My asiatic and oriental lilies are being devoured by those little red beetles. What can I do to get rid of them?
These are lily leaf beetles (Lilioceris lilii), a destructive European import that seems to be marching inexorably across Canada. There is little on the market for eradicating them. Hand-picking and squishing is the only sure solution. Also, search for and destroy the orange egg clusters laid in April and May on the undersides of the leaves, as well as the slug-like, black-coated larvae that feed on the leaves in May and June. Phil Reilly of Reilly Country Gardens in Ottawa reports that neem oil is effective but only on the larvae, not the adult beetles. Spray in early morning or late evening to avoid affecting beneficials such as ladybugs and honey bees. Lily leaf beetles winter over in the soil and surface debris so clean up areas where you suspect they may be lurking. If you?re acquiring new lilies, buy them as bulbs rather than potted plants, which may have beetles in the soil. Good luck,
?Marjorie Harris, Editor at Large, and Linda Gilkeson