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I am hoping you can help with a bug issue I have with my lilies. For the past 4 years I have had this bad infestation of bugs on my lilies. Last year I sprayed almost daily, an all-natural product I purchased. It might have worked for a bit in the beginning of the season but eventually the bugs took over and ate my lilies to the ground. I'm assuming I need to use something stronger. I am open to any suggestions. I love your weekly series! Thank You. Laura, Niantic

Answer

I am hoping you can help with a bug issue I have with my lilies. For the past 4 years I have had this bad infestation of bugs on my lilies. Last year I sprayed almost daily, an all-natural product I purchased. It might have worked for a bit in the beginning of the season but eventually the bugs took over and ate my lilies to the ground. I'm assuming I need to use something stronger. I am open to any suggestions. I love your weekly series! Thank You. Laura, Niantic I'm assuming you are talking about the Red Lily Beetle that is eating your lilies. Unfortunately, there is no natural predator for this beetle in the United States. My honest recommendation is to remove the lilies and plant other low maintenance perennials in the garden instead; there are many other beautiful plants available. If you must have lilies, you might have temporary relief by doing two things:

1) Even though it takes lots of time and vigilance, you can pick off the beetles by hand and squash them in your fingers. Be careful not to drop the squashed beetles back into your garden, because they may not be dead, and

2) Dig up the soil about (2" deep) for several feet around the plants and throw it away. This is where the beetles hide. I do not advocate the spraying of any kind of pesticide in the garden because whatever you spray you will kill other beneficial insects that could help in controlling the beetle. If I can be of assistance in suggesting perennials to replace your lilies, please get in touch with me.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.

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