The lily leaf beetle arrived in Canada in 1945 and Massachusetts in 1992. It also exists throughout New England. They lay their eggs only on lilies, including the Oriental and Asiatic varieties. Larvae cause extensive damage to host plants.
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Description of Adults
The lily leaf beetle is described as a "striking" and "beautiful" insect, by University of Rhode Island Extension. Adult bodies are scarlet, heads are black and they measure 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. Adult beetles eat Asiatic and other lily leaves initially, then move to the flowers and stems.
Description of Larvae
Lily beetle larvae can cause more damage than the adults. They resemble small slugs with swollen bodies that can be orange, yellow, brown or green. Their heads are black. Fully-grown larvae measure about 1/3 inch. They typically feed on the undersides of Asiatic lily leaves.
Hand picking both adults and larvae is effective, according to the University of New Hampshire Extension, which also reports that the natural insecticide neem kills larvae and deters adults. Chemical products that kill both adults and larvae include carbaryl and malathion, but the UNH Extension cautions that these pesticides will also kill beneficial insects.
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