Pest Alert: Red Lily Leaf Beetle

One of the things this blog can do is alert gardeners to the presence of new problems.  This is one such instance.

WSU produces Pest Alerts, and recently the Red lily leaf beetle has been found in the Seattle area.  The state is monitoring the spread of this nonnative pest, so those of you living in Washington please read this and pass it on to your gardening friends.  New Englanders have been dealing with this pest for a while, but any of you outside this region may want to keep your eyes peeled.

Please comment here if you see this insect!

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Linda Chalker-Scott

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and a Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019). In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. "The Garden Professors" Facebook page - "The Garden Professors" Facebook group - Books:

11 thoughts on “Pest Alert: Red Lily Leaf Beetle”

  1. Bleah, the icky little lily leaf beetle! I put some very nice lilies in my MA garden about 8 years ago, and pulled them all out and threw them in the trash two years after they went in, because these little red guys munched their way through them. I adore lilies, but every time I’d see one of these beetles my blood pressure would shoot up and I’d check every leaf and stem for more beetles and larvae. The beetles are pretty and destructive; the larvae, which cover themselves in their own excrement, are even more destructive and really not pretty.

  2. Hi Becky –

    They apparently eat a number of true lily species as well as fritillarias. Be sure to read the pdf file for a more complete listing of susceptible and resistant species.

  3. Linda,

    I just want to mention that the beetle present in the picture is not the lily leaf beetle (Lilioceris lilii), but Lilioceris merdigera (species isn’t present in America). L. lilii does not have red colored legs like the beetle in the picture, but L. merdigera does.
    Only the elytra (opaque wings that cover the abdomen) and the pronotum (the plate that covers the thorax) are scarlet red. The rest on the beetle is black (head, legs, thorax and abdomen. If this picture have been taken here in America, we now have a second invader!
    I am currently doing my master on this beetles, so if you ever want further information on the subject, I would be pleased to help you.

    E-mail :

  4. Alessandro, you are absolutely right. I have replaced the photo with an accurate, albeit racier, one. Thanks for catching this!

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