Sask. entomologist warns gardeners to watch for Red Lily Leaf Beetle
REGINA -- Saskatchewan’s entomologist, James Tansey, is reminding residents to be on the lookout for an invasive insect that feeds on lilies.
The Red Lily Leaf Beetle arrived in Montreal in the 1940s, and spread through eastern Canada. It has been spotted in several locations in Saskatchewan in recent years, however Tansey said he hasn’t heard any reports this year.
The beetle - known for its bright red back - eats all parts of the lily plant.
“Pretty much all lilies are on the menu, including the Prairie Lily,” said Tansey.
Local gardening centre, Dutch Growers, said the insects could become a bigger threat in the future.
“It is in Alberta and it is in Manitoba. So, things that are around us tend to eventually make their way here,” said Rachelle Hofmeister with Dutch Growers.
Hofmeister said gardeners should regularly inspect their lilies and if they do see the beetle or its larvae, it’s best to just remove it.
“If you see these, you see damage on your lilies, just squish them with your finger and that should be an effective strategy,” said Tansey.
But wearing gloves is recommended, especially when removing the larvae.
“They do this kind of weird thing where they put a fecal shield overtop of their body, to sort of hide themselves from predators,” said Hofmeister.
You can also put diatomaceous earth around the base of the plant in early spring, which Hofmeister said will dehydrate and kill the beetle, but is safe for other helpful insects.