Alison Jane Harley

- botanical and floral artist -

Unwelcome insects in the garden

It’s not all rosy in the garden

So far today, I’ve picked thirty-seven rosemary beetles from the Rosemary and Lavender; one lily beetle and several of its slimy larvae from my Madonna lilies and two earwigs from the same lilies.

Left – Scarlet lily beetle grub (Lilioceris lilii), right – Rosemary beetle (Chrysolina americana)

I have been reliably informed that the lily beetle larvae are covered in their own poo to protect themselves from being spotted. Eugh!

Having been furious and disgusted in equal measures, I realised after some reflection that I was being a bit ridiculous. I am more than willing to proudly plonk horse poo around the roses and let the sweet little blue and great tits do their business over whatever shrub or tree they happen to be singing their socks off from – yet when it comes to a little poo covered larvae barely four millimetres in size – I almost pass out.

Here is why – even without the poo they are slimy, sneaky and can decimate my lilies overnight:

Madonna lilies –Lilium candidum) – munched and un-munched
The culprit – Scarlet Lily Beetle (Lilioceris lilii)

Unwelcome and destructive, they really are quite beautiful.

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