How can something as handsome as the Lily Beetle ( See H is for Handsome), have such revolting offspring? They are fat and maggoty, and live in a lump of sticky black poo, glued to the underside of the lily leaves by their crafty parents. As mentioned in the previous post (H is for Handsome), I remove them with the hose, set on a gentle spray, and as they drop, I collect them by hand, into a container bound for the compost heap. Yuk.
I noticed them in spring, just a mating pair, and in a moment of weakness, I was overcome with admiration for their shiny scarlet carapace and natty black antennae. Besides, it was spring. Let them have their fun, I thought. Needless to say, I have regretted that moment, as over the following months, they and their loathsome offspring have decimated my lilies. (See R is for Revolting)
From then on, it has been war: I use my hose, set on a gentle spray, to wash off the grubs from the underside of the leaves. The thin threads of orange eggs I scrape off, although they are not easy to spot. As for the adult beetles, and here I’m being completely honest, I crush between my nails. OK, OK, I know it’s gross, and I do have a twinge of regret. However, I love my lilies more, so I harden my heart against the scarlet blighters.
The RHS are currently tracking Lilioceris Lillii, as it scoffs its way through the lilies and fritilleries of the UK, concerned that their numbers are on the rise. If you grow lilies, you may like like to take part in their survey: it only takes 2 minutes. https://www.rhs.org.uk/lilybeetleonlinesurveys