The Q&A Archives: Oriental Lillies

Question: I have grown wonderful, tall lillies for years. This is the first time something has eaten the blooms right before they open. What is eating my blooms?

Answer: If you have a deer population in the vicinity, that might be what has happened, especially if the flower buds disappear overnight. If there are no deer around, or if the flower buds actually look eaten, I suspect a visit by the notorious lily beetle. These pests are bright red - you can't miss them - with black heads, legs and undersides, and will eat the leaves and the flowers of your prize lilies if you don't take action immediately. The larvae are reddish blown with black heads, and covered in black excrement and can sometimes be mistaken for bird droppings. Hand pick these pests, or you can apply an insecticide such as organic Neem Oil, or Bayer Rose and Flower Spray for control of the pests.

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