The Red Lily Beetle Summary:

I did try something similar yesterday, but normally I don’t measure anything. 🙂
I filled a spray bottle with water, added some oil, dish liquid soap and shoke it.
When I sprayed the red lily beetle, it did die, but not as quickly.
I will check tomorrow to see if it also killed the larva.
At the moment I am between houses, so I can only check on my science experiments every couple of days. 🙂
I would really like to get rid of the red lily beetles without hurting anything else.
I don’t even want to hurt the red lily beetles, but they show me no mercy. 🙂
I will keep adjusting this recipe until I find the one that works for me.
If you use it and find a happy medium recipe, please share with me. 🙂
July 6, 2013:
Today most of my lilies are in bloom! Checked for red lily beetles and I didn’t find any.
I think the combination of moving my lilies to a sunnier location and being consistent with hand picking of the larva and the beetles; worked for me.
The spray concoction works, but it’s just as easy to hand pick them and drop them in soapy water. I like wearing garden gloves for this job. 🙂
Good luck with yours!

May 2016

The Red lily beetles are back with a vengeance.
They must be attracted to the lily smell, because the red beetles are not picking on anything else.
If it’s the smell that they are attracted to, I’m going to spray my lilies with a garlic or onion spray. Let you know if that works.

June 30, 2016 – garlic spray

Well – the red lily beetles are gone.
So far this works better than anything I’ve tried for the last couple of years.
I didn’t have fresh garlic so, I used garlic powder.
1/4 cup of garlic powder one litre of water.
I let the mixture sit in the sun for a couple of days
and then I just poured the garlic solution in a squirt bottle.
I squirted the whole plant including the soil around the plant and under the leaves.
The left-over garlic residue – I poured more water over it and let it sit in the sun again. Just in case I needed to re-apply the garlic spray.
For a squirt bottle; I just used an empty dishwashing liquid soap bottle, salad dressing bottles etc. would also work. That way I didn’t have to strain or filter the mixture before using it. For easy pouring in the squirt bottle; I poured the mixture in a measuring cup with a spout and then in the squirt bottle.
This is a month later and I can’t find any red lily beetles around. I was getting ready to re-spray my lilies after it rained and I didn’t need to.
If you would rather use fresh garlic – just use a whole head of garlic – break apart the cloves.
Smash the garlic with the side of a large knife blade. Don’t need to peel the garlic for this.
In a jar pour a litre of water and the mashed garlic and let it sit for a day or two.
The stronger the garlic infusion, the better it works. Strain the solution, pour in a spray bottle and just spray away.
Hope it works for you as well!
other Non-commercial Pest Sprays .PDF

Red Bugs in the Garden and on the House

I have these red bugs all over my gardens on 2 sides of my house—they might be called elder box bugs or beetles? Are they just a nuisance or are they harmful? When they all gather in a warm spot, the pile of them is huge! Or so it seems to me! I’m trying to decide if I need to do something and if so, if I can do it myself or if I need an exterminator.

Immature nymphs of boxelder bugs are bright red, wingless and 1/16th of an inch when they first hatch. As they grow larger they become red and black. Adult boxelder bugs are about 1/2″ long and are black with orange or red markings (three red lines just behind the head, a red line along each side and a diagonal line on each wing). Their wings lay flat over their bodies, overlapping each other to form and ‘x’. All stages of growth can be witnessed at any time during the summer.

They do not harm plants but can be a nuisance when they congregate on our homes or slip through a crack and make it indoors. These insects feed on the seeds of boxelders (Acer negundo) and other maples (Acer). In the fall they look for warm locations to warm themselves as well as a place to spend the winter. They do not pose a threat to the health of our plants. Treatment is only done to eliminate the nuisance. Some gardeners vacuum any that find their way indoors. Be sure to dispose of the bag.

Large populations can be controlled with insecticides. Consider using more eco-friendly products like insecticidal soap or Neem. Make chemical insecticides your last resort as songbirds, toads and several beneficial insects that eat these pests may be injured or killed by some chemical insecticides. Be sure to read and follow all label directions before using any product.

What Is A Red Spider Mite: Red Spider Mites Identification And Control

Red spider mites are a garden pest that affects a wide variety of plants, but is most commonly affect azaleas and camellias. Once you get an infestation, you will find red spider mites everywhere on the plant and it is important to take care of the infestation before the plant becomes permanently damages. Let’s take a look at red spider mite control.

What is a Red Spider Mite?

Red spider mites can be one of two kinds of mites, either the European red spider mite or the Southern red spider mite. The most common red spider mite is the Southern variety. The European spider mite is normally only seen on apple trees, while the Southern spider mite attacks a much wider variety of plants.

A spider mite is related to spiders and is an arachnid, but are smaller and have only one body section (where spiders have two).

Identifying Red Spider Mites

A plant that is infested by red spider mites will start to look unhealthy and will have a dusty appearance to the undersides of their leaves. Close inspection will reveal that the dust is actually moving and is in fact the spider mites. The plant may also have some webbing on the underside or on the branches of plant.

You cannot easily make out the details of red spider mites with the naked eye but a simple magnifying glass can make the details more visible. A red spider mite will be all red. There are other kinds of spider mites, such as the two-spotted spider mite, that are partially red. Red spider mites will be all red. Knocking some off onto a piece of white paper will make it easier to distinguish the colors.

How to Control Red Spider Mites

Red spider mites are most active in cool weather, so you are most likely to see an infestation of them in the spring or fall.

The best way to control red spider mites is through the use of their natural predators. Lacewings and ladybugs are commonly used, but predatory mites can also be used. All of these spider mite predators are available from reputable gardening supply centers and websites.

You can also use pesticides to eliminate red spider mites. Insecticidal soaps and oils work best. You should be careful using pesticides though as they will also kill their natural predators and the red spider mites may simply move from the pesticide treated area to non-treated areas.

Of course, the best way to eliminate red spider mites is to make sure you don’t get them in the fist place. Work to keep plants healthy and the areas around the plants free of debris and dust to keep red spider mites away. Also, make sure plants have enough water. The water will help keep the red spider mites away as they prefer very dry environments.

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Lily Leaf Beetle

Lily Leaf Beetle Lilioceris lilii
Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae

If you grow lilies, then be well aware of the lily leaf beetle, its life cycle and how to manage this pest and pass the information along to your customers. Lily leaf beetle (Lilioceris lilii) is known to lay its eggs and develop only on true lilies, Lilium species (Turk’s cap lilies, tiger lilies, Easter lilies, Asiatic and Oriental lilies) (not daylilies), and fritillaria (Fritillaria sp). Although lilies and fritillaria are the primary hosts, lily leaf beetle also feeds, sometimes just lightly, on a number of other plants, including lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), soloman’s seal (Polygonatum sp.), bittersweet (Solanum sp.), potato (Solanum tuberosum), hollyhock (Alcea) and various hosta species. It is however, a devastating pest to true lilies.

History

The lily leaf beetle (LLB) is native to Europe and was discovered near Montreal, Canada in 1945. Its damage was limited to the Montreal area for decades, until discovered in the United States in 1992 in Cambridge, MA. It is thought that LLB arrived in a shipment of lily bulbs from Europe. Since then, LLB has spread throughout much of Massachusetts and is working its way throughout New England. Lily leaf beetles are strong fliers and are also moved from one area to another on host plants. Both the immature stage and adults cause damage by eating the leaves and buds. Adults and larvae are commonly found together devouring lily foliage. Often, they consume all the leaves leaving only bare stems.

Identification and Life Cycle

As soon as lilies break through the ground, over-wintered, bright red adult lily leaf beetles will begin to actively feed on the foliage. The adult beetles are about ½” long with a very bright red body, and black legs, head, antennae, and undersurface. Over the past two years this emergence has occurred around the middle of April in the warmest parts of the state. The beetles are foraging for food and seeking a mate. The adult beetles will begin to lay eggs on the undersides of leaves, usually in May. The eggs are irregular-shaped and laid in rows that appear as tan-colored lines. Just before the eggs hatch, they will turn orange and then a deep red color. The eggs hatch within 4-8 days into the immature or larval stage. The larvae are slug-like in appearance with soft, plump orange, brown, yellowish or even greenish bodies and black heads. The young larvae initially feed on the undersides of the foliage but eventually will move to the upper surfaces and the buds. While they feed, the larvae pile their own excrement on their backs which makes them objectionable to hand-pick. The larval feeding is the most destructive and lasts for 16-24 days. The larvae then drop to the soil to pupate. The pupae are florescent orange. Adult beetles emerge 16-22 days later and can be seen feeding throughout the rest of the growing season. Adult beetles over-winter in sheltered places, soil or plant debris in the garden or woods, not necessarily near the host plants. Adults prefer areas that are shaded, protected, cool, and moist. The over-wintered adults emerge early in the spring and begin the cycle again with feeding, mating and egg-laying. Each female beetle produces 250-450 eggs.

Management

If your customers only have a few plants in their garden, hand-picking adults and eggs can be effective. For more than a few susceptible plants, pesticide treatments may be needed. Products containing Neem (Bon-Neem, Azatin), a botanical insecticide, have been shown to kill very young larvae but must be applied every five to seven days after egg hatch. Products containing spinosad a microbial insecticide, may also be effective. Spinosad is sold as Conserve and Entrust for commercial growers and Monterey Garden Insect Spray, BULL’S-EYE™ and others. Before recommending a product or applying any pesticide, READ THE LABEL and apply only as directed on the label.

Products containing the systemic imidacloprid have reportedly provided effective control applied either as a foliage spray or soil drench depending on label instructions. Imidacloprid is the active ingredient in Marathon, used in commercial greenhouses. Merit, used by landscapers and home gardeners and one of the active ingredients in Bayer Advanced Rose and Flower Insect Killer for home gardeners. There are also other home gardener formulations containing imidacloprid. Note that it is thought that imidacloprid is one of several causes of bee decline and should never be used when bees are active or on plants in flower. See recent research from UMass: Nest Location in Bumble Bees: Effect of Landscapes and Insecticides

When using pesticides it is important to take precautions to protect pollinating insects such as bees. Apply pesticides in the evening when fewer bees will be foraging and when spray drift due to wind and volatilization due to heat are at a minimum. Do not spray during windy weather to prevent drifting. Avoid spraying when plants or nearby plants (including weeds) are in bloom. See the fact sheet “Protecting Bees from Pesticides” (Purdue University).

Lily Leaf Beetle Biological Control Research Update

Recent research efforts to control the lily leaf beetle have concentrated on classical biological control which acquaints natural enemies with their host. LLB came from Europe so European parasitoids were released with the intent of establishing and distributing the themselves to provide long term control rather than needing to provide regular releases each year. Areas within a few miles of the research release sites of the parasitic wasps are benefiting already. Here is an update on biological control research for LLB.

The following information is reprinted from: Lily Leaf Beetle Biological Control Update, March 31, 2006. Northeastern IPM News, Dept. of Plant Sciences, University of Rhode Island

The University of Rhode Island Biological Control Laboratory, in collaboration with CABI-Bioscience and colleagues in France, identified a complex of four larval parasitoids, which causes a high level of parasitism throughout Europe. On the basis of parasitoid surveys in Europe and laboratory experiments conducted in the USA and Europe, it was determined that T. setifer, L. errabundus, and D. jucunda were safe and likely candidates to control L. lilii.

Tetrastichus setifer is likely the best candidate for controlling the LLB in the Northeast. It is widespread throughout Europe and it has been relatively easy to establish in RI, MA, NH, and ME. Lily leaf beetle populations have declined substantially at the two oldest release sites. They last released T. setifer in Wellesley, MA in 2001 where it has heavily parasitized LLB larvae ever since (100% parasitism at peak larval density in 2005). We found similar results in Cumberland, RI where we last released T. setifer in 2002, with 100% parasitism at peak larval density in 2005. From the parasitoids released in surrounding states, they found T. setifer establised in Bridgton, ME in 2004. Tetrastichus setifer has also spread several miles from release sites.

Lemophagus errabundus was found in a lily garden 3/4 mile from their Plainville, MA release site in 2005, indicating that it is not only established from releases in 2003 and 2004, but it has spread a considerable distance. They also released this species in the Kingston, RI plot where they found good parasitism in the weeks following release. Diaparsis jucunda has proven to be more difficult to establish against the LLB. It is found at higher elevations in Europe, and appears well-suited for northern New England, but they have not yet recovered overwintered parasitoids at any of their 2004 and 2005 release sites in RI, MA, NH, or ME. In 2005 they also released LLB larvae parasitized by D. jucunda into their lily plots to determine if this is a better way to establish this species.

  • Photos
    • Adult
    • Eggs
    • Larvae
  • Resources from University of Rhode Island Bio Control Lab: Lily Leaf Beetle Bio control project

Tina Smith
Extension Greenhouse Crops and Floriculture Program
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
07, updated 2013

Every week, Telegraph gardening expert Helen Yemm gives tips and advice on all your gardening problems whether at home or on the allotment. Here Helen Helen Yemm gives her advice on lily beetles, their grubs and how they can be eliminated by spraying, or crushed by hand If you have a question, see below for how to contact her.

Janet Menzies, a reader from Fordingbridge writes that she assumed she “had got the upper hand with lily beetles ealier this year by using insecticide, but was horrified to discover several adult beetles hiding on the undersides of leaves when I was cutting down the stems of my potted lilies.

Presumably I have caught (and squashed) these in the nick of time, but it got me wondering: where do lily beetles go in winter?”

Lily beetles, the scarlet-coated horrors that (with their equally destructive grubs), do so much damage to lilies and close relations, hibernate in the top inch or two of soil, sometimes but not always close to lilies, and also in other undisturbed garden debris.

Since you grow your lilies in pots, it is a good idea to repot them annually in fresh compost.

This has the added benefit of letting you check the bulbs are in good condition and have not also been infested with vine weevil grubs.

Scarlet lily beetle

The scarlet lily beetle may look attractive, but it is the scourge of lily growers. It can do huge amounts of damage to lilies and needs to be controlled whenever it is seen.

Description

Both the adult scarlet lily beetles and their grubs eat holes in the leaves of lily plants often leading to leaf drop that weakens the plant. As a result, over time, the bulbs become smaller and flowering in subsequent years is reduced.

They will also eat flower buds, leading to a reduction or complete failure of the flower display.

As well as attacking true lilies (Lilium), they will also attack fritillaries (Fritillaria) and giant lilies (Cardiocrinum).

Symptoms

The adult scarlet lily beetle is 6-8mm long with a black head and legs. The bright red wing coverings are easily spotted, but the insect has a cunning defence mechanism that makes physical capture difficult. When disturbed, it drops to ground level, turns upside down where its black underside is difficult to locate.

The grubs of this pest are even more sly, covering themselves with their wet, black excrement, which protects them from predator attack while they openly eat the lily leaves and flower buds.

The orange-red eggs are laid in clusters on the undersides of the leaves.

Treatment and control

Remove any adult scarlet lily beetles by hand and dispose of them. They are quite dosy early in the morning, so this is the best time to catch them. The larvae are disgusting to pick off, so remove a whole leaf where they are feeding and dispose of it.

Where this isn’t feasible, or practical, then you can control them by spraying affected plants with an insecticide. The best ones to use are systemic insecticides. These are absorbed inside the plant and move all around the plant, killing the beetles and the grubs as they eat the leaves and providing protection against further attack for up to 3 or more weeks. Spray lilies as soon as the first grub or adult is spotted. A further treatment 3 weeks later will help to control any grubs that may have hatched from previously laid eggs.

What can I do to protect my lilies from lily leaf beetles?

Lily leaf beetles have been a menace since first arriving in Massachusetts in 1992. Native to Europe, the lily leaf beetle (LLB) is an especially damaging insect species that feeds primarily on true lilies (Lilium species, not daylilies). Native lilies such as Canada, Turk’s cap, and wood lilies, as well as a number of garden lilies and Fritillaries are susceptible to LLB. Hungry adults and larva will eat both the leaves and flowers on lilies, sometimes leaving only the stem behind.

Adult beetles are bright red with black legs, antennae, heads, and undersides. They overwinter in the soil or plant debris and emerge as adults in the spring. They are strong fliers and can travel considerable distances to find host plants. Once lilies start growing, LLB adults aren’t far behind. When adult beetles find a suitable host plant, they feed and mate. Females lay orange eggs in lines on leaf undersides, flower buds, and flowers. As soon as the eggs hatch, the larva begin feeding, all the while covering themselves with their own excrement to deter potential predators.

Lily foliage showing early signs of LLB damage

If you only have a few lilies in your garden, hand-picking the adults, eggs, and larva is a good control measure. You can either crush the insects with your fingers or drop them into a soapy water solution, which will kill them quickly. Make sure to check the undersides of leaves for hiding insects and eggs. If you have a large number of lilies and hand-picking is impractical, some insecticides can provide effective control. Before using any pesticide product, always read the label and follow the directions closely. Contact the Infoline for specific insecticide recommendations.

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