The red lily beetle - also known
as lilioceris lilii, scarlet lily beetle and lily leaf beetle -
invaded Calgary and area in 2009. These hungry insects can devour
an entire lily plant and pose a very real threat to our gardens and
Preventing and controlling the red
lily beetle population
You can protect your yard and
garden from the red lily beetle by taking the following steps:
- Inspect the soil around any lily bulbs or plants you
purchase/receive, particularly if it is being shipped from outside
Alberta. Overwintering adults and pupating larvae may be present in
- Hand-pick adults off plants in the early spring, and remove
larvae throughout the summer to prevent an outbreak of red lily
beetle in your garden and neighbourhood. Captured beetles may be
dropped into a bucket of soapy water to prevent escape.
- Sprinkling diatomaceous earth - an organic, silica-based
material - directly on these beetles will control them by creating
abrasions that will cause them to dry out.
Recognizing the red lily
- Bright red beetle, 6-8 mm long, rectangular body shape.
- Body narrows at the shoulder.
- Black head, legs and underside.
- Not to be confused with red ladybird beetles (ladybugs) that
have spots on their back.
- Yellow to orange soft bodies with black heads.
- Covered in slimy black fecal shield that allows them to appear
as 'bird droppings'.
- Small larvae hide on the underside of leaves.
Red lily beetle eggs on the underside
of a lily leaf
Red lily beetle
larvae underneath 'fecal shields' Photographer: Blaine
Why is the red lily beetle a
Originally from Europe and Asia,
the red lily beetle has been in Eastern Canada since 1943, but it
only recently reached Calgary.
Red lily beetles have a voracious
appetite and can completely destroy healthy lily plants. Native
lily and Fritillaria species, as well as ornamental varieties, are
susceptible to red lily beetle infestation, but daylilies are not
attacked by this pest.
Red lily beetle adults are strong
fliers and, once established, will readily spread to wherever their
host plant exists. These beetles are believed to be well adapted to
the wild lily populations in this region. Garden centres,
nurseries, home and landscape gardeners should be vigilant and
inspect planted lilies and any bulbs in soil that are received from
Here is a detailed outline of what the lily leaf beetle does
to your garden.