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Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

Posted by paigect z6a CT (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 8, 07 at 17:57

I thought I avoided the little monster plague by not having any lilies in my garden. I bought a bunch of species nicotiana alata for the scent on my patio and today I find them positively swarming with these things. I don't want to use poison so I guess I am left to hand picking, but I admit I am squeamish about that. I have no trouble handpicking the japanese beetles, but these look so red and, well, scary!

So someone tell me to get over it, plese. :-) The only alternative is to rid the garden of nicotiana as well. I will certainly not be buying it next year, and if I ever had doubts about my lily-less garden they are assuaged!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

I have to admit that I thought this was a case of mistaken identity, that it was another type of beetle, so I googled it, and found:

Lily leaf beetles will taste or feed lightly on many plants including Lilium spp., Fritillaria spp., Polygonatum spp. (Solomon's seal), Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade), S. tuberosum (potato), Smilax spp., Nicotiana spp. and other plants. However, they will only lay eggs and develop on Liliuim species (Turk's cap lilies, tiger lilies, Easter lilies, Asiatic and Oriental lilies), and species of Fritillaria.

I THINK that means you won't have to deal with the revolting LLB larva's nasty habit of carrying its excrement on its back, but I'm not sure. In any case, the larvae cause much more damage than the adults, according to the source quoted above, at URI, and you probably won't have any larvae.


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

Insecticidal Soap... Its not a poison and it works surprisingly well...


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

DTD, thanks for the info. I suspected it was the dreaded llb because of the red body, but I wasn't sure so before I posted I googled "beetle" and "nicotiana" and came up with about the same thing you did.

That's weird that they don't lay eggs on anything else. I don't know about that "tasting" thing, either. I only have about 5 nicotiana plants and on each one there must have been 4-8 beetles that I could see without even trying. They were having a good ol' time together, too. I wonder where they are coming from. I don't think my immediate neighbors on either side have lilies either. I had to run out right after posting - - I hope I still have plants left to save tomorrow morning.

Mikey, thanks for the tip. I will try to look into it. I was supposed to be spending the whole weekend cleaning and preparing for a baby shower I'm hosting next weekend, not formulating a LLB campaign. Darn pests.


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

I'm mortified!!!! The lilly leaf beetle does lay eggs on nicotiana (n. alata), as I just found about 8 leaves being dessimated by the fecal covered larva! I thought nicotine was a natural repellent resisted only by the tobacco hornworm (which I will allow for the beautiful sphinx moth), but these little buggrs don't seem bothered by it. I've had problems with them on my lillies, and only grow a few so I can keep up with the handpicking method of larva control, but this is the first time I've ever had them on my nicotiana! I want to cry...I can't be without my nicotiana! Has anyone else had this problem? Any organic solutions?


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

I'm mortified!!!! The lilly leaf beetle does lay eggs on nicotiana (n. alata), as I just found about 8 leaves being dessimated by the fecal covered larva! I thought nicotine was a natural repellent resisted only by the tobacco hornworm (which I will allow for the beautiful sphinx moth), but these little buggrs don't seem bothered by it. I've had problems with them on my lillies, and only grow a few so I can keep up with the handpicking method of larva control, but this is the first time I've ever had them on my nicotiana! I want to cry...I can't be without my nicotiana! Has anyone else had this problem? Any organic solutions?


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

I'm mortified!!!! The lilly leaf beetle does lay eggs on nicotiana (n. alata), as I just found about 8 leaves being dessimated by the fecal covered larva! I thought nicotine was a natural repellent resisted only by the tobacco hornworm (which I will allow for the beautiful sphinx moth), but these little buggrs don't seem bothered by it. I've had problems with them on my lillies, and only grow a few so I can keep up with the handpicking method of larva control, but this is the first time I've ever had them on my nicotiana! I want to cry...I can't be without my nicotiana! Has anyone else had this problem? Any organic solutions?


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

Wow, interesting. I just read about planned a study on this, at Carleton University. They say the plants these beetles feed on all have similar repellants (glycoalkaloids) that the LLBs have evolved to withstand.

The study is designed to see if the parasitic wasps that are controlling the LLBs on lilies are confused by the switch in host plants. That would enable the LLBs to 'hide' from the wasps by feeding on nicotianas and nightshades.

At the time the abstract was written, the study was planned for this summer. They list 2 plants other than lilies that LLBs have laid eggs on - in the lab - but nicotiana isn't one of them.

The study is in the 'news' section of the LLB tracker site (liked below) ; there are some bio control suggestions on the site too.

Here is a link that might be useful: lily beetle tracker


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

Thanks for that website, DtD.

I've had potato beetle larvae on my Nicotiana, though not recently, but never RLB. One more thing to keep an eye out for.


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

I don't grow Lilies any more, and haven't had any Nicotiana for a few years. I would love to be able to grow some of those beauties, but can't deal with the beetle.

I do a lot of insect patrol on other plants though, especially milkweeds. You can use a container of soapy water and knock the beetles, earwigs, etc into the container and they will drown. You don't have to touch them that way!

I used to be squeamish but I've gotten so sick of certain bugs that I will squish them with bare hands now, whenever I see them.


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

I have managed to keep a few lilies. I would grow a ton more if it weren't for the RLLB. I hand pick them off every year. I haven't had to do that much this year and the foliage on my Orania is looking really good. I take a large 5 gallon bucket with a few inches of water in the bottom and hold that under the leaf they are sitting on and just flick them in. They do like to drop and turn over on their back so all that is showing is a brown underside and I can't see them at all when they do that. The large bucket with a handle makes the whole process a whole lot easier and more successful. I pour the water with the beetles onto the driveway and step on them.

I had Nicotiana 'Lime' for two years running because it reseeded for me, but had none this year. They were growing right next to the Lilies but I didn't notice the beetles on them.


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

Thanks for the responses! I wasn't sure if anyone would see this as the last post on this blog was years ago! I did see an article re the parasitic wasps, but it was telling how successful the release was and how numbers of LLB's were significantly reduced in areas where wasps were relesed (and how parsitizes larva were introduced to increse wasp populations)...Now the wasps won't be able to find the larva because they are hiding in my nicotianna! Does anyone know if wasp parasites are available to the consumer? I've raised praying mantids and purchased lady bugs in the past, and have sen fly paraites for farm use , I wonder if I can buy some wasps!


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

Thanks for the responses! I wasn't sure if anyone would see this as the last post on this blog was years ago! I did see an article re the parasitic wasps, but it was telling how successful the release was and how numbers of LLB's were significantly reduced in areas where wasps were relesed (and how parsitizes larva were introduced to increse wasp populations)...Now the wasps won't be able to find the larva because they are hiding in my nicotianna! Does anyone know if wasp parasites are available to the consumer? I've raised praying mantids and purchased lady bugs in the past, and have sen fly paraites for farm use , I wonder if I can buy some wasps!


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

@digginginthedirt: I posted my problem on the LLB traking site. Mabe they will choose my area for release of the wasps as it seems to be the only area with this mutant strain of larva that eats nicotiana! Thanks for the info!


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

I'm trying to post photos and it keeps rejecting me saying the file is too big...I'm trying to post 1 photo...can you post photos to this site?


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

Yes you can, but a really high resolution photo may be too large. You can try reducing its size by cropping it or by reducing the resolution using software, or you can upload it to a photo hosting site like Photobucket or Picasaweb and then post it by pasting the link for embedding that the hosting site gives you into your post or reply here.

This post was edited by nhbabs on Wed, Jul 10, 13 at 8:21


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

I finally gave up after 3 years of battling these nasty little buggers and started pulling up the Asiatic lillies. They destroyed my fritillaries before I had time to react. I came back from vacation 3 years ago and the frittilaries and the Stargazers were stripped clean. Since then I've been spraying but this year with all the rain it's been pointless.

Tim


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RE: Lily leaf beetles eating nicotiana

I actually got an email from someone at the lily leaf beetle tracker site. She asked if I've seen any other beetles that look like the colorado potato beetle and I have had a few of those...As it turns out, these beetle larva are just like the lily leaf beetle larva (carrying their excrement on their backs) Mystery solved...Thanks diggininthedirt for the link!


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