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How to Kill Red Lily Leaf Beetles the Eco-friendly Organic Way

Updated on April 28, 2016

The Villains

There are sort of pretty, but they absolutely devastate short blooming Asiatic or Oriental Lilies.
There are sort of pretty, but they absolutely devastate short blooming Asiatic or Oriental Lilies. | Source

For the most part we uphold to the motto "Live and Let Live... except when it comes to Red Lily Beetles decimating our plants. They are also known as Lily Leaf Beetles, but they don't only eat the leaves. These voracious bugs, and their always eating larvae, will actually chew lilies right down to the ground. Since they start growing early in the season and take quite a while before they blossom, I have a problem with that, so on for the hunt.

Gorgeous Example of Asiatic Lily plants

Mixed Oriental Lily Bulbs (Pack of 8) - Fragrant Blooms!
Mixed Oriental Lily Bulbs (Pack of 8) - Fragrant Blooms!

You might ask why go through this battle with lily bugs? Well, this is why. The Stargazer Lilly is one of my absolute favorite flowers. You can see from this image these flowers come in different shades of pink, white, and also yellow, orange and red. They can be one color or several. Well worth the bug battle to save these beautiful blooms.


and Now... Let's Begin

Supplies you always will have on hand

Partially filled glass of water, topped with a thin film of Vegetable oil

Paper napkin or paper towel


1. Place the napkin or paper towel under the plant to catch fallen bugs.

2. Hand pick the beetles and drop into the glass of water with oil.

Repeat daily until no more beetles appear. If you are successful, you may notice less beetle infestation in the next year's bloom since at the end of the feeding period they burrow into the ground.

Note: Most beetles will drop before you can pick them. The napkin/papertowel makes it easier to locate them since they flip upside down. This allows them to get lost in the mulch or soil.

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The Simple, yet Effective, Beetle Trap

Another Warrior battles the Lily Eating Bugs


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    • SoyCandleLover profile image

      BW Duerr 20 months ago from Henrietta, New York

      Thanks for your comment! I understand the lack of movement may be in part due to the introduction of parasitic wasps. If there is no environmental backlash for that, it works for me. Thanks again.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 20 months ago from Los Angeles

      I enjoyed this hub and appreciate your organic approach. Fortunately, this destructive insect has not moved West. It appeared in New England around 2007 having been seen before that in Canada. It came from Europe and Asia. Yet another reason why plants shouldn't be transported to non-native areas without agriculture inspection.