any Lily Leaf Beetles this year. But then, I only have one small Lillium plant left in the garden! I dug them ALL up several years ago, having become sick of dealing with the beetles.

My gardens are strictly organic, I encourage a landscape with a healthy insect population because that is what feeds the birds. I would not use a pesticide to kill the beetles and they were just too much trouble to hand pick or use Neem or whatever.

But then 2 years ago at Idabean's swap, Ontheteam brought some beautiful pastel pink Lilies (and I am a sucker for pink) and so I decided to try growing them again. Perhaps the Beetle population would be less? Well all but one of Ontheteam's Lilies were eaten by the voles during winter 2012! So I have one brave small shoot emerging.

So, I've really had little luck with Lilies. But happily, no lily leaf beetles either.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 9:30PM
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icebelle(5A)

Good old cooking oil can kill the beetles if you use a spoon or a dropper to completely cover them so they suffocate. I'm sure mineral oil would work too. Don't spray the plant with cooking oil spray.

When the larvae get on the stem, I just spray them off with the hose every day. These methods work if you only have a few plants. I'll certainly never have more than a few now that I know about the beetles.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 7:56PM
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siennact

I saw the first ones today. 3 of em. Until now, my lilies were looking perfect to the point that I literally did not recognize them.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 8:22PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I added a new lily last year, Orania, and the leaves form a little differently then my others. They seem to overlap from the base of the main stem all the way up to the top. I have not been looking too hard at that one because it has looked okay with just a few holes. I'm wondering if they can be hiding in the overlapping leaves? The only one in that area I've seen was about 12 inches away from the plant.

Thanks for that tip about the oil. It's good to have another way of doing it that is organic. I haven't reread this whole thread, but I've probably already posted my 'organic' method of collecting and eliminating them, but I'll repeat. I was having trouble catching them because they do anticipate you and drop to the ground upside down so you can't see them, because their underside is brown like the dirt. So I use a 5 gallon bucket and add 6 inches of water to the bottom, hold it under the RLLB and just knock them into the water. Then I pour them out on the driveway and crush them. This way has been very efficient.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 3:08AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Found 3 yesterday, the first I've ever seen here. They succumbed under my thumb. They were on one lily only, the other plants were clean, no holes in the leaves. We'll see.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 7:45AM
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cheleinri(z6 RI)

I had said earlier in the thread on April 19 that I had been killing a large number of beetles (a dozen within a couple of days?) on one of the first emerging lilies. Now a few days can go by without my seeing even one. So, picking seems to be working so far (unless those wasps are around and that's what's helping) and I'm feeling pretty optimistic. The only lily foliage that looks holy is that first one to emerge and even that one isn't too bad.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 7:57AM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Arghhh! Saw my first RLB on my lilies today--- May 29--- here in West Haven. Spotted it crawling under a leaf. Just because I saw a solitary varmit, I can't believe that he/she is traveling alone.
Molie

This post was edited by mjc_molie on Wed, May 29, 13 at 19:34

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 7:23PM
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casey1gw

I was just thinking that I was seeing so few beetles lately. I only killed 3 in weeks. I think the wasp may be around here too.

Molie when you use the Bayer spray, it kills the beneficial insects too.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 8:25PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I just caught another 3 yesterday. I look for them every day. Interestingly, I've seen more of them on the native lilies than on a new hybrid I added last year, 'Orania'. hardly any have been on that for some odd reason.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 5:25AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

I only get them on Asiatic Lilies. The Orientals I have, which are 6 feet away, are not touched by RLLB. Yesterday I found two adults and lots of the larvae. It's a messy job but it's gotta be done. Last year they ate the Asiatics to the ground.

Steve

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 8:05AM
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molie(z6 CT)

Thanks, Casey. I wish there were a way to identify the beneficial wasps that kill the larvae. Does anyone know about them?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:07AM
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diggerdee

PM2, my Oranias are fairly untouched by them as well. Which is good, because this is the favorite lily of mine in my garden. I don't know why they don't seem to bother this one as much, but I won't ask!

Dee

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 1:54PM
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jamm1991

My poor lilies have been just about destroyed. I must get rid of the bugs somehow before they attack any of my other flowers. Troy, NY

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 2:15PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

jamm1991: See the FAQ How do I keep the red lily leaf beetle from destroying my lilies?

Also see the Umass Extension Landscape Message May 30, 2014

"Lily Leaf Beetle adults remain active. The adult beetles continue to feed on the foliage of Asiatic lily. This pest can be found occasionally feeding on other hosts but Asiatic Lilies are the primary host. This beetle will cause ragged holes to appear in the foliage but this damage is often much less than the potential damage caused by the larvae, which will not begin to appear for about 2 more weeks. Monitor for the bright red beetles on host plant foliage. Mating pairs of this beetle continue to be observed. In small plantings, the beetles can be hand-picked and destroyed. When occurring in numbers that warrant controls, a contact chemical insecticide such as one of the pyrethhroid compounds may be necessary. Larvae, when they appear, are easily treated with a product that contains Spinosad. Adult female beetles lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves in jagged lines that are about one inch long. When monitoring for eggs, stand next to a plant and gently fan the foliage upwards to visually inspect the leaf undersides. Make note of small, irregular lines of tan eggs that will be quite apparent on the fresh new lush green foliage. In small planting, leaves with eggs can be physically removed and destroyed. In larger plantings, continue to monitor. The eggs will turn orange and then a deep shiny red just prior to hatching. Treat new larvae with a product that contains Spinosad."

Claire

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 2:31PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Oh, I didnâÂÂt see the rest of these posts from last year. I donâÂÂt grow Asiatics like Steve does. And Dee that is encouraging that you have had similar experience with âÂÂOraniaâÂÂ. Mine have a few small holes in the leaves right now which are in the front of the house, but the âÂÂCasa Blancaâ in the back seem to have been a favorite. And yes, âÂÂOraniaâ is a great lily. Fragrant, tall and very pretty, vigorous too.

Still not seeing any adults in over a week, but I have seen the dirty looking larvae which I am going to be focused on this week. and thanks Claire for posting the info about eggs. I am going to do a thorough inspection this weekend. A pair of gardening gloves and a few well placed swipes should keep things on track.

Fritillaria bulbs are the one I have avoided which are an alternate host for these bugs.

I deliberately have kept my collection of Lilies small due to these bugs. I would get rid of my lilies all together rather than use an insecticide on them. ItâÂÂs too bad, I love lilies and would grow a lot more otherwise.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 3:21PM
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shelly2919

Plenty of the Red Lily Beetles here in Athol, MA. Last year they got the best of me (and all of my Asiatic lilies). I was prepared for the arrival this year and have had wonderful results using Captain Jack's Deadbug spray once a week.

p.s. I'm new here so hello everyone!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 7:24PM
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