Lily beetle

After a busy day spent mostly in the car, I was looking forward to some down-time in the garden. However, I was dismayed to spot the lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii) on my Stargazer lilies (now growing strongly in a large clay pot).

The lily beetle is easily identified - a beautiful creature but a serious pest

This is one of the worst pests known to gardeners. Unchecked, it will rapidly strip any lily of its leaves (and also fritillary, if it lights on any). It is, however, a handsome thing, a slim brilliant scarlet beetle. With a tough outer skeleton, it’s probably impervious to most chemical sprays. The best way of control is actually the simplest – pick them off between finger and thumb and squash them.

This is the first year I’ve seen them in my garden – hitherto, this has largely been a pest of southern England. But – like the berberis sawfly – it seems to be marching northwards.

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