Tuesday, July 16

Not all wildlife is welcome.

I found this brightly coloured creature on the back of one of our lily leaves. It's a Red (or Scarlet) Lily Beetle.
It's not the best colour choice in the world if you want to go about your destructive business unnoticed. The little pest wreaks havoc on lilies and related plants such as fritillaries. Unfortunately there is a shortage of natural predators in our country and so, with few natural allies, we have to be vigilant and pick off the beetles ourselves.

When the beetle larvae hatch out they feed on the lily leaves, hiding themselves in their own frass (poo). 
Inside this unpleasant hiding place is an orange grub with a black head. The ones in the photo were given an unexpected shower to expose them.
We don't have many lilies in the garden but last year those we did have had leaves turned to a ragged mess. This one even had the nerve to try and sneak off having laid a batch of eggs. They are red - just like mum!
Be warned little lily lovers I am on red alert this year!





14 comments:

  1. Horrible things. They're so hard to catch too as they just drop if they realise you're on their case. They seem to be getting more common now, it was only a few years ago that I saw the first one, yet they're about all the time now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. According to the RHS it was by the end of 2011 that they became widespread in the UK, Jo. For years it was confined to southern England moving north by the end of 2009. The trouble is as with all introduced pests there doesn't seem to be a natural predator. I only spotted my first one either last year of the year before!

      Delete
  2. Wow you got some great photos Ann. I don't have Lilies in the garden or on the allotment so doubt I will be coming across any of these. After your description of their destructiveness I can't say I'm sorry about that!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At this rate we won't have any lilies either, Toni! ;)

      Delete
  3. I noticed some for the first time last year and they made mincemeat of my new lilies. Even my one fritillary had it's leaves chewed in the spring. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are certainly destructive, Debbie

      Delete
  4. I had loads of trouble with these horrible little blighters about 3 years ago, none last year or this in my back garden. I don't mind handling most insects but for some reason I don't touch these. The last 4 I caught were consigned to the dustbin in a sealed jam jar, revenge is sweet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THis one ended up in the dustbin too, Rooko

      Delete
  5. Thanks for that! I have got the odd one or two red beetles but also seen the black mess - now I know what to do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And were they on your lilies, Carol?

      Delete
  6. They do wreak havok don't they, but they are lovely to look at!xxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The insect version of a wolf in sheep's clothing Snowbird

      Delete
  7. Cute photos :) Mum and her offspring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NOt cute enough to be welcome, Dewberry :(

      Delete

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment - it is great to hear from you and know that there are people out there actually reading what I write! Come back soon.
(By the way any comments just to promote a commercial site, or any comments not directly linked to the theme of my blog, will be deleted)
I am getting quite a lot of spam. It isnot published and is just deleted. I have stopped sifting through it and just delete any that ends up in my spam folder in one go so I am sorry if one of your messages is deleted accidentally.
Comments to posts over five days old are all moderated.