If you think you may have a lily leaf beetle infestation, there are some clear signs that could indicate that they’re around.
Those pesky bugs love devouring lilies and fritillaries. So, if you’re wondering what’s eating your Asiatic lilies, these little red beetles might be the culprits.
But what exactly are they? Lily leaf beetles, or Lilioceris lilii, are small, bright-red beetles that feast on the leaves and buds of many plants in the genera Lilium and Fritillaria .
However, you can take some steps to control them naturally.
Signs of Lily Beetles
You might notice holes in the leaves of your lily plants. If you look closely, you can sometimes see the bright red and shiny beetles crawling around on plants.
Orange-red eggs might also be visible on the underside of the leaves.
How to Get Rid of Lily Leaf Beetles Naturally
To protect your plants against these red garden beetles, it’s important to identify and remove them as soon as possible.
Below are some common home remedies and natural methods that have worked successfully for other gardeners.
1. Neem Oil
Neem oil has been used for centuries and has helped combat a variety of insects.
When applied directly to your lilies, its powerful effect can help protect your plants from lily beetle larvae.
When using neem oil, it’s important to remember that it is most effective against larvae . Therefore, you may need to use other preventative techniques in addition to neem oil in order to ensure complete protection.
To use neem oil to make a homemade lily beetle spray, combine 5 ml of neem oil with 500 ml of water. For best results, apply every 5-7 days while there are actively feeding larvae present on your plants.
Another way to naturally get rid of scarlet lily beetles is by using Spinosad.
This insecticide works by paralyzing the beetles and is safe for pets, birds, and beneficial insects like ladybugs and green lacewings.
However, it will harm bees, so exercise caution when using it. Do not use during the plant’s blooming season.
Keep in mind, too, that spinosad only works when it comes into contact with the beetle. Therefore, you’ll need to be thorough in applying it all over your plants.
Also, take note that the product‘s effectiveness will decrease when exposed to direct sunlight or heat. So it’s best to apply in the early morning or late afternoon instead.
3. Parasitic Wasps
These are wasps that feed on the larvae of leaf beetles and other pests.
Once introduced into your garden, they will search for lily leaf beetles and lay their eggs inside their larvae. The wasp larvae then consume the beetle larva from the inside out, killing it in the process.
4. Clean Up Your Garden in the Fall
Come fall, you can take some proactive steps to make sure your lily leaf beetle problem doesn’t linger into the next season.
First, get rid of all fallen leaves and plant debris. This should be done in the autumn to prevent the adults from hibernating over the winter.
Not only will this help deter bugs that eat lilies, but it’ll also help keep your garden tidy.
Hand-picking adult beetles and larvae from plants is another great solution (and it’s environmentally friendly too!). After picking them off, drop them into some hot, soapy water to kill them.
You want to do this as early in the season as you can before the population has a chance to build up.
You can also pick off eggs from the underside of affected leaves. They’re easy to spot as they’re reddish-orange in color.
However, with this method, it’s best to check your plants at least twice per week.
6. Predatory Ground Beetles
A red lily beetle organic control means that you could look into attracting predatory ground beetles. Provide habitats such as wood piles and leaf litter for them.
They will feed on lily beetle grubs and other pests in your garden.
Frogs are natural predators of lily leaf beetles and can help reduce their population naturally. They feed on beetle larvae and may also eat adult beetles.
Therefore, provide habitat for these predators by providing rocks, aquatic plants, and logs for shelter. This way, they can stay safe while hunting for pests.
Birds like chickadees and bluebirds also love snacking on leaf beetles.
So, encourage some birds by putting up bird feeders and providing water. This will attract birds from far and wide.
9. Coffee Grounds
Some gardeners have had success repelling red lily beetles with used coffee grounds. They apply it at the base of their lilies, and it acts as a deterrent for these pests.
10. Diatomaceous Earth
This home remedy is widely used in all kinds of gardens to help control all kinds of pests. The reason is simple — it works!
So, sprinkle some diatomaceous earth at the base of your lily plants as well as on the shoots. The beetles will die not long after crawling through it.
11. Eco-1 Garden Spray
This is one organic pest control product that is worth trying out. Eco-1 Garden Spray kills on contact.
It is also quite easy to use. Just mix according to the manufacturer’s label, then spray all areas where the insects are present.
It works great against scarlet lily beetles, broad mites, psyllids, and other pests.
Through the use of natural remedies, you can take steps to prevent, or at least reduce, the damage caused by lily leaf beetles. With the right methods, you can better protect your lilies from these pesky little pests.