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red lily leaf beetles can suck it

Who do these beetles think they are, anyway? Every year they take up residence in my front garden and have a smorgasbord with my asian lilies. And every year I think I will outsmart them!

Oh, silly me.

Our encounter starts out innocent enough. I will be walking by the front flower bed and casually observe how well my lilies are growing! Getting taller each day! The leaves so green! Yes! This is great!

chomped lilies

Hold up. What’s with the missing edge of the leaf?

Crap! I’m losing already! The red lily leaf beetle has launched a sneak attack.

Well, screw you, buddy. I’m going to get all organic on your ass and find a new way to defeat you!

So I do a stupid amount of research and decide to make my own homemade beetle juice cocktail, and after multiple sprays I think I have won the beetle war.

Until I go away for the weekend and come home to find this:

chomped lillies

Crap. Crap. Crap. I leave you lilies alone for 2 days! 2 days! You will rue the day,
red lily leaf beetle!

And then they just outright start mocking me. Whereas I could never catch them in the chomping act before, now when I walk by red lily leaf beetles are feasting and pointing and laughing at me. No amount of lily flicking will do. I know I am supposed to pick them off and squish them dead, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I don’t want to touch them. So I flick. And spray. And flick. And spray some more.

And then I tire of the daily exercise.
chomped lillies

Soon I just pretty much give up on my lilies. Guilt sets in.
chomped lillies

I tell myself I have to let it go as I painfully watch the red lily beetles chomp, chomp, chomp on every last leaf. And then to add insult to injury, they languidly start gorging on the lily buds that are valiantly still trying to grow.

I stop looking at the front flower bed altogether. We are in a bad drought as it is, and that flower bed has gone from awesomeness to eyesore in a matter of days. Don’t want to know about it.

Until it rains overnight and the next morning a burst of this strange fuchsia color catches the corner of my eye as I’m scurrying to my car in groundhog-day-mode to get to work.

I force myself to look. And suddenly I’m clapping my hands and running back inside to grab the camera.

asian lily

My asian lily made it! It bloomed!

asian lily

It’s got holes everywhere! Petals are missing! I don’t care! It’s totally disfigured and absolutely lovely.

Even when you’ve given up on your garden, it may just surprise you.

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This entry was posted on Friday, July 23rd, 2010 at 2:24 am and is filed under The Daily Balance, The Growing Season. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

90 Responses to “red lily leaf beetles can suck it”

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  1. This makes “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” not nearly as amusing as it was when I was little. I have had something munching on my basil all summer. And there are some beetles that are attacking all these little trees around our apartment. I feel so bad for the plants.

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