Help us achieve our goals:
make a donation »
Join the RHS today and
support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
Join the RHS today and support our charity
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
Lilies (Lilium species and hybrids), Giant lilies (Cardiocrinum species) and fritillaries (Fritillaria species) can be extensively defoliated by the common and widespread insect known as lily beetle or red lily beetle.
Common name Red lily beetle or lily beetleScientific name Lilioceris liliiPlants affected Lilies (Lilium) fritillaries (Fritillaria)Main symptoms Foliage is eaten by red beetles and their black excrement-coated grubsMost active Late March-October
Lily beetle and its larvae are leaf-eating insects of lilies and fritillaries. The adult beetles are very occasionally found on other plants but lilies and fritillaries are the only plants on which eggs are laid and the grubs develop. Apart from spoiling the plants' appearance, attacks in early summer can result in undersized bulbs developing, which may not flower next year. Lily beetle has become widespread in the UK over the past three decades.
Seen the lily beetle? We would like to know.
As part of RHS research we would like to know where the lily beetle has been seen.
Please submit your records via our lily beetle survey (expected time to complete survey = two minutes).
Thank you to everyone who has submitted records – read a blog about the surveys
Watch an animated map of the results from the lily beetle survey (links to YouTube)
Most gardeners first become aware of the presence of lily beetle when their plants are stripped of foliage. Look out for;
Where only a few lilies and fritillaries are being grown, the plants should be regularly inspected from late March onwards so that adult beetles, larvae and eggs can be removed by hand. The lily 'Defender Pink' is advertised as lily beetle tolerant.
Pesticides for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining pesticides available to gardeners)
Red lily beetle overwinters as adult beetles in soil, leaf litter and other sheltered places. This could be anywhere, not necessarily in the vicinity of lilies and fritillaries. Consequently, there is no advantage in attempting to treat the soil below lily plants. The beetles begin emerging on sunny days in late March and April when they seek out the foliage of host plants.
Eggs are laid in small batches on the underside of leaves during April to mid-summer. The eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the foliage. When fully fed, the larvae go into the soil to pupate. The next generation of adult beetles emerges from mid-summer onwards. These beetles add to the feeding damage but there is only one generation a year and these late summer adults will not mate and lay eggs until the following year.
Alder leaf beetle Asparagus beetle Blue mint beetle Broad been seed beetle Bulbs: plantingCitrus and Asian longhorn beetles Figwort weevils Flea beetles on brassicas Fuchsia flea beetle Ground beetles and rove beetles Lilies: growing in containersLily diseases Pollen beetles Protect your garden https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/plant-health-in-gardens/protect-your-gardenRaspberry beetle RHS lily groupRHS statement on pesticides in horticulture Rosemary beetle Viburnum beetle Vine weevil Waterlily pests Willow leaf beetles
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
Brian99 on 08/07/2015
This comment has been reported and is currently under moderation.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9