Red Lily Beetle.

Although I don’t make a habit of revisiting old posts, this one bears repeating.  The red (or scarlet) lily beetle has taken over Alberta, it seems – and I know infestations have been occurring all over the world (in some places, for quite a number of years).  This is my post from last year about the dastardly red beast:

Red Lily Beetle (Flowery Prose)

Asiatic lily

This gorgeous Asiatic lily isn’t from my garden, although I wish it was – I took this photograph at the Calgary Zoo a couple of summers ago. 

Have you been faced with an infestation of red lily beetles in your garden?  (I sure hope not!).  If you have, what seems to work best to keep them under control?

Post updated: May 2018.


  1. I squished some red beetles earlier in the season. I do not see any now in the garden – it seems that I got them at the right time before they had a chance to multiply. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

    I just want to ask if you are familiar with the little green worms that appear in spring time and attack the young buds of plants. Many of my rose leaves have been eaten and the blueberry has already lost its flowers and little leaves. Neem oil doesn’t seem to do the trick.

  2. I’ve lost quite a lot of my lilies to this nasty beetle. As soon as they peeked through the ground the adult beetles were attacking them and laying their eggs. I haven’t found any sprays that have worked well. Hand picking is best but you must be extremely diligent. If you miss a day, it might be too late.

    • I agree; it seems that hand picking really is the best way to deal with them – I’ve heard mixed reports about the sprays (and many people may not wish to use chemicals to begin with). And you’re right when you say you have to be very diligent! I’m sorry you’ve lost some of your plants; hopefully, you’ll be able to save the rest.

  3. You’ve enlightened me! I have two Asian Lilies that I purchased last summer and they have the red beetles all over them….I had no idea what was going on. They must have come in with the plants…..I will be diligently killing them! It concerns me that they can attack Lily of the Valley and some other of my garden plants. Yikes……once insects move out of their region, we have an invasion! I haven’t heard anything about the Lily Beetle before but will call my Extension Service and see what they have to say. Thanks so much for the information.

    • Yes, definitely find out as much info as you can – anything you can learn to combat them successfully is valuable. They’re really tricky to get rid of and can do a ton of damage in a very short time. Hopefully your plants will be safe!

  4. Thank goodness that beetle does not look familiar. I have a lovely stand of old fashion day-lilies, the kind my grandmother called tiger lilies. I will be on the look-out.

    • If your lilies are true daylilies (Hemerocallis), the beetles will leave them alone – I sure hope your plants will be safe from harm! Definitely do keep an eye out – the adults, at least, are easy to spot because of their brilliant colouring.

    • They are really horrible; gardeners here in the city are trying their best to keep them under control, but because the beetles can overwinter in the soil in our cold climate, it’s proving to be a huge struggle. They keep coming back!

  5. I tried growing lilies a couple of years and the beetles always turned up… I dispatched them rapidly, but the damage was done. However, slugs and snails are as bad a pest on lilies too. This year I am growing some lilies in pots for the first time, so I am hoping the beetles will not appear again. My friend in the city always had lilies and we only once saw a beetle, so it’s a matter of luck here. Thankfully they don’t eat the day lilies!

  6. We have had the dreaded lily beetle here for about 15 years. The only way to protect your lilies is to inspect them daily and remove them by hand. There is a chemical available which is effective but it contains a neonicotinoid called thiacloprid which has been associated with honey bee colony collapse disorder. It may kill lily beetle but I’ m sure no gardener wants to contribute to the worrying loss of honey bees.

    • I really hope people are choosing options other than spraying – hand picking really is more effective, plus you can monitor your plants more closely at the same time for any signs of further infestation.

  7. Oh no! I was bothered with lily beetle when I grew lilies. I used to pick them off, hoping they wouldn’t fall to the ground and disappear, and squash them. But they always won in the end, so I gave up growing them. I noticed one a few weeks ago, on a fritillary – now I know why! And I must agree with Chloris – I’d rather have the bees than lilies!

  8. As I mentioned in a previous post the lily beetle is here and how! Hand picking off is the best solution however discusting that is. You must remove the ‘poo’ that contains the lavae too as that does as much damage as the parent. As Chloris says there are chemicals but I wouldn’t use them and damage other useful insects. The lily beetles here definately go for the Madonna Lilies first, followed by some American lilies and not so often seen on Regal lilies.

  9. certainly London is plagued with them – hate having to pick them off too. Asiatic lilies seem to be their fave food choice over the stargazers and arums but don’t bother with any now

  10. We have it here in the east of England, Its the revolting Larvae, hidden under black dollops of their own poo and the adult beetles that both do damage, watching for the eggs, larvae and adults and squishing them all helps.

    • I was really attracted to the bright yellow colour of those lilies – so summery and cheerful!

      I definitely hope the beetles don’t make an appearance in your garden – they’re truly nasty and will do a lot of damage!

  11. I have not seen any around here. I am sorry they have invaded your area and others. Lilies are just so beautiful and it is sad to know there are critters out there destroying them. Hugs

    • I’m really happy to hear that you don’t have any there – and I hope it stays that way! It’s really a huge shame, but maybe if we’re all work together to help prevent their spread, we can keep our lilies! 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

  12. Just discovered a mating pair on a lily in my garden outside Gibbons, AB. Now I have an emergency! Will have to look at the underside of leaves on a hundred lilies. What a nightmare, and I’ve been reading that they can move on to other plants like daylilies, peonies and roses which are all my faves and have tons in my garden. This is really horrible.

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