Asian Lily Beetles - A New Garden Threat

 


Article by: Fred Davis

Anyone genuinely interested in Nature , A Few Things About Flowers - while perhaps naive enough to believe in its absolute innocence - might think the small, bright fiery-orange beetle that's suddenly materialized in their gardens , Creating Woodland s is strikingly beautiful , Great Gardening Gift Ideas and perfectly harmless. About the size of a rather narrow ladybug without spots, it almost sparkles as it seems to sun , Dwarf Korean Lilac itself on the leaves and emerging flower , Gardening - Hibiscus Plant Care buds of Asiatic and Oriental hybrid lilies.

In fact, the appearance of innocence and beauty is totally misleading...if not downright deceptive. Early spring , Outdoor Wood Furniture Check the Wood Species Before Purchasing sunbathing is clearly not what it has in mind! Lilioceris lilii. Asian Lily Beetle, aka Lily Leaf Beetle, is focusing its entire attention on filling its belly and finding a mate. When those two primary goals have been fulfilled, watch out! Your beautiful , Cast Aluminum Furniture lilies are about to vanish. And if you have no hybrid lilies but concentrate on growing fruits , You Can Grow Your Own Herb Garden - Part 5 and vegetables, , Home and Garden Decor your tomatoes, , Outdoor Kitchens: Attention All Cooks - You've Never Had It This Good! potatoes, eggplants and peppers , Do It Yourself Landscape Design - Where To Begin (nightshades) are in serious jeopardy.

Where did they come from? Asian Lily Beetles first appeared in Boston a little over a dozen years ago, probably stowaways in plants , 6 Steps To A Greener, Healthier Lawn imported from abroad...quite possibly China. Rapidly spreading throughout Massachusetts and points north, by 1999 they had worked their way up the New England coast to Brunswick, then inland areas...finally reaching the Mid-Coast and more than a few miles inland to the west, devastating lilies as they traveled. Now they have occupied very nearly every agricultural and horticultural area in several eastern states and three Canadian provinces and, in my opinion - and that of a great many other horticultural/entomological professionals - will soon surpass the populations and crop damage done by the dreaded Japanese Beetles (Popillia japonica).

Adult Lily Leaf Beetles over-winter in the soil , Harmonize Your Yard: 8 Ways to Add Feng Shui Outdoors or in un-cleaned-up plant , Growing Rare Fruits for Fun or Profit debris after fall , How to Grow Chocolate Cosmos frost. Following emergence during early spring, , Creating Woodland Gardens they mate and quickly deposit between 200 and 300 tiny dull-orange eggs on the undersides of leaves, in clusters of two to ten. Hatch occurs in five to ten days after which larvae feed for between 16 and 24 days, growing , Making the Most of the Front of Your Home Using Wind Chimes rapidly to about twice the size of their parents. It is at this point that they are feeding heavily. Highly vulnerable to predacious insects during this "soft" feeding stage, larvae cover themselves in their own sticky, mud-like excrement (droppings) as a highly effective defense against attack. Most gardeners describe them as looking like small dirty slugs. If you scrape the feces away, you'll see a soft, dull-red beetle whose wing cases have as yet to harden.

At about this point, larvae either crawl or drop to the ground where they pupate in secreted cocoons. In under 25 days, a fully mature adult emerges to begin the process anew. There can be as many as three such generations in a single season. , Some Practical Ideas For Designing Your Own Landscape To make matters worse, it is possible for female beetles who have deposited their eggs for the current season , How To Improve Garden Soil Naturally to survive a second winter , A Quick Overview of Outdoor Hot Tubs and lay another huge clutch of eggs the following year. Allow me to do the math for you: One mature female beetle x 200 x 200 x 200 = 8,000,000 at a minimum. And that's in our short New England growing season. , Canopy Swings - Escape the Weather with One Alfred Hitchcock would've had a field day with those numbers!

What else will they attack? An all-time dietary favorite is fritillary (Fritillaria sp.), but are most often seen on Asiatic, Oriental, and "tiger" lilies (Lilium sp.), lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), Solomon's seal (Polygonatum multiflorum), certain vegetables, , Cast Aluminum Furniture and occasionally other common garden , Watering Your - How to Make Each Drop Count perennials when their favorites are either not present or already consumed.

How are they controlled? Best of all is daily scouting of your garden, , Some Practical Ideas For Designing Your Own Landscape hand-picking or knocking adults into a jar of soapy water, , Want A View? Start Growing Orchids On Trees or spraying with one of the products , Some Practical Ideas For Designing Your Own Landscape described below. There are two natural , Transplanting Tips "pesticides" effective in the control of Asian Lily Beetles:

1. NEEM, a biochemical pest , Outdoor Wood Furniture Check the Wood Species Before Purchasing control substance extracted from the tropical , Plants, Birds, Love and Deer Hate Neem tree. , Birdbaths It affects the insect while in its larval stage by interrupting molting, and may also serve to repel adults.

2. PYRETHRIN, a product , Making the Most of the Front of Your Home Using Wind Chimes extracted from common painted daisies (Pyrethrum sp.), may be sprayed on plants , How to Grow Chocolate Cosmos to control both adults and larval stages. I consider Pyrethrin to be the best choice.

I have also noted that RESMETHRIN - a synthetic form of Pyrethrin found in formulations for garden , Granite Flexible Preformed Rock Ponds foggers - destroys the larval form.

All of these insecticides are commonly stocked by large, retail garden , Hydroponics ing - How to Grow Flowers and Vegetables with Minimal Time and Effort centers, and less reliably at "big-box" stores. As always, read and observe all labeling information. , Gardening - Hibiscus Plant Care Wear protective gloves when handling or applying, and wash thoroughly when the job's done. Even though they're considered "natural", there's no point in taking any chances with your health or that of your loved ones.

One last thought: The true key to controlling population numbers of this new and highly destructive villain in your garden, , A Few Things About Flowers in the words of Alistair "Mad-Eye" Moody of Harry Potter fame: CONSTANT VIGILANCE! We must be ruthless and unyielding in our search for and destruction , Harmonize Your Yard: 8 Ways to Add Feng Shui Outdoors of every Asian Lily Beetle we encounter! The future of hybrid and tiger lilies in our gardens , Why Patio Benches are a Great Place to Relax and Enjoy depends on it.
To view photographs of Asian Lily Beetle go to http://www.HillGardens.com/asianlilybeetles.htm

Fred Davis is a Master Gardener, Master Composter, , A Few Things About Flowers lecturer, and long-time nurseryman. He and his wife, Linda, own and operate a popular perennial , Brilliant Beetroot! nursery in Palermo, Maine. He is also author of the book, "Keys To The Garden , A Few Things About Flowers Gate - Saying Some Things That Need To Be Said"

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