Sunday, April 25, 2010

Acme™ lily beetle destruction technique

I've blogged before on the destructive tendencies of lily beetles. I've practically stopped growing lilies, except for one cultivar. But I don't want to give up my beautiful fritillaries :-(

And so, I am spending an inordinate amount of time at the moment, kneeling on the floor, peering. And I have discovered how to kill lots of them. Ha ha ha ha ha (maniacal laugh beloved of evil villains).
Step 1: To catch the easy ones... If you can see any of the red devils on the plant in question, quickly put your hand (or a piece of paper etc) underneath - if they see you coming, they will drop onto their backs on the floor, making them difficult to see. Having caught them in your outstretched hands, deal with them how you see fit. As an evil villain, I will naturally feed them to my subterranean pool of circling sharks.

Step 2. Some of the wee devils will be lurking around, trying to avoid looking as though they might be wanting to eat your fritillaries. They're difficult to see, sitting upside down in the undergrowth. So, shake the nearby vegetation. The lily beetles will drop to the floor. You may see one or two land, in which case deal with them how you see fit (perhaps subject them to decapitation using a butler with a sharp-edged bowler hat).

Step 3. Wait. Wait a little longer. But keep your eyes open. Soon, they will come. The dislodged devils will right themselves, and make their conspicuous way back towards the smell of their favourite food. And then you pounce. And then you deal with them how you see fit. By this point, I have had enough of devising evil genius-style methods of death (well, they always escape, don't they?). And so I crush them. Bwah hah ha hah ha haaaa.
Make sure you squish their eggs, too.

13 comments:

Joanne said...

I have no qualms about standing on the destructive beetles. Every evening I check my lillies which I grow in pots at present there are some in and some outside the greenhouse.

Lilly beetles tend to make their way to the top of the plant in the evenings and are easier to see. As you say a cupped hand works well because they fall off the plant with the slightest distrubance, then they can be dropped to the ground for squishing with pleasure.

There was a time I would leave for another day but soon learnt to investigate any red coloured insect at the first sight, even so they usually manage to leave their horrid grubs to strip my lillies of leaves and gradually reduce their productivity.

GardenJoy4Me said...

HM .. I dread the onslot of what I am facing soon .. but the evil genius that you are has given me a few tips I need .. thank you !
Let the squishing begin ? LOL
YUCK !! there has to be an easier way ?????

Sheila said...

My, my, you certainly have mastered the demise of these diabolical little creatures! They don't stand a chance, I'm sure!

Liz said...

I do not wish I jynx myself, but in the past when I've had them I must admit to feeling rather horrible having to kill such a lovely beetle - as I do killing weevils, they're so cute! (ok, I'm weird).
But yes, I can well understand why they need to be culled!

NewShoot said...

I hate these things. Especially the way the larvae cover themselves in poo as a defence mechanism. Dance on them!!!

Jo said...

A timely reminder with the fritillaries being in flower. I haven't seen any lily beetles in the garden yet this year, but I had loads at the allotment last year.

VP said...

I'm rather puzzled. I found one on my tulips the other day. I have no lilies or fritillaries in my garden, do you think they've started foraging elsewhere out of desperation?

I used the technique you suggest in point 3 (bwahhahahahahaha!)

And just like WV says, it was gones ;)

Anna said...

Thanks for the timely reminder and useful tips HM. Have not seen any red devils yet this year but keeping my beady eyes peeled on my newly planted martagon lily.

Juliet said...

Nyeh heh heh ...

VP - see my second comment on this post

The Cottage Garden Farmer said...

I'm lucky enough not to have suffered with this pest in my own garden, but my mother has it in hers and I know how destructive they are, so well done hope your methods work

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Thanks for the useful photo and the helpful advice. If I see one, I'll be ready. Nasty little buggers, deserve death.

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

(sigh) I planted loads of lilies this winter, we dont get a lot of the little blighters here in Wales - but you are not that far away, and neither is Anna - so I am expecting them in my garden shortly.

(When I lived in Hampshire I gave up growing lilies)
I hate the sensation when you squish them yurk
K

HappyMouffetard said...

It's nice to know I'm not alone. I now only have one sort of lily in the garden - 'Black beauty'. whilst the beetles do nibble it (I've picked a few off in the past few weeks), they don't seem to suffer as much as some of the oriental lilies I have grown.