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red lily beetle - did I make a mistake?

Posted by garden_for_life 5b/6 (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 30, 09 at 13:25

I have some tall Asiatic lilies and some shorter pixie ones right next to them. They got infested quickly with the red lily beetles and got very ratty looking with lots of their black poop on the stem. I cut them down to the ground and sprayed what was left with an insecticide like Seven. Did I make an error by cutting them down too early? Will that hurt them later? They were done blooming. They have not affected my lilies in the back garden but I keep checking! It was the same situation last year, only in the front.

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RE: red lily beetle - did I make a mistake?

It is my understanding that lilies use their foliage to restore the bulb for next year's growth, but you might be O.K.because they are really very hardy. What I do know is that there are no treatments (chemical or otherwise) for red lily beetle because they are foreign to our areas and have no predators here. The way to get rid of them is to catch the little buggers and squish them - my favourite way is against a rock. If you are squeamish, you can knock them off the leaves into a bowl of soapy water and that will do them in too. The 'black poop' to which you referred is their eggs, and if you examine it closely you will see little red larvae in it. That should be removed. I do it with my hands by running my hands upwards over the stalk. If you are squeamish about this, try doing it with a light cotton glove. To control these beetles, you must examine your lily plants daily and hunt them down. Another thing that works for me (picked it up at a flower show) is to spray the emerging plants when they are just poking through the soil, and surrounding earth (that's where they overwinter) with a 10% solution of household ammonia in the early spring. The ammonia will not hurt the plants. That has helped me control them and I have never had to cut any of my plants down. Good luck!!

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