Invasive lily leaf beetle

Japanese beetles, Emerald ash borer, so what could be next? The next invasive insect to knock on our Minnesota doors is not green this time but red. Some of the most beautiful or captivating insects that grace our doors are some of the most destructive insects that we can come into contact with and this one is out looking for lilies.

The Invasive lily leaf beetle has been found in the metro area of Minnesota and has been confirmed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. These are very tiny insects that have a taste for lilies. The adults are quite small but are very loudly red in color with a black head, legs and antenna. Since this is on the list as an invasive species, if you see it, please report it to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to the Arrest the Pest either by emailing to arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or by calling 1-888-545-6684.

These insects prefer true lilies which are in the Lilium species as well as fritillaries. They will also eat Lily of the Valley, which I think most gardeners know this plant and also eat Solomon’s seal, which is a taller, plain plant. To the MDA knowledge, these insects do not eat daylilies, canna lilies and calla lilies. The damage that you may note on any of your plants will show up as holes in leaves and they also like the flowers and flower parts of plants as well.

This insect is a native of Europe and Asia and although it has not been found in Minnesota until recently, it has been found in Wisconsin and Iowa. It has been in the United States for quite some time already with the first positive reports in 1992 in Massachusetts. It is thought that it was brought here in flower bulbs that were shipped to Montreal in 1945.

And serving as a reminder, gardeners can go online to the U of M Extension to the following website in order to help you determine what insects may be eating something in your garden or even on your houseplants: http://apps.extension.umn.edu/garden/diagnose/insect/.

This site has several categories to choose from such as indoor insects, general or curiosity insects, garden pests and tree/shrub insects. This site works well on your smart phone so any gardener can look up insects as you are out in the garden or looking at your houseplants when trying to determine what is going on with the plants. I enjoy looking at some of the insects that we don’t commonly see but that do show up from time to time in our gardens. This is particularly true of the spiders which are harmless if we leave them alone and let them do their job for catching other insects.

For those insects that we worry about eating up our gardens, there are also instructions available on how to keep the destructive pests under control in our flower and vegetable gardens. It is a really fun piece of information to use in our gardens as summer progresses and as we start to really reap the benefits of our gardens these last months of summertime.

For more information on gardening or how to become a Master Gardener, please email me at s.dejaeghere@me.com


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