We have a pest problem in our garden.
Most of our plants are extremely healthy, but last year we noticed these red beetle like bugs on our various lily plants. It wasn’t long before we notice most of the leaves had holes in them and the plants were starting to look raggy.
Last year I looked up our new pest and discovered that they were called “Lily beetles”. I also found out that they’re pretty hard to get rid of.
It seems that the best method of getting rid of them is to hand pick the beetles off the plants and squish them dead. You also need to look at the underside of the leaves for a mass that looks quite a bit like dark bird poop. that’s the larvae – the part of the cycle that does the most damage – the larvae cover themselves in poop in order to hid or to be more repellent to bugs that might eat them. I guess it’s a protective coating in more ways than one.
So last year that’s what we did, we’d pick off all the beetles and poopy larvae that we could find and try to kill the pests. Our lilies started looking better but very few of them bloomed.
The same thing happened this year, but we were more on top of the problem than last year. We actually had more lily blooms this year and some of our plants look fairly healthy thanks to diligent beetle and larvae picking.
I did find out that there is another way to get rid of this dreadful pest. Neem Oil. It’s an organic pesticide. Great for us since our garden is 100% organic.
The only problem is that it’s very hard to find pure Neem oil here in Canada. Oh sure there are lots of “leaf shine’ products that contain Neem oil and I’m sure they’d work if we’d try them. Trouble is we’d go through a lot of bottles before we got rid of our lily beetle infestation!
So last week I went looking for a place that sold pure Neem oil. I found one place … I think it’s more of a hydroponic systems store, that sold pure Neem oil in 1 Litre bottles.
The store isn’t too far from us – it’s on Eastern Avenue here in Toronto. So on Saturday we took a ride over to the store and I got my Neem oil. I’m treating it like gold. I know it’s going to help us get rid of those darn lily beetle pests once and for all.
If you want to know how to use Neem oil to get rid of pests I’ll tell you. Just mix about a teaspoon of neem oil (warm it up first so it will run better) to a litre bottle of warm water. Add a squirt of dish detergent as well (the soap helps make it stick to the plants leaves).
Mix and then go out and spray it on your Lily plants or any other plants that are being invaded by pests. In the case of lily beetle infestations make sure you spray the underside of the leaves and if you have extra liquid dump it on the ground around the affected plant. Lily beetles mate and lay eggs in the soil around their feeder plants so watering the plant with a Neem oil mix might help kill off some of the eggs or baby larvae.
As I said our garden is organic and we like to have some good bugs around to help control the pests. So we won’t be spraying all of our plants with this mix as it can harm Lady Bugs and Bees. We’ll spray in the early morning when it’s cool or in the early evening when the good bugs like bees won’t be hovering around the plants.
I hope this helps if you have Lily Beetles eating all of your Lily plants.
BTW while I was doing some research on neem oil I found out that some people use it for skin care. I also read that it’s supposed to help cure psoriasis. I have a patch of psoriasis on my wrist that just won’t go away so I might rub some neem oil on the spot and see if it helps.