A Tutorial on Growing Lilies: small red insects ... lily leaf beetle...can destroy your lilies

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A Tutorial on Growing Lilies

By magnolialover
July 19, 2013

You have decided you need liliums in your garden. It has happened to many of us! Lily growing is not difficult and is very rewarding.

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Name: Tom
Lynnfield, Ma
Jul 20, 2013 4:06 AM CST
Each year we have to keep a close eye on our lilies for a small red insect, the lily leaf beetle. They will eat holes in the leaves and, left uncontrolled, will eat the entire plant. At the first sign of them, we must use a systemic insecticide and repeat after 2 weeks. Other than that, we have dozens of lilies that multiply with little or no care. They make the most dramatic effects in our gardens with hundreds of blooms.Thumb of 2013-07-20/tomtomtomtom/e103f2
Thumb of 2013-07-20/tomtomtomtom/959836
[Last edited by tomtomtomtom - Jul 20, 2013 4:10 AM (+)]
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Name: Steve
Millbury, MA (Zone 5b)
Jul 20, 2013 5:57 AM CST
Sorry TomTom that's bad advice. It is not the large red adult you pictured which eats your lilies to the ground. It is their fecal covered larvae which does that instead. Here's how to control them.

In the Spring inspect your plants daily. When the RLL beetle arrives catch and kill as many as you can. They tend to drop to he ground and fall on their backs to be less visible, so be ready for this trick with a cup of soapy water. Then inspect the underside of the leaves and remove any orange colored eggs or brown colored larvae. You may want to use gloves for this part. It's the larvae that are eating the leaves so look on the damaged leaves first. In my garden it is the Asiatic Lilies that are the target plant for the RLLB. The Oriental's that are right next to them remain untouched.

DO NOT use a systemic insecticide. Systemics like Bayer's Merit or other neocotinoids will get into all parts of the plant including the pollen. Bees then take this back to their hives causing large scale Colony Collapse disorder. It's like giving nerve gas to your local bee population.

Additionally using systemics impairs the work of the University of Rhode Island which has released a parasitic wasp that lays their eggs in the RLLB larvae killing it naturally. We want those wasps to multiply and control the RLLB more effectively. I'm all for using chemicals judiciously, but putting systemic insecticides on flowering plants is bad gardening.

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