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The Lily Beetle (Lillioceris lilli) is often known as the Red Lily Beetle or Scarlet Lily Beetle, and is a pest of Lilies and Fritillaries. The adults are red with black heads and legs. They will overwinter as adults in the soil, or leaf litter, and not always near Lily plants. They emerge in late March and egg laying will begin in April. The eggs are normally laid in clusters on the undersides of leaves. The adults are active from April to October and only one generation of Lily Beetles are produced per year.
The adult Lily Beetles feed on the plant foliage, creating holes in the leaves and weakening the plants. Infested plants then produce undersized bulbs that may not even flower. The Lily Beetles will leave a black excrement on leaves and flowers. They also cover their larvae in this, which graze on leaves.
Once Lily Beetles are observed, pick them from your plants and destroy them. The Lily Beetle has few natural predators as their larvae are covered in excrement, which makes predators reluctant to feed on them! There are currently no biological controls available to treat this pest. Lily plants can build up some resistance to damage caused by the Red Lily Beetle, however, and regular applications of Calcium based products such as our Calcium Boost have shown to make Lily plants more resistant to Red Lily Beetle attack.