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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Red Lily Beetle: 17 Facts You Won't Believe!

Read more amazing red lily beetle facts on Kidadl

The red lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii), also known as scarlet lily beetle and lily leaf beetle, belongs to the family Chrysomelidae. Edmund Reitter, an Australian entomologist, described the Lilioceris genus in 1912. This genus belongs to the Criocerinae subfamily and the Criocerini tribe. These beetles play a part in horticulture due to their influences on lily cultivation. There are more than 100 species, of which 80 of them occupy Asia. The Lilioceris beetles are holometabolous with complete metamorphosis. The tribe Criocerini has shining leaf beetles and consists of Lilioceris and Crioceris genera. Criocerinae subfamily consists of Lemini and Criocerini tribes. The scarlet lily beetle has black underparts and red elytra. They camouflage in their surroundings using the thanatosis defense mechanism and  Stridulation. The Chrysomelidae consists of more than 37,000 species within over 2,500 genera making this family commonly encountered biggest beetle family. The scarlet lily beetle feeds on flowers, leaves, buds, and stems. These beetles are considered pests in temperate climates. Neem oil is considered to be one of the pests or biological control products.

If these facts about red lily beetle were interesting then you can also check out facts about the Christmas beetle and jewel beetle here.

Red Lily Beetle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a red lily beetle?

The red lily leaf beetle (Lilioceris lilii) is a leaf beetle of the Order Coleoptera and Phylum Arthropoda. As these beetles develop only on true lilies, they are called lily leaf beetle. They camouflage in their surroundings using the thanatosis defense mechanism and Stridulation. They squeak when they are unable to escape predators, which startles their attacker. A fecal shield builds around the beetle larvae which allows them to stay safe from predators but parasitic wasps can locate the beetle larvae. Fritillaria and Lilium are the primary lily plants affected by the red lily beetle. Some secondary specimens are lily of the valley, hosta, and Soloman's seal. The most vulnerable of lilies are the Asiatic lilies and some oriental lilies provide resistance.

What class of animal does a red lily beetle belong to?

The red lily leaf beetle (Lilioceris lilii) belongs to the class Insecta of animals.

How many red lily beetles are there in the world?

The exact number of red lily leaf beetle population is not known. There are around 35,000 species of beetles around the world.

Where does a red lily beetle live?

The red lily beetle location range includes the indigenous regions of Asia and Europe. It is believed that these species were introduced in 1943 through lily bulbs importation in North America. They were first found in Montreal, and then in 1992, appeared in Massachusetts and spread across Canada. By the year 2012, they occupied all New York and Washington states and all six New England states. They are found from Maritime provinces extending through to Manitoba in Canada. They spread till Albata as per 2001 data and there has been a full infestation in Edmonton, Ab area in 2017.

What is a red lily beetle's habitat?

The adult beetles' habitat range is compost heap, leaf pile, stones, and temperate climates.

Who do red lily beetles live with?

The red lily leaf beetle lives in groups.

How long does a red lily beetle live?

The adults live up to two to three months.

How do they reproduce?

The red lily leaf beetle remains overwinter in the soil or ground and then comes out in summer. These beetles lay eggs and also completes the life cycle on true lilies (Lilium species) or lily bulbs. The adult beetles are commonly found in cool and moist environments. In their life cycle, they emerge in the spring season to mate and feed. In each season females can lay 450b eggs on the leaves' underside. She then arranges the red-orange and brown eggs along the midrib in a narrow line for more cover. These eggs hatch into brown, orange, or yellow young larvae in one to two weeks' time. Larvae feed on a plant for 24 days, they start from the underside of leaves and work up their way to the rest of the plant. The preferred feeding location is either at the node where stem and leaves meet or underneath the leaf.  The larvae then drop to the ground or soil to pupate in a soil cocoon that is bound with saliva in a burrow. They then emerge from March to June as adults in 20 days and continue feeding till fall. In one year, there can be more than one cycle.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the red lily leaf beetle has not yet been evaluated.

Red Lily Beetle Fun Facts

What do red lily beetles look like?

The adult red lily leaf beetle (Lilioceris lilii) has long legs and antennae. The adult beetles have shiny and bright scarlet-colored elytra or harder forewings. The eyes, antennae, legs, undersides, and head of the adults are all black.  The adults have slim thorax, a wide abdomen, and large eyes. Each antenna of the adults has 11 segments. The thorax has two grooves and the eyes are notched. These species may sometimes be confused with Pyrochora serraticornis (cardinal beetles) as even these beetles have black undersides and red elytra. This color of the underside makes these species hard to spot by predators. However, they can be differentiated by their wing cases. These cardinal beetles have long, narrow, dull, and flatter wing cases whereas lily leaf beetles have rounder, shiner, and dimpled wing cases. They are also sometimes confused with unspotted ladybirds, which have a narrow body shape. Larvae is orange, yellow, or brown colored with a slug-like appearance.

The red lily beetle or lily leaf beetle larvae are the most difficult to get rid of than the adults.

How cute are they?

The red lily leaf beetles are tiny and brightly colored and are considered cute.

How do they communicate?

Adult red lily leaf beetles communicate using pheromones, chemicals, and sound.

How big is a red lily beetle?

Adult beetles are 0.25-0.37 in (6-9 mm) in length. These species are almost 11 times smaller than the biggest ground beetle. These beetles are also almost half the size of blister beetles.

How fast can red lily beetles move?

The exact speed of the lily red beetle species is not known.

How much does a red lily beetle weigh?

There is no data on the weight of the red beetle. However

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name given to the male and female red beetle.

What would you call a baby red lily beetle?

There is no specific name given to the baby red lily beetle.

What do they eat?

Adults and larvae both feed on lily plants, foliage, stems, leaves, buds, and flowers in garden and forest regions. They can damage the hosts within no time. These beetles attack Fritillaria and Lilium flower specimens. Asiatic lilies are also affected. Few other flower specimens that are affected by these beetles are flowering tobacco (Nicotiana), potato (Solanum tuberosum), Convallaria majalis, Polygonatum, Hosta, and hollyhock (Alcea).

Are they harmful?

Red beetles are not harmful to humans but are hazardous to lilies and a dangerous pest in your garden.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these beetles would make good pets. They are considered pests and destroy lilies in no time. They thrive in an environment with flowers and gardens.

Did you know...

There are no natural predators of these beetles. However, researchers concluded that these beetles are under control in Europe due to five parasitic wasps and a fly.

The origins of these beetles are not clear but are found across Asia, Middle East, Europe, and North Africa.

What damage does the red lily beetle cause?

The majority of damage is caused by red beetle larvae. The larvae not only eat the underparts of a leaf but also the stem, buds, and flowers of a plant. Larvae leave behind large oval holes at the center of leave and also chew up the whole leaf and leaves behind only the stem. Since the larvae hide in their excrement, it is difficult to spot them on a plant and destroy them.  Even adults feed to this extent but less on the foliage. The adult females destroy the plants laying eggs on the midribs of a leaf, damaging the tissue.

How to get rid of red lily beetles?

Red lily beetles can feed and destroy the lilies entirely. Red lily leaf beetle control is necessary to protect lilies. The first indicator of lily beetle infestation is a larva in sticky brown frass piles with larvae on leaves. The frass protects them from predators and sunshine. Using a red lily beetle insecticide spray with spinosad is not the only option. Pesticides on the other hand make nectar toxic to bees. A natural alternative for any chemical spray for the biological control of these beetles is Diatomaceous earth. You can sprinkle this at the base of plants in your garden and when the red lily beetle bug trek through the powder, it will kill them in 24 hours. Diatomaceous earth can be bought in the whole food stores, however, make sure to buy a powder with food grade. Another technique is hand picking, you can pick these species up and drop them in a tall pail of soapy water.  While hand picking, make sure to cover the ground all around. Use soapy water or water with neem oil to kill them by spraying. The neem oil spray is a great method to get rid of both larvae and adults. Spray the underside of the leaves. Spray the neem oil extracts from the neem tree within the next five to seven days. Some researchers have also found some new England insects that can help prevent red lily beetle infestation. These species have been released in the New England states' research sites, which effectively helped control the population of these beetles. However, this control is not yet commercially available to gardeners. To protect your lilies in the garden, you need to inspect the planted lilies and bulbs in the soil often. Some lily flowers are resistant to this pest. So, you plant some of these in your garden. Some of these lilies are Lilium henryi, oriental trumpet lilies, Asiatic lilies, and Oriental lilies. Also, check your plants and bulbs before sharing them with other gardeners. So, you can either use garden insecticides or natural techniques.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these click beetle facts and weevil beetle facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring on one of our free printable Red lily beetle coloring pages.

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