Bugs that eat lilies

Pests On Lily Of The Valley : Bugs And Animals That Eat Lily Of The Valley Plants

A fetching spring perennial, lily of the valley is a native of temperate Europe and Asia. It thrives as a landscape plant in the cooler, moderate ranges of North America. Its sweetly fragrant small, white flowers are a harbinger of summer’s warmth. It is not a difficult plant to grow but does require some light maintenance, especially consistent water. There are few disease issues or lily of the valley pests. These are easily managed provided you know what you are looking for and how to treat the problem. Learn what pests on lily of the valley might be of concern, and how to identify and combat them.

Are There Animals That Eat Lily of the Valley?

Over time, a lily of the valley patch will spread and fill in with broad, scooping leaves and the tiny, delicate blooms. There are few animals that eat lily of the valley, as the bulbs contain a toxin that even rodents find distasteful. Even deer do not browse the leaves and flowers.

The ASPCA cautions home growers against having lily of the valley in the landscape.

The plant is extremely toxic to cats, dogs and even horses. Most wild creatures avoid the plant and its rhizomes. This woodland native produces its own toxins to prevent wild animals from eating it. The toxin can cause diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, arrhythmia and even death.

Insect lily of the valley pests are also not of much concern, although there are some crawling gastropods find the leaves rather tasty.

Potential Lily of the Valley Pests

Because of the plant’s toxicity, it is rarely bothered by any insects. However, insect pests may have a field day on the leaves and some also snack on the flowers. In hot, dry conditions, spider mites may suck sap from leaves, causing them to turn yellow or stipple.

Some gardeners claim weevils are also snacking on their lily of the valley plants, but their appearance is usually brief and does not hurt the plant. The most common and prevalent of the pests are snails and slugs. These gastropods will do quite a bit of damage to the foliage, creating ragged holes in the leaves. This does not destroy the plant, but can reduce its vigor, since leaves are important to the photosynthesis process where plants turn solar energy into carbohydrate fuel.

Treating Pests on Lily of the Valley

Slugs and snails do the most damage to the plant. In raised beds, lay copper tape around the perimeter. The pests are repelled by the metal. You may also choose to use a prepared slug bait but some of these are toxic in the garden with children and pets. Fortunately, there are several safe products on the market.

Pull away any mulch, where the pests hide and breed. You may also set traps or containers filled with beer to drown the gastropods. Begin trapping three weeks after the last frost to catch the pests. Refill traps weekly.

Alternatively, you can go out after dark with a flashlight and pick off the ravagers. Destroy them how you like, but the process is non-toxic and completely safe in the home landscape.

Garden Plot: The plants that deer might not eat

Oh, deer! Those stomachs on legs will eat almost any plant

WASHINGTON – Nancy in Silver Spring writes: “Our property backs up to parkland and we get a lot of deer. What can I plant that’s deer-resistant, colorful, and easy to maintain?”

Well, Nancy, the Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New York (where they have a lot of deer) has created a nice list of annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs that deer have mostly declined to dine on at the lushly landscaped resort.

But they also add that really hungry deer will eat almost anything, especially when the plants are young and tender. So even the most “deer-resistant” plants need to be caged or sprayed frequently with deer repellent during their first few years of life.

That’s why you were right on the money when you used the term “deer-resistant,” because very few plants could ever be called “deer-proof.”

The best deer protection is a multi-pronged approach

Despite installing the most deer-resistant plants known to exist, the Mohonk Mountain House adds that they also use a lot of deer repellent in their unfenced areas. They rotate repellents and spray them frequently to keep them effective, especially during the active growing season when the new growth that’s especially appealing and unsprayed is appearing rapidly.

They warn that the only areas guaranteed to be unmolested are the ones that are protected by professional deer fencing that’s 11 inches taller than Shaquille O’Neal.

And that’s my real advice to Nancy in Silver Spring: In situations like yours, most people eventually pay for a professional deer fence to be installed. These fences are 8 feet tall, made from a mesh that’s virtually invisible from most angles and – unlike repellents – are a one-shot deal. Don’t forget to have cattle guards or similar devices installed in the driveway or deer will walk right up and eat your doorbell.

A much less expensive option for protection of dedicated areas is a motion- activated sprinkler (the best-known brand is called “The Scarecrow” from Contech) that throws cold water on any deer (or cats, dogs, geese, etc.) that wander into the protected area. They provide excellent protection, cover as big an area as 1,200 square feet and only cost around 50 or 60 bucks. (Get it? “Bucks”? C’mon, people – don’t make me tell the Beer Nut joke!)

Biggest disadvantage: They must be turned off and drained in the winter. Water freezing up inside would damage the device.

List of plants that deer eat last

Here’s a short sample of plants that the Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New York reports that deer have (mostly) declined to dine on over an 18-year period at the lushly landscaped resort. Again, a word of warning: Once deer have finished off their preferred plants in an area, they won’t stop eating – they’ll move on to less-liked lovelies, like these. But filling a besieged garden with plants that deer will choose to eat last is a great tactic.

Ageratum, begonias, cleome, foxglove, snapdragons, vincas and four o’clocks are among the more than 70 annual bedding flowers on the list, along with strawflowers, lantana, salvia, marigolds, sweet alyssum, scented geraniums, love- in-a-mist, verbena and zinnias.

Perennials? 70 of them are on the list as well, including yarrow (whose daisy-like flowers attract lots of beneficial insects), lily of the valley, bleeding heart, Japanese and Siberian iris, evening primrose, peonies and veronica.

And if you’re tired of seeing your precious arborvitae and azaleas eaten to the ground, consider replacing them with some of the more than 75 trees and shrubs the Mountain House found to be UN-delicious to the beasts – like serviceberry, butterfly bush, English hawthorn, mountain laurel, boxwood, blue spruce, spirea, snowberry and wisteria.

See the complete list at the bottom of the page.

Garlic growers: Cut your scapes!

Were you wise enough to plant garlic in the fall? If so, be ready to cut off any scapes that have appeared. Most varieties of garlic will produce a central stalk around this time of year with a little bulge at the top – that’s the scape. Using a pair of scissors, cut just below the bulge, leaving most of the bottom portion of the stalk intact. Cutting off the scapes now will give you much bigger heads to harvest next month.

If the bulges are still small, saut

Deer in the Garden

Do you recognize the animal in this picture?

If you do…… then you need our DEER LISTS!

Nothing is more frustrating for the gardener than to see their hard work and money gobbled up by free loading deer. A little planning and understanding can help to reduce losses.

Almost any plant may be sampled by deer! They enjoy variety and frequently try new plants, especially when they are young. When food is scarce they will also expand their regular menu to include more unusual items. Deer use their sense of smell to warn them of danger. If this sense is impaired by other smells they will become nervous and leave the area.

Repellents: Plantskydd – does not need reapplication after rain and Bobbex all natural deer repellent will also help protect your plants. Both need reapplication after new growth. Blood Meal sprinkled around the plant or hung in sachets, fragrant soaps with a hole in the middle hung around the plant are also helpful.

Fencing is the ultimate solution, but can be expensive and unsightly. Low fences may change their paths, but if they know food is behind the fence, they can jump quite high or crawl under low wires. The construction does not have to be strong, as they will not push their way through a fence. Temporary fences can be put up using black plastic netting that is not very visible and held up with garden stakes.

The best solution is to select plants that are not favoured by the deer. They avoid plants with unusual characteristics such as strong flower or foliage fragrance or fuzzy/spiny leaf textures. Below is a list of plants that we feel deer will leave alone, but with the caveat that a deer will have the final say. Using these lists will help to give you a higher degree of success in having your garden coexist with deer.

We list the botanical genus name which will cover all plants starting with that name. e.g. Pinus is the Pine genus and means that all the hundreds of Pine varieties are resistant.

Disclaimer: These lists are subject to “approval” by your local deer! Use these lists to improve your chances of success in a garden shared with deer.

Hedging and Evergreen Trees

Botanical Name Common Name Botanical Name Common Name
Abies Fir Juniperus Junipers
Araucaria araucana Monkey Puzzle Picea Spruce
Cedrus True Cedars Pinus Pine
Chamaecyparis Cypress Pseudotsuga menziesii Douglas Fir
Cupressocyparis leylandii Leyland Cypress Prunus lusitanica Portuguese Laurel
Cryptomeria Japanese Cedar Taxus Yew
Eucalyptus Thuja plicata Western Red Cedar
Trachycarpus Windmill Palm

Flowering and Shade Trees

Deer will browse up to about shoulder height (6 ft.). Most flowering and shade trees begin to branch above that height and can avoid deer damage. Trees should be pruned to keep all branches out of reach of deer.

Fruit Trees

Fruit trees are also subject to browsing damage on the tips of their branches. They should be trained to branch high, out of reach of the deer. If the tree is not tall enough, it should be fenced until it grows beyond the reach of the deer.

Deer Resistant Shrubs

This Green Colour – indicates “Some Browsing possible”

Botanical Name Common Name Botanical Name Common Name
Abelia Abelia Ilex Holly
Andromeda Bog Rosemary Jasminum nudiflorum Winter Jasmine
Azalea (deciduous) Juniperus Junipers – all
Bamboo Kalmia Mountain Laurel
Berberis Barberry Kerria japonica
Buddleia Butterfly Bush Kolkwitzia Beauty Bush
Buxus Boxwood Lavatera Tree Mallow
Calluna Summer Heather Mahonia Oregon Grape
Ceanothus California Lilac Nandina Heavenly Bamboo
Cephalotaxus Japanese Plum Yew Osmanthus False Holly
Chamaecyparis Cypress Pachysandra terminalis Japanese Spurge
Choisya ternata Mexican Orange Phormium New Zealand Flax
Cistus Rock Rose Picea Spruce
Cortaderia selloana Pampas Grass Pieris Lily-of-the-Valley Shrub
Cotinus Smoke Bush Pinus Pine
Cotoneaster Potentilla
Cryptomeria Japanese Cedar Rhododendron
Daphne Rhus typhina Staghorn Sumac
Eleagnus Silverberry Ribes Flowering Currant
Erica Heather Rosmarinus Rosemary
Eucalyptus Sambucus racemosa Red Elderberry
Euonymus alatus Burning Bush Sarcococca Himalayan Sweetbox
Ferns Senecio
Forsythia Skimmia
Gaultheria shallon Salal Syringa Lilac
Genista pilosa Vancouver Gold Broom Viburnum x bodnantnse ‘Dawn’
Gunnera Chilean Rhubarb Yucca
Hamamelis Witch Hazel
Hypericum St. John’s Wort

Deer Resistant Vines

Botanical Name Common Name
Akebia Akebia
Celastrus Bittersweet
Lonicera Honeysuckle
Parthenocissus Virginia Creeper, Boston Ivy
Polygonum Silver Lace Vine

Deer Resistant Perennials

Botanical Name Common Name Botanical Name Common Name
Acanthus mollis Bears Breech Galium Sweet Woodruff
Achillea Yarrow Geranium var. Hardy Geranium
Aconitum Monkshood Gunnera
Agapanthus African Lily Helenium Sneezeweed
Agastache Hyssop Helianthemum Sun Rose
Ajuga Bugleweed Heliopsis False Sunflower
Alchemilla Lady’s Mantle Helleborus Christmas & Lenten Rose
Amsonia Blue Star Hemerocallis Day Lily
Anemone Windflower Iberis Candytuft
Aquilegia Columbine Iris
Arabis Rock Cress Kniphofia Red Hot Poker
Armeria Sea Thrift Lavandula Lavender
Artemesia Wormwood Leptinella Brass Buttons
Aruncus Goat’s Beard Leucathemum Shasta Daisy
Asarum Wild Ginger Liatris Blazing Star
Aster Lithodora
Astilbe Lobelia-Perennial Red Cardinal Flower
Aubretia Lupinus Lupine
Baptisia False Indigo Lychnis coronaria Rose Campion
Brunnera Monarda Bee Balm
Campanula Nepeta Catmint
Catananche Cupid’s Dart Oenothera Evening Primrose
Centranthus Red Valerian Oxalis
Cerastium Snow in Summer Paeonia Peony
Ceratostigma Leadwort/Plumbago Papaver Poppies
Convallaria Lily of the Valley Penstemon
Coreopsis Tickseed Perovskia Russian Sage
Corsican Mint Phlox
Crocosmia Montbretia Polemonium Jacob’s Ladder
Cyclamen Pulmonaria Lungwort
Delphinium Rudbeckie Black-eyed Susan
Dianthus Carnations Sagina Scotch & Irish Moss
Dicentra Bleeding Hearts Salvia Sage
Digitalis Foxgloves Santolina Lavender Cotton
Doronicum Leopard’s Bane Saponaria Soap Wort
Echinacea Coneflowers Sedum
Echinops Globe Thistle Stachys Lamb’s Ears
Epimedium Barrenwort Thymus Thyme
Eryngium Sea Holly Tiarella Foam Flowers
Euphorbia Wood Spurge Verbascum
Ferns Veronica Speedwell
Gallardia Blanket Flower Zantedeschia Calla

Deer Resistant Annuals

Botanical Name Common Name
Ageratum Floss Flower Good for borders
Argyranthemum Marguerite Daisy
Anthirrhinum Snapdragon
Artemisia Silver Mound Basket stuffer
Aster Cut flower
Begonia – Fibrous Easy to grow, sun or shade
Begonia – Tuberous May browse
Brachycome Swan River Daisy Basket stuffer
Calendula Pot Marigold Very easy, self seeds
Campanula Bell Flower
Catharanthus Madagascar Periwinkle
Clarkia amoena Godetia
Cleome Spider Flower
Cosmos Easy to grow, bushy
Cynarea Artichoke Also a vegetable
Dahlia Colourful, Some brousing
Dianthus Pinks
Dusty Miller Can over-winter
Eschscholzia californica California Poppy
Euryops Needs sun
Felicia amelloides Blue Marguerite
Gaillardia Blanket Flower
Gazania Needs full sun
Geranium – Scented
Helianthus Sunflower
Herbs Most culinary types
Ipomea Moonflower
Limonium Statice
Lobularia martima Alyssum
Marigolds Some browsing
Matthiola incana Stocks
Mimulus Monkey Flower
Myosotis Forget-Me-Not
Nepeta Creeping Charlie Basket stuffer
Nicotiana Flowering Tobacco
Osteospermum African Daisy
Papaver rhoeas Shirley Poppy
Ricinus Castor Oil Plant Seeds are very poisonous
Rudbeckia Black Eyed Susan Some browsing
Salvia Victoria Blue
Scaevola Blue Fan Basket stuffer
Senecio Dusty Miller
Solanum jasminoides Potato Vine
Statice Statice
Verbena Verbena Basket stuffer
Zinnia Zinnia Needs heat, cut flower

Deer Resistant Bulbs – Summer Blooming

Botanical Name Common Name
Agapanthus Lily-of-the-Nile
Amaryllis belladonna Naked Lady May be tender outdoors
Begonia – Tuberous
Anenome May browse
Brodiaea Grass Nut, Queen Fabiola
Ixia African Corn Flower
Oxalis Shamrock

Deer Resistant Bulbs – Spring Blooming

Botanical Name Common Name
Allium Ornamental Onion
Brodiaea Grass Nut, Queen Fabiola
Chiondoxa Glory-of-the-Snow
Colchicum Autumn Crocus
Eranthis Winter aconite
Galanthus Snowdrops
Ixia African Corn Flower
Leucojum Snowflake
Muscari Grape Hyacinth
Narcissus Daffodil Must have in any “Deer Garden”
Ornithogalum Star of Bethlehem
Oxalis Shamrock
Puschkina Russian Snowdrop
Scilla Bluebell
Triteleia uniflora Spring Star Flower Also called Ipheion uniflorum

Deer Favourites

Plants that should not be considered in a deer garden are Roses, Japanese Azaleas, Tulips, Pansies, Primroses.

What Eats Water Lilies?

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Water lilies are flowering, aquatic plants that come in a variety of bloom colors. Water lilies depend on visiting insects to pollinate flowers. However, some insect pests attack water lilies. Several animals also like eating these plants.


The black aphid and aquatic leaf beetle both feed on water lilies, according to Colorado State University Extension. Animals such as beavers, ducks and deer also eat parts of the water lily. Fish, such as grass carp, sometimes eat water lilies as well.


Aphids suck sap from plant tissue, leaving water lilies yellow or brown with distorted shapes. Aquatic leaf beetles chew holes in the leaves, causing stippling. Larger animals eat water lily leaves, seeds or roots. Heavy feeding that removes most of the leaf may damage water lilies, especially over the course of two to three years.


In a pond garden, keep aphids at bay by spraying lilies with a strong stream of water. Remove aquatic leaf beetle larvae by hand. In both cases, remove severely infested plants to avoid spreading. Put up fencing or plant additional preferred plants as a deterrent to other animals. Contact your local county extension agency or department of natural resources regarding trapping, removing or killing larger water garden pests, such as the muskrat.

Last Updated on April 23, 2019

Common Lily Pests

Insects, Mites, and Other Pests

Normally, lilies are very easy to grow and take very little care. However, there are on occasion, some instances and conditions that need investigation to figure out what, if anything, is happening and I hope this article helps you.

In certain circumstances, lilies are prone to attack by several animal, insects, mites, nematodes, and other pests of all different sizes…from deer, elk, rodents to microscopic mites. The presence or absence of a pest depends on the region, climate zone in which the plants are grown, alternative or IPM (Integrated Pest Management) methods used, and what sort of treatments have been used (foliar or above ground, soil treatments, and systemic chemicals), specifically non-selective treatments or chemicals. However, you must understand that not all alternatives and chemicals are a 100% solution for every pest or problem, but should be used together. The best plan of attack is to use an Integrated Pest Management program, whether dealing with lily pests or any other plant pest for that matter. Alternatives to chemicals may work for several situations or pest, however, they are intended for a specific problem and can do more damage to your lily or plant if not used correctly. Be careful when using non-selective chemical or alternatives to chemicals, you can also kill your natural predators! One can be assured that insect, mites, and other pests are never as devastating as diseases such as Botrytis, Fusarium, or viruses, which can destroy whole crops and garden plantings in a very short period of time.


The most important insect or “bug” pests are aphids. These need to be controlled at all costs and as soon as they are noticed! Few insects breed more rapidly and spread viruses fast, so every measure should be taken to eradicate them on their first appearance, eggs included. This is crucial if one is growing varieties or species known to be susceptible to virus.

All species of aphids that colonize lilies not only spread virus disease, but they also debilitate the plants physically, causing twisted leaves and flower buds along with stem distortion.

Aphids produce their young aggressively in large numbers. Remember, this is nature and all things in nature live by three rules…1.) Reproduce, 2.) Eat, 3.) Survive. On an infested plant one can often see large female aphids surrounded by scores of tiny offspring. These insects move by crawling and at times also produce winged migrant offspring that can fly for surprisingly long distances to colonize other plantings.

Granular systemic insecticides are the best way to control aphids and will not harm beneficial microbial or insect predators in the soil. When watered into the soil, the insecticide is taken up by the roots and absorbed through the conducting tissues of the plants. The aphids, being sucking insects, are then killed by the poisoned sap. This class of control is particularly effective in container plantings where the chemical remains concentrated longer. Systemic insecticide sprays, should be applied at the first sign of an aphid attack and thereafter on a regular basis until the pest is eradicated. They can normally be combined with a fungicide, but check the label first. Always read and follow label directions carefully.

The systemic insecticide Orthene (e.g., acephate) has been used quite successfully for aphid control when mixed with water at a 1% solution. Contrary to some internet articles and other beliefs, its’ systemic action lasts for about ten days and can only be achieved by applying the mixture directly to the leaves. Malathion is a contact insecticide not a systemic. It will also destroy mites and any eggs that on the plant.

Mineral oil sprays can help reduce virus spread in many crops, including lilies. The film of oil kills the aphids and their eggs by smothering them a nd provides the lily leaf surface with a thin, protective barrier against near future invasions thus preventing Aphids from transmitting the disease through their style by clogging them. Oil sprays are considered to be somewhat effective in controlling viruses in commercial plantings. The weekly sprays used by most commercial growers may not be practical for home gardeners, but those with large lily plantings may find the effort worthwhile.

Be aware that oil spraying should be avoided during the heat of the day, when it may produce leaf scorch and distortion; try to do it just after sunrise or before sundown. A light summer oil, used at about 1 to 2 percent dilution, is effective. Oils are quite safe to use and can be combined with most insecticides and fungicides. There are various other systemic and contact insecticides that I will address in a future article, but these are the most common. A variety of products are available for fumigating greenhouses and I do not recommend this method for the home gardener. Too dangerous! Aphids, as well as a variety of other pests, are particularly troublesome in greenhouses, where the environment is perfect for their increase and their natural predators tend to be non-existent.

Insecticides available on the market change continually, but all must be used with the utmost care and caution. Always use rubber gloves and protective clothing; many insecticides can be absorbed through the skin and cause neurological damage.

Any spray can be dangerous to use on tender young seedlings. For this reason, it is better to control aphids, which are very attracted to seedlings, with a granular systemic insecticide, which is sprinkled on the soil and watered in. If aphids are continually moving into the planting from an outside source, efforts to control them are unlikely to be effective, unless the outside source can be treated, too. In extreme cases, hybridizers and other enthusiasts may grow lilies in aphid-proof screen houses; however, aphids can be carried into such structures on clothing or tools, so a spray program should be maintained or use insect predators, such as Preying Mantis. Migrant aphids can be inhibited from moving between plants by barriers of other vegetation or gauze; the barrier must exceed the height of the lilies.

Finally, aphids overwinter by laying eggs, which are produced in the migrant phase. It is thus important to destroy any dead plant material that may harbor overwintering eggs.

Deer, hares, rabbits

These herbivores often nibble on young growth, buds, flowers, seedpods, and other plant parts; however, they are seldom seriously destructive. In rural areas gardens can be protected by deer- and rabbit-proof fences, adequately maintained. The presence of a dog often deters deer from invading, and many cats will prey on rabbits and rodents.

Chemical controls and repellents, trapping, and shooting offer only temporary solutions. However, a fairly new repellent is now available that works very well. Fend Off Deer and Rabbit Repellent Clips are now available from us on line. Made from garlic and soybean oil, they will last for up to eight months. Foul-smelling concoctions, both homemade and commercial, are sometimes effective against deer. The material is placed in muslin sacks and suspended around the plantings.

Leatherjackets, wireworms, and millipedes

These groups of underground pests can cause damage and losses in lilies and other crops. All are prevalent in grassland and weed areas.

Leather jackets are the larvae of the crane fly or daddy-long-legs (Tipulidae). They are sluggish, legless, dull-colored brownish creatures that may reach 3.75 centimeters (1.5 inches) in length.

Wire worms are the larvae of click beetles. They are slender, smooth, tough, and wiry creatures, measuring up to 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) in length. They are golden yellow and have six very short legs. These pests burrow into bulbs.

Millipedes are dull-colored, sluggish creatures with many legs. They curl up when disturbed. All these underground pests can be controlled by dusting the ground with benzene hexachloride (BHC) or Bromophos.

A nonchemical control involves baiting with slices of potato, carrot, or other root vegetable placed below the surface of the soil. These traps can be skewered on a stick to mark their position and lifted a few days later, when the attached pests can be destroyed.

Lily leaf beetle (Red Lily Beetle)

Long prevalent and withstanding in Europe, the lily leaf beetle (Lilioceris lilii) or Red Beetle has been reported in eastern North America, the eastern and Northern U.S., and eastern Canada. The larvae and adult beetles feed on the leaves of lilies and other liliaceous plants, including Convallaria (lily of the valley) Fritillaria. Both life stages have exceptionally voracious appetites and can devour entire plants within two hours!
The larva is a humpbacked, dirty yellow grub with a dark head, repulsively covering itself in dark, slimy excrement. Yuk! The adult is up to 8 millimeters (0.25 inch) long and bright scarlet with black legs and antennae. The eggs are laid on the underside of the foliage. The following controls are effective…

Sorry, but the best and most effect control is with chemicals:

Spray plants and soil with contact and systemic insecticides; both are effective. Products containing neem (Bon-Neem, Azatin), a botanical insecticide, have been shown to kill very young larvae but must be applied every five to seven days after egg hatch. Products containing the systemic imidacloprid are providing effective control applied either as a foliage spray or soil drench depending on label instructions.

Imidacloprid is the active ingredient in Marathon and Merit and one of the active ingredients in Bayer Advanced Rose and Flower Insect Killer for home gardeners. Products containing spinosad, a microbial insecticide, are effective on larvae. Spinosad is sold as Conserve and Entrust for commercial growers and Monterey Garden Insect Spray, BULLS-EYETM and others for home gardeners.

Drench soil with an insecticide such as Orthene (e.g.,acephate) to kill the mature larvae that live just under the soil surface in winter. Also, avoid transporting infested soil to other sites.

Inspect and beware of imported bulbs.

Catch adult beetles between the fingers and smash them. Yuk!

Lily thrips

The adult lily thrip (Liothrips vaneeckii) is very tiny and black in color. The larva is salmon pink and minute. The adults and larvae live out their entire life cycle in the bulb. Feeding seems to be localized at the bases of the scales, where it seriously weakens the bulb, rendering it flabby. This allows the entry of bacteria and fungi, frequently resulting in the bulb rotting away. The following controls can be used:

Treat bulbs with hot water treatment at 44 C (111°F) for one hour to eradicate the pest.

Dust bulbs with benzene hexachloride (BHC). Wash or dip bulbs in a solution of an insecticide such as Orthene, mineral oil, Neem, Marathon or Merit.

Lily Weevil

The lily weevil (Agasphaerops nigra) is a native of western North America from northern California to Vancouver Island. It has been reported both on native lilies of that region and on cultivated forms of Lilium longiflorum (Trumpet and Easter lily).

The larvae are minute, whitish, legless grubs with chestnut-brown heads. They burrow into the lily stem and bulb. Adult weevils emerge in March and April, feeding on the leaves of plants.

Systemic insecticides, such as Orthene, Merrit, or Marathon are highly effective in controlling weevils.


Many species of nematodes or eel worms inhabit soils everywhere, regardless of region or zone, and can only be detected or seen with a microscope. Some are harmless or even beneficial to plants, but others are destructive. The most harmful to lilies are the root lesion or meadow nematode and the leaf-lesion nematode. These microscopic pests cause serious damage to lily crops in some regions if their populations are not under control.
Nematodes penetrate root tissues, killing cells as they go. They move inside the root, feeding, laying eggs, and destroying additional cells. The roots become soft and flabby, eventually succumbing to infection that moves into the basal plate, turning it into mush.

River water often carries nematodes, which can then enter croplands through irrigation. These pests also host bacteria; some species even carry virus diseases. Nematode infestation causes stunting of growth and can severely reduce commercial production. Crops parasitized by nematodes are seldom uniformly affected.

The following controls are used for nematodes:

Keep the foliage as dry as possible to control foliar nematodes by preventing movement of the organisms. Systemic insecticides are very effective. Treat bulbs with hot water at 44°C (111°F) for one hour. Fumigate soil with methyl bromide, chloropicrin, and Vapam (e.g., Metamsodium). This is a highly successful technique in commercial plantings, but may not be suitable for the home gardener. Very dangerous stuff, here! Steam sterilization of greenhouse soils is very important.

Avoid planting lilies continuously in the same site; this prevents harmful nematode populations from building up in the home garden. Apply a granular nematicide such as Nemacur fenamiphos (e.g., fenamiphos) when planting bulbs.

Try adding carnivorous nematodes to the soil.

Pheasant and Quail

These birds can develop the habit of pecking emerging shoots in very early spring. They may also peck down to destroy bulbs during cold periods when other food is scarce. Control should be restricted to trapping or shooting the birds only when damage is severe. Poison grains are strictly outlawed in most areas and should never be used to control pheasants and quail. There are other methods…try placing a bucket or some other sort of covering over the bulbs.


Mice and voles often devour lily bulbs, especially when their populations are poorly controlled by animal and bird predators. Moles do not eat vegetation, their diet consists of grubs and worms. If moles are active in an area, mice and voles often use the mole tunnels to get access to bulbs. Traps and poison baits are effective controls; in the home garden, a predatory cat or dog can be of great service.
Squirrels and chipmunks sometimes learn to prey on garden bulbs. The best control is to plant bulbs some distance from trees, since these pests do not like to venture far from the safety of their homes.
Several species of gophers are serious pests in lily plantings in western North America. They love all bulbs and can devour great numbers in a season. Trapping is the most effective way of controlling gophers.

Toxic Principle The common Easter lily, the tiger lily, Asiatic or Japanese lily, and the numerous Lilium hybrids, and day lilies (Hemerocallis spp.) are highly toxic to cats causing nephrotoxicity that can prove to be fatal. The toxin responsible for the nephrotoxicity of lilies has not been identified. All parts of the plants are poisonous to cats, but especially the flowers. Deaths have been reported in cats after ingestion of only two leaves. Dogs, rats and rabbits were not affected after they were fed high doses of Easter lily experimentally. Nephrotoxicity is known to occur in Britain, Norway and Japan following the ingestion of the lily known as bog asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum and N. asiaticum). Consumption of the flowers in particular causes renal tubular necrosis in cattle, suggesting that Lilium species also contain similar toxins. Description The genus Lilium has approximately 100 species that are indigenous to Europe and Asia and North America. All species grow from bulbs consisting of overlapping fleshy scales that do not encircle the bulb as in the onion-type bulb. Leaves are arranged in spirals or whorls on the erect stems, and vary from grass-like, linear to lanceolate. The inflorescences consist of solitary flowers, racemes or umbels, with flowers being held erect, horizontal or pendent, and are generally large, showy and cup or funnel-shaped. Flower colors include white, yellow, orange, red, or maroon with frequent spotting on the inner surfaces of the petals. (Figures 1, 2) Numerous hybrids have been developed and are widely available commercially. The most common is the Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum)
Gastrointestinal Vomiting and excessive salivation
Treatment Cats suspected of eating lilies should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible after the plant was consumed. Gastrointestinal decontamination and fluid therapy is essential for preventing the nephrotoxicity. Vomiting, should be induced if the plant has been consumed within the last 1-2 hours. Activated charcoal with a cathartic should be given to decontaminate the gastrointestinal tract. Fluid therapy should be initiated to maintain renal function and prevent anuria. Fluid therapy should be continued for at least 24 hours. Once the cat has developed anuric renal failure, peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis will be necessary to try and save the animal.
Renal System Within 3 hours of consuming 1-2 leaves or flower petals of the lily, cats start to vomit and salivate excessively. The cats become depressed, anorexic, with the initial vomiting and salivation tending to subside after 4-6 hours. Approximately 24 hours later, proteinuria, urinary casts, isosthenuria, polyuria and dehydration develop. Vomiting may recur at this stage. A disproportionate increase in serum creatinine as compared to blood urea nitrogen is a significant indicator of lily poisoning. As the cat develops, renal failure, anuria, progressive weakness, recumbency and death occur.
Diagnosis There has been no specific nephrotoxin identified in lilies to date, and so a presumptive diagnosis is made based upon the finding of the cat eating lily leaves or flowers, and the development of acute renal failure.
Special Notes All members of the lily family, and especially the Eastyer lily should be considered highly toxic to cats.

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