Oh no, lily beetles are back!

BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,363

Hi all,

I finally managed to get 8 rows of potatoes planted this evening (it has been too wet in the East Midlands to do heavy work on my clay soil for the last month), so decided to have a look at how my lilies (in pots) were doing before the light faded completely.

Almost every pot had a pair of red lily beetles mating at the top of the highest lilly shoot!  It looks like it's time for all the lily-lovers here to start inspecting them for these damaging pests.  I'm tempted to spray with a systemic pesticide but will hold-off for now and see if I can control them by hand.  Hateful little things! 

A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.


  • LilylouiseLilylouise Posts: 1,014

    I found my first Lily beetle in February !!!image

    Pam x

  • diggingdorisdiggingdoris Posts: 486

    I've got 6 pots full of lilies and have not found one bug yet. I think they are keeping hidden out of the rain! But the spray is at hand!

  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    I found about a dozen beetles on my lilies at the weekend. I got rid of them all very safely by crushing them. There were also a similar number of ladybirds in the same lilies, as you can see on these shots:



     If you spray with the intention of getting rid of lily beetles, you will inevitably destroy beneficial insects too.

    Provado, which is commoly used to control lily beetle, is one of the sprays that contains a controversial insecticide, Neonicotinoid, which, some claim, is dangerous to bees. See, for example: Bee Killers (Soil Association)

    I have a lot of lilies, and always mangage to control the beetle by checking the plants regularly, and removing the beetles by hand. Fortunately the beetles are bright red, so they are easy to spot, and they don't seem to make any attempt to fly off, so are easy to catch. Then it's just a matter of......


  • The lily beetles also like crown imperials(fritillaria). I am reluctant to use insecticides. I made a mixture of olive oil ( 150 ml ) washing up liquid ( 300 ml ) plus about 500ml of water. Shake the mixture and spray the beetles. I tried this yesterday and it certainly zapped the beetles.

  • Hello pest controllers,

    Adam's blog on lily beetles gives a few ideas for dealing with them. Constant vigilance seems to be the best option!


    gardenersworld.com team

  • Had a brainwave today. Had some left over HEDRIN (eradicates and suffocates head lice) and squirted it on individual beetles. BINGO! They rolled over and suffocated. So if this is kind to kids heads it is gentle on lily leaves.  Also, NO organo-phosphates.    Hopefully I'll have some beautiful lilies this year. I can't afford too much Hedrin so when I run out I'm going to try Olive Oil with a syringe on them.

  • KEFKEF Posts: 8,915

    Soz no Charlie.. other than squashing the sods. I have one big pot with only bulblets in, no sign of lilies..bulbs were new last year and growth got attacked and lilies feeble. Rest of pots ok. I'm retired now so my life mission is to kill as many as I can.

    I've grown lilies in pots for 11 yrs and last year was the first time I'd ever seen a beetle.

    I don't know what you mean by eggs..all I've found is their dung under leaves, which they lay eggs in, I'm told...Please tell me what to look for re: eggs.

  • granmagranma Posts: 1,584

    I didnt know about the lily beatle's eggs so will start to check under the leaves ,  at least using the oil will get a good shine , wonder if it will make the leaves slippery for the beatles . At the moment all the lily beatles I catch that would eat my lillies go into my carniverous plants . 

    Lily beatles eat my plants , I pick them off by hand , I feed to my Carniverous plants on the windowsill.  Feed  to a Carniverous plant and stand back and listen to the scream !

    They eat my plants - my plants eat them ! 

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,363

    KEF, lily beetle eggs are also bright red and very small (less than 1mm), usually layed in clusters.  You need to check beneath every leaf, especially the lowest ones.  Once they hatch they start eating the leaves and cover themselves with their own dung to hide themselves.  They are an invader from overseas and have no natural predators in the UK.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Last year when they first appeared I thought they were beautiful,  I had never seen or heard of them before.  They also made sweet squeaking noises.  I left them.  Wrong!  They destroyed my lily plants.  Little buggers. This year I am on patrol and 3 days ago found 3.  Got my HEDRIN squirted them and they have gone.  So far no more sightings but I must look 5/6 times a day.

  • I've found a few on my lilies,not as many as last year,but they have now left this world.

  • bezzbezz Posts: 1

    found 2 lily beetles on my pots today picked em off squashed them,they will do no more harm I will have to be vigilent from now on checking every day .


  • LavandeLavande Posts: 153

    Just spotted one this morning - went to get gloves on before I could squish it and it had gone by the time I went back.image

  • ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

    Spotted 1 on my Hyacinth leaves yesterday, it was duly chopped in half, on the other hand I have seen a few ladybirds already this year image 

  • I check mine over every couple of days and then send them to the heavens with the bottom of my shoes...

    They are clever though, when they sense danger, they drop to the floor landing on their backs so they are hard to sport.  They also release a pheromone that warns others too!

  • Found my first lily beetle today lily beetle 0 me looking again later lol.
  • ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

    Found another today on my Asiatic Lilies.

    It too got squished!

  • My last post should have read lily beetles 0 me 1 been looking for more of the blighters
  • My lilies aren't even showing yet but the tulips,crocus and dafs are just starting.


  • My lilies are about 4 inches tall so I must start giving them a look every day. Would the birds eat the ones I squash? I believe in re-cycling!

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