If you grow lilies in New England, and have lily leaf beetles feeding on them, the University of Rhode Island would like your help. Lily growers in New England are very familiar with the beautiful scarlet red beetles (Fig. 1), and their not-so-beautiful larvae (Fig. 2), that defoliate their lilies. The University of Rhode Island (URI) Biological Control Lab is researching natural enemies of the lily leaf beetle. Small parasitic insects were established in lily plots in Cumberland, RI, and Wellesley, MA. URI researchers hope that the insects will disperse naturally from these release sites, eventually reducing problems with the lily leaf beetle throughout New England.
Unsure if the beetles or larvae you have seen in your garden are the Lily Leaf Beetle? View our Photo Identification Guide
URI would like to track these parasitic insects by collecting the large larvae covered with excrement (brown blobs) that you find on your lilies. They will dissect the larvae to look for the parasitic insects. If you have larvae in your yard, and wouldn’t mind sending them to URI please use the following instructions to send them to Lisa Tewksbury at the URI Department of Plant Sciences or contact her for more information.
Mailing instructions: Please put about 10-20 of the largest larvae you can find (preferably fourth instars: Fig. 2), and some lily leaves into a rigid container with a lid. Please do not add any water; the lily leaves will provide some moisture. Two suggestions for good sturdy containers are cottage cheese or yogurt containers. Label the lid with your name, complete address, and the date that you collected the larvae. Please tape container closed so that the larvae don’t escape! Include your email address and we will send you the results.
Dept. of Plant Sciences,
9 E. Alumni Ave. Room 210C Woodward Hall,
University of Rhode Island,
Kingston, RI 02881
Phone: (401) 874-2750