Wednesday, July 10, 2013
I noticed the Red Lily Leaf Beetle on my Stargazer lilies over a month ago. I saw that the beetles were going to town munching the leaves and flower buds. Since I use no chemicals in the garden, I made attempts at picking them off the plants by hand. They seemed to drop off and out of sight before I could try to squish them. The larvae was draped on the plant leaves looking like mushy rotted banana. I made a mental note to address this all later. Over a dozen and a half house guests have come and gone over the last two weeks. I finally found a quiet moment to go out to the garden and check on the flowers and vegetables. My Stargazer lilies were devoured! GONE. Disgusted, I pulled out the stems with attached bulbs, beetles clinging to them, and threw them all in the garbage can. Three days later, the beetles have survived in the can and are eating what's left of the leaves. AMAZING! They have no predators here in the U.S. They come from Europe and Asia. The beetles winter over in the soil. Their defense mechanism when sensing danger, is to drop upside down to the ground. Their underside is black and so they blend in to the soil when they land. As beautiful as they are, I am done with the liliuim species. I am planting some native flowers in their place which are not palatable to the menace Red Lily Leaf Beetle. Below are pictures taken of the lilies and beetle in the garbage can!