Lily Beetles

(Question)

I pulled up lily bulbs before this past winter because of total devastation by lily beetles (bright orange, look like lady bugs without the spots). At that time, I also removed a couple of inches of soil. I now see evidence of lily beetles in both flower beds where I did this. So I removed the few I saw and dropped them in soapy water. I know activity continues underground. My question is this. If I plant a couple of rose bushes in one spot where I removed the lilies, then in the other flower bed I plant dahlias, which I’ve had success with before, can I hope that lily beetles won’t devour these as well and will simply go elsewhere? I work full time and do not have the time for daily removal of bugs, eggs, larvae etc. I live in Vaughan, ON. We also have hostas and Lilies of the Valley and I am hoping to avoid spread of these pests to those plants located elsewhere. Do you have a strategy for me? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

(Answer)

The Lily beetle is truly a pest in our yards. Sorry about this problem. They seem to be quite specific to lilies and fritillaria and will not harm dahlias or lily of the valley.

Advice is always to recognize the orange eggs and to remove these. Then the larvae  appear as black masses on the underside of the leaf. Remove. You have stated that you work and do not have time for checking daily on the presence of the beetle. I am assuming you have removed all your lilies. One of the safest ways to grow lilies but time consuming, is to grow in a pot with new soil every year. Not quite the same pleasure as watching them grow in your yard.

If lilies are reduced in numbers maybe there is a chance the beetle will die off with lack of food. Lots of other wonderful perennials to grow.

For more information on controlling lily beetles, click here.