Red Lily Beetles are here!

molie(z6 CT)June 3, 2012

I'm really ticked off! Today is the first nice day to be in the garden and what do I find as I just worked my way around the side garden toward my clumps of lilies? Red Lily Beetles absolutely covering my plant plus larvae, or some such thing, underneath the leaves (which have holes in them). This is the first time I've seen them here in 10 years! West Haven, CT, Zone 6b, can be added to Claire's list.

So --- do I cut all the plants down and dig up the bulbs? Then burn them?

Spray? (I can't believe I'm saying that!) Pretty difficult when rain is in the forecast for this afternoon, and the beginning of next week, but I'm desperate.

I read Claire's complete post when I searched this forum. The ones on my plants are definitely beyond the hand-picking stage --- too many. I don't expect my plants to survive and am more worried about the spread of these beetles.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
capecodder(z6 MA)

I haven't seen any here this year, for the first time in years. I don't spray my plants except for these darn beetles.
The Bayer 3 in 1 spray works very well, saturating the soil around the plants. But you can't do this (or you're wasting it, at least) when the grounds is saturating or rain is momentarily expected.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 2:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
javaandjazz(z6 CT)

What few plants I had that were infected, I sprayed, and baboom, they were gone! I even put stuff into the dirt that hopefully will kill anything else.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 5:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I wouldn't go so far as to dig up the plants and burn them! I've used an ammonia drench, but honestly can't tell if it helps much or not. Maybe since it is so late, the ammonia would work if you sprayed it on? If there are really too many to hand-pick, I'm not sure what advice to give. I have heard about the Bayer spray but haven't tried it.

I had quite a bit of damage last year, but while the foliage looked awful I still got decent bloom, even though a few blooms had holes in them. This year there don't seem to be quite as many beetles, (or maybe I just got on top of things earlier?) and I'm hoping that parasitic wasp they released a few years back is making it's way down here (although you, Molie, in West Haven, are between the release point - Mass?? RI?? - and me here in Shelton. Seems you would see results before me. Although it seems the beetles skipped your town and came to mine first a few years back, lol!)

Anyway, started to say that I still had decent blooms last year, this year I think I will get more decent, if not perfect blooms, and I'm willing to sit tight for a few more years to see if the wasp works or if they come up with something else. I'm not ready to give up on my lilies completely yet!


    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 7:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you read Claire's post you know the stuff on the underside of the leaves isn't larvae. After they eat the leaves they use the underside as a Toilet!

Agway has stopped carrying bayers 3 in 1. Home Depot hasn't got it nor have several independent nurseries.

Has anyone found it for sale this year, locally?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 9:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

The disgusting brown stuff on the underside of the leaves and on the stems and wherever is larvae, but larvae covered in excrement.

Amazon carries many Bayer products - I just ordered some granules for soil application to treat my pieris for lacebug. I didn't want to spray that area because of adjacent flowers and bees.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 7:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
molie(z6 CT)

Ha, Idabean! You're right! I did NOT read Claire's section on "Description" because I was sure what they were.

At the same time, I can honestly say that I did NOT touch any of those curious little "packages" because there were so many. The three lily bulbs that I planted when we first moved in have developed into a huge clump. So, I have what must be the lavatories at Grand Central Terminal for Red Lily Beetles passing through West Haven?

Dee, thank you for your suggestion not to panic --- that I may be able to save the plants. I'll look for Bayer 3 in 1 Spray at places around us. We usually go to Agway for our bird seed, though a phone call first would make more sense if this product is not easy to find. When I checked the UConn Integrated Pest Management Site, I found this:

"Overwintering adult beetles emerge from the soil in early spring. Females lay up to 250 eggs (over two growing seasons) on the underside of lily leaves. Larvae, which feed for approximately two weeks before entering the soil to pupate, cause most of the damage to plants. Adults emerge from pupae in 3�4 weeks and feed on plants until fall. Adults overwinter in soil and plant debris. Insect growth regulators may be effective in killing the early instar larvae. However, applications must be performed before the larvae start covering themselves with their excrement."

It is the last sentence that worries me. I just was too lax and too late in checking my plants this year, foolishly overconfident thinking that I didn't have to worry here in West Haven.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenbear1(6 Ma.)

I'm just starting to see the red beetles on my lilies, I don't like spraying my plants because of the few bees I have around. I found using 2 parts vinger and 1 part water helps to get rid of them

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 12:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Gardenbear, the vinegar doesn't hurt the plants? I'm just curious because vinegar is recommended as a weedkiller, so I would be hesitant to try it on my lilies! I was even a little worried about the ammonia, but there seemed to be no harm from that. Have you been using the vinegar spray for long?


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 3:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
capecodder(z6 MA)

Lowes carries the Bayer's 3 in 1 (for roses)

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 8:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

I have a very small infestation. But the larvae have only been found on the few Asiatic Lilly's that I have. They have left the Orientals and Orienpets alone.

URI has done most of the research on RLLB. Here is what they say to do for control.


If you only have a few plants in your garden, hand-picking adults and eggs can be effective (we prefer not to handle larvae, although there is no danger in doing so). The insecticides carbaryl (Sevin) and malathion are effective on adults and larvae. However, carbaryl is highly toxic to bees and malathion is also toxic to many non-target insects. To date, our material of choice for treating flowers is neem, an insecticide based upon extracts from the neem tree. Neem can be purchased at garden centers under the trade names Turplcx, Azatin EC, Margosan-0, Align and BioNeem. Neem kills larvae and repels adults. Neem is most effective on first instar larvae; it must be applied every five to seven days after egg hatch. The insecticide imidacloprid also provides effective control. It is available in several formulations from Bayer including foliar sprays, soil drenches, and fertilizer stakes."

I'm sure the Bayer 3 in 1 contains imidacloprid. Just be careful with it as it is toxic to bees.

BTW, I've posted this before, but I collected a few of the larger fecal covered nasties to send to the University of Rhode Island. They disect these guys to find out if the parasitic insects released have infected the larvae. You can help their research by doing the same. The link describing how to do this is below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Lily Leaf Beetle Larvae Collections

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Steve - you asked me on the other RLLB thread why I used GrubX on my lillies. The active ingredient in GrubX is imidacloprid. I specifically look for imidacloprid as the active ingredient before I buy the stuff since imidacloprid does not harm earthworms and other beneficial insects. Now Shen I read your URI comments I see they recommend imidacloprid. So I guess I was doing something right.

I can't bring myself to scrape off any fecal matter and send it to URI. Fortuneatly I don't have a lot of it this year.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was at the garden center today and got in a conversation with one of the employees about the lily beetles. She showed me a fact sheet about them which included the usual treatments - imidacloprid, neem and spinosad. She then told me the spinosad was approved for organic gardening, which I was happy to hear, and recommended I try that instead of the imidacloprid, which of course as mentioned is toxic to bees.

So I bought a bottle of it (can't remember the brand name off the top of my head - Captain Jack's something or other) and will give it a try. The ammonia seemed to work earlier in the season, but I'm getting a second wave now and really don't like hand-picking bugs. I'll see how it does and report back.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The last couple of years I wasn't able to get ahead of these nasty bugs. This year I put down in mid May the systemic Bayer 12 month feed and protect granules and watered it in around both my Japanese Maples and the lily plants. Further I've been spraying them with a mixture of neem oil extract whenever we get a break in all the rain. So far, so good.

The first year I was out there with gloves pulling off the poop. Really gross. Hopefully my upfront diligence will pay off this year.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 6:08AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Seeds & Plants on Sale, Locally? Online Catalog Sales?
Finally starting to feel like the growing season is...
prairiemoon2 z6 MA
How do I add a zone to my user name?
I've been trying to edit my profile in "Your Houzz"...
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
Bristol County Conservation District 2014 Plant Sale
Now is the time the Massachusetts County Conservation...
2015 Seeds & Plants on Sale, Locally? Online Catalog Sales?
I am starting a new sale thread for 2015 so it will...
NHBabs z4b-5a NH
How to contact the new GardenWeb
On the right side of the main New England Gardening...
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™