Red lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii)

Red lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii)

A bright scarlet red lily beetle with black legs, antennae and underside (defense to fall upside down on ground and barely visible).  It is about 1/4”-3/8” long.

Life cycle: Adult beetle overwinters in soil or plant debris, emerges early spring looking for food and a mate. Eggs are laid on the underside of Lilium leaves. Major damage occurs by larvae once egg has hatched. They will eagerly eat all parts of the lily including flower bud. Larvae pupate in soil in 2-3 weeks, and cycle continues from early spring to mid-summer.  They can and will completely kill a lily plant if not controlled.

Controls: hand picking and killing beetles; diatomaceous earth sprinkled on the ground below lilies as well as dusting entire plant; pyrethroids insecticide for adults; Carbaryl pesticide (ie. Ant Out) is effective at controlling all cycles.

Avoid transplanting any infected lilies. Red lily beetle introduced likely from imported plant material.

Plants affected: Asiatic lilies, martagon lilies, oriental lilies; occasionally Fritillaria, and other Lilium species; hosta