How can you get rid of red lily beetle?

So how do you kill the scarlet lily beetle? This is quite possibly the best question I have asked this summer. Why, because my prized Nepalese lilies are covered in them and I have already spent over an hour this morning popping and squishing both the red adults and their evil looking larval children. My first recommendation is to wear gloves when commencing this course of action but unfortunately I saw red (how appropriate) as I cast my eyes over the ravaged mess that was once luxuriant foliage.

The problem with lily beetles is that when they are disturbed, they have this irritating habit of dropping to the ground and lying motionless on their backs. This makes it the devils own job to try and find them if your lilies are growing in the ground. Furthermore, if left unchecked, lily beetles will couple frantically and lay their eggs hidden from view on the underside of the lilies leaves.

In a further attempt to avoid discovery, the dull orange larvae will first hatch, then cover themselves with excreta to deter predators allowing themselves to feast on both the lily leaves and flowers with impunity!

Once they have had their fill they will drop to the floor and bury themselves in the soil beneath your plants in order to pupate before hatching out in their scarlet adult form. In this manner they are more than capable of producing multiple generations in a single year. This is why it is important to regularly check your lily plants late in the season, even when there are no longer any flowers. You really cannot take your eye of the ball with regards to this.


Because of the juveniles effective camouflage and the adults capacity to hid and drop out of site, squashing lily beetles as a control method may not be particularly practical, although it can me extremely satisfying. As a far more effective measures go - and particularly with heavy infestations - you may need to apply a systemic insecticidal spray.

While this may not be an environmentally ethical method of controlling lily beetle, at least it will work, but I will advise that you do not apply this group of chemicals to you plants while they are in flower, otherwise beneficial pollinating insects can be seriously affected.

Alternatively, use a contact insecticide such as Permethrin, one of the Pyrethroid insecticides. Just be aware that you will need to apply Permethrin on a regular basis and it will only kill what it touches. As mentioned before, do not spray the flowers as again, it will kill beneficial pollinating insects.

For related articles click onto the following links:
ATLAS BEETLE - Chalcosoma atlas


Bam Marceniuk-statz said...

Last week I started seeing the red beetles for the first time this year ,Last year they ate everything ...This year one day i would see one then two then five and so on . well my mother-in-law told me to wet the lily's with water then put cayenne pepper on the leafs and its been five days and no beetle's and the lily's are going good ...Wish me luck maybe I might get a lily this year ...We will see

Guess Who said...

Most of my lily buds were all shriveled up and I thought it was some fungus. Today I have a few Oriental Reds in bloom and I saw small beetles the same bright red as the flower. I am in Pennsylvania and this is the first year I have seen these beetles. I can see from now on it will not be my last. Another pest "accidentally"invading American gardens.

E J Chesnutt said...

I am in Halifax, Nova Scotia and they invaded and destroyed my lilies last summer and again this summer. I will try to companion plant the turtle head plant (if I can find it) as we are banned from using pesticides.

Gallant said...

We live on the NS border and we have discovered these pests in our lilies recently. Hoping squishing them does the trick.

Chuckez said...

I am in Sounthern New York State and have never seen these until now. Caught a bout 8 of them mating and ruined their fun. Then found their lava and did what i could with those. I will need to spray. Only found them on one group of Lilies. I hope that's it.....

Dar R said...

I just found a bunch of these this past weekend while cleaning out my flower beds. I too squashed them and ruined their fun. I wonder if sunlight dish soap in water, sprayed on them will work? It seems to repel earwigs so might give it a try. I live in Nappan, NS (Just outside of Amherst)

Novaplay said...

I just sprayed the little buggers with a mixture of water dish soap and olive oil. They fell right off and it washed most of the larva off as well. Fingers crossed lets hope it works.