Lily beetles nearly destroyed all my garden lilies.

If you see these bugs on your lily flowers……ON GUARD!!!!!.  they are NOT lady bugs.  Creep up closely and squash them.




Have you noticed mud spots on the undersides of your lily leaves? Those are the red lily beetle larvae that covers itself in its poop. Yeah you read right, that baby insect covers itself in poop for protection. That is one big reason that the larvae don’t have very many predators, who wants to eat poop?


It seems that the larvae might have one enemy. Wikipedia says: “The fecal shield is not effective protection against parasitoids, and it may actually make it easier for parasitoids such as the wasp Lemophagus Pulcher to locate the larvae.”  Really?? There is a certain wasp will eat them? Well I’m sorry Mr. wasp, but I don’t have time to wait for you to come looking for my lilies. These bugs die by my hand as fast as possible.


The best way I have found to get rid of them is putting on latex gloves and then I get a bucket of hot water with dish soap and I go lily beetle hunting. I wipe down the leaves with my fingers and rinse my hand in the soapy water. It’s a long process, have you ever notices how many leaves those flower stalks have? LOTS. I’ve noticed that the larvae most of the time starts from the bottom leaves and they work their way up to the top.




The first time I had the infestation I didn’t know what it was. I couldn’t figure out why I had mud on my flowers. I didn’t bother to stick my nose close to look, I just let them be and I lost alot of flowers. Then I saw the red lily beetle and I thought it was a lady bug, but I found it weird that it has no black spots like a lady bug. So I didn’t bother to do much about it, but the mud part was bugging me a lot, so what did I do?




I turned to my best friend Mr.Google. I asked him why my lily flowers were full of mud and voila he gave me information on the red lily beetle. Well I wasn’t happy about that, but at first I never thought it could be as bad as it was. From my experience it just seems that since I have them, they come back every year. There will come a way to get rid of them or control them much better than what I am doing. In the mean time I just keep an eye on my flowers as they grow.





The adult is called scarlet lily beetle, red lily beetle or lily leaf beetle. They eat the leaves, stem, buds and flower of the lilies, fritillaries and other members of the family Liliaceae. The adult lays the eggs most often on Lilium and Fritillaria species on the undersides of the leaves, so it’s hard to notice them for sure.




The female can lay up to 450 eggs each season in batches of about 12 on the undersides of leaves. The eggs hatch in about 6 days and the larvae feed for up to 24 days, beginning underneath the leaf then working up the rest of the plant. They then burrow in the ground to pupate in a cocoon of soil bound with saliva. In about 20 days they emerge as adults and continue to feed until winter. More than one cycle can occur in one year.

Soooo, that is the lily beetle? Ok then, now I know what I am battling and I’ve been getting good results even though it is looong to do.

The first year I planted the lilies, I had no problems,it was the second year after that they showed up and since I didn’t do my homework fast enough, the third year ooohhh that year was horrible!!!! It took me days and days to get rid of them. I did not enjoy it at all. I just kept at it checking every day and removing the eggs and the larvae and crushing the beetles.

Then I noticed the next year that it was not as bad.  Every year it gets better and this year I have very few. It’s just a real paid in the butt having to sit on the ground and look through all the flowers to find the eggs and the mud.

I don’t know what I’m going to do, I’ve thought of getting rid of all my lily flowers and that would end the problem, but the flowers are oh so beautiful. I mean really beautiful. So right now I have a battle raging inside of me, get rid of all the flowers and not enjoy the beauty? or take a deep breath and not be lazy every year and just clean them to control the infestation. So far for this year I just don’t have the heart to get rid of all my flowers…..yet.

When I see the eggs, that’s not so bad, they won’t turn into full beetles in 24 hours. That gives me time to clean the leaves, and when I start seeing small mud lumps, that’s getting closer and I keep cleaning and when the lumps are bigger, well get off your butt and get rid of them pronto. Sometimes I get lazy and I don’t check my plants for 3 or 4 days and then I see a beetle and I’m off to war again.

They live in the soil and come out in the spring. Stupid beetle can fly, so if neighbors have lilies and don’t take care of them, the adults will find a way to your garden, but by taking time to clean the leaves every day when you see something, that goes a long way to keeping them under control. also it might be a good idea not to have lots and lots of lily flowers.

That is also my problem, I have alot of different ones, I have read ones that are breathtaking. I have orange ones becuase they remind me of halloween and I LOVE halloween. Then I have Oriental Casablanca lilies, that the squirrels are getting to. I have the stargazer lily and I have cappucino lilies that are just breathtaking. I’m really having a hard time to ignore them. Of course they multiply every year.

I keep thinking that for every adult beetle I kill, I kill all the babies they make or will make, because I don’t know if they are female or male when I kill them and honestly I really don’t care.   Once I caught two beetles mating on a flower and oh no no no you don’t. I went to catch them and I dropped them on the ground. They are hard to spot in the black earth, so it took a few minutes to find them and then I stomped on them with my foot and I made sure they were in pieces.

Well that is my story and experience with the lily beetle. Wikipedia has more information about the lily beetle if you are interested in learning more.  Thank you for stopping by and taking the time read this post. I hope that I haven’t turned you off on growing lilies, they really are spectacular flowers.

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