Monday, July 6, 2009

What is Happening to my Lilies?

I have several lilies in my backyard. When I went out into the garden a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that one of my lily stalks had all its buds chewed off. You can see the stems that had once held the promise of gorgeous white lilies! I found the buds on the ground under the plant. They had not been eaten, just chewed off. I don't know what would do this. I have never had squirrels cause this type of damage, although they love to eat my tulips and crocuses in the springtime. I thought that perhaps raccoons had been chewing on my lilies. We have had a lot of raccoons in the yard this year. I am still puzzled.
But I have noticed some Red Lily Beetles on some of my lily plants this year. They are a very pretty red beetle with a black head and black legs and antlers. (The following photos are from the internet.)

When I first spotted them many years ago I thought they were too pretty to kill and I left them alone. Needless to say, many of my lilies died. Now I know the extensive damage these little beetles can cause. I have been picking them off and killing them every time I see them. Today I was in the garden and I noticed that several of my lilies were almost leafless. I looked for the tiny red beetles, but could not find any. All I could find was some gooey black substance on the underside of the leaves. I picked this off . It was slimy. Inside the black goo was an orange larva. I killed a few dozen of these disgusting things. I went to the internet to look up some information about these beetles and found that the black goo is actually fecal matter which the larva coat themselves in to avoid detection by predators.
These things are freaking me out! I have washed my hands many times since coming inside, but they still feel 'gooey'. Tomorrow I am going on another lily beetle larva hunt. Yuk! They are not getting my lilies! These beetles live in the soil over winter. I want to make sure there are none left to survive the winter. They can fly, so I am not going to be completely safe from them, but it's the best I can do. Cute, aren't they?

Class: Insecta. Family: Chrysomelidae. Genus: Lilioceris. Species: L. lilii.
Common Name: Red Lily Beetle.


  1. I will send any little pests that are killing my flowers or veggies on an early trip to see Jesus. I know that there is a reason for each of God's little creatures but not in my gardens. God and I will, I'm sure, talk this over someday...


  2. I found these on my wonderful lilies as well and have now pulled all of the lilies they keep coming back year after year and I don't want them enjoying other plants once the lilies ran out