Asian Lily Beetle

Dec 4, 2023 | Gardening Advice

HISTORY: The Asian Lily Beetle (Lilioceris lilii) is native to Europe and is believed to have been brought to the United States on bulbs shipped from Europe. This beetle was discovered in Canada in 1945 and arrived in Massachusetts in 1992.

IDENTIFICATION: The lily leaf beetle adult is a striking insect with a bright scarlet body, black legs, and antennae. The adults are 1/4” – 3/8” long and will squeak, if you squeeze them gently, as a warning to predators. Adults feed on the leaves, stems, buds, and flowers of many plants. Eggs are reddish-orange and can be found on the underside of leaves. Larvae resemble slugs with swollen orange, brown, yellowish, or even greenish bodies and black heads. Pupae are florescent orange. Adults prefer environments that are shaded, protected, cool, and moist. Beetles over winter in the soil or in plant debris in the garden or woods until spring.

TREATMENT: If you only have a few plants in your garden, hand-picking adults and eggs can be effective. In the case of large gardens, the following insecticides may be used: carbaryl (Sevin), malathion, Methoxychlor, Othene, Liquid Marathon, or insecticide containing Imidacloprid (such as Bayer “Advanced Garden”). The insecticides listed above are also harmful to insects that we consider beneficial. A preferable, non-toxic, insecticide is Neem Oil. Neem oil can be purchased in garden centers under the names of Turplex, Azatin EC, Margosan-O, Align, and BioNeem.

NEEM TREE: Neem trees (Azadirachta indica or “noble tree of India”) are native to India and a botanical cousin to mahogany. The pesticidal and medicinal properties extracted from the neem tree have been used for at least 2500 years. Today, neem is used in tooth paste, shampoo, soap, cosmetics, skin creams, medicines, and insecticides. The active ingredient in neem pesticides is harmless to spiders, butterflies, bees, ladybugs, and wasps.

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