As the pretty spring fritillaries burst into flower, look out for emerging adult lily beetles (Lilioceris lilii).
- Beautiful in their bright red coats, they will be sizing up suitable places to lay their eggs and top of the list are your lilies.
- Look out for odd rows of orange/reddy brown eggs along the midrib of the leaves. Pick them off.
- Adult lily beetles squeak when under threat. They make the noise by rubbing together parts of their body. It’s a weird sound that is thought to alarm predators.
- It’s the hatching grubs that do the most damage. They are quite hard to see as they cover themselves in their own shiny brown/black excrement to protect themselves from predators and the sun.
- Check for the undersides of the leaves especially at the tips and pick off any affected leaves.
- Affected plants are unlikely to die, so a regular check and removal regime is a nature friendly solution to minimise the damage of these incredible looking bugs.
- If your garden is infested choose to grow the hemerocallis family (daylilies), which are not affected by this pest.
- If you cannot live with them, then choose a contact insecticide that doesn’t persist in the garden. The Neudorff Pyrol Bug & Larvae Killer is based on natural pyrethrum, and is available online at Amazon.