Asian Lily Beetles – A New Garden Threat

Anyone genuinely interested in Nature – while perhaps naive enough to believe in its absolute innocence – might think the small, bright fiery-orange beetle that’s suddenly materialized in their gardens is strikingly beautiful and perfectly harmless. About the size of a rather narrow ladybug without spots, it almost sparkles as it seems to sun itself on the leaves and emerging flower buds of Asiatic and Oriental hybrid lilies.

In fact, the appearance of innocence and beauty is totally misleading…if not downright deceptive. Early spring sunbathing is clearly not what it has in mind! Lilioceris lilii. Asian Lily Beetle, aka Lily Leaf Beetle, is focusing its entire attention on filling its belly and finding a mate. When those two primary goals have been fulfilled, watch out! Your beautiful lilies are about to vanish. And if you have no hybrid lilies but concentrate on growing fruits and vegetables, your tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers (nightshades) are in serious jeopardy.

Where did they come from? Asian Lily Beetles first appeared in Boston a little over a dozen years ago, probably stowaways in plants imported from abroad…quite possibly China. Rapidly spreading throughout Massachusetts and points north, by 1999 they had worked their way up the New England coast to Brunswick, then inland areas…finally reaching the Mid-Coast and more than a few miles inland to the west, devastating lilies as they traveled. Now they have occupied very nearly every agricultural and horticultural area in several eastern states and three Canadian provinces and, in my opinion – and that of a great many other horticultural/entomological professionals – will soon surpass the populations and crop damage done by the dreaded Japanese Beetles (Popillia japonica).

Adult Lily Leaf Beetles over-winter in the soil or in un-cleaned-up plant debris after fall frost. Following emergence during early spring, they mate and quickly deposit between 200 and 300 tiny dull-orange eggs on the undersides of leaves, in clusters of two to ten. Hatch occurs in five to ten days after which larvae feed for between 16 and 24 days, growing rapidly to about twice the size of their parents. It is at this point that they are feeding heavily. Highly vulnerable to predacious insects during this “soft” feeding stage, larvae cover themselves in their own sticky, mud-like excrement (droppings) as a highly effective defense against attack. Most gardeners describe them as looking like small dirty slugs. If you scrape the feces away, you’ll see a soft, dull-red beetle whose wing cases have as yet to harden.

At about this point, larvae either crawl or drop to the ground where they pupate in secreted cocoons. In under 25 days, a fully mature adult emerges to begin the process anew. There can be as many as three such generations in a single season. To make matters worse, it is possible for female beetles who have deposited their eggs for the current season to survive a second winter and lay another huge clutch of eggs the following year. Allow me to do the math for you: One mature female beetle x 200 x 200 x 200 = 8,000,000 at a minimum. And that’s in our short New England growing season. Alfred Hitchcock would’ve had a field day with those numbers!

What else will they attack? An all-time dietary favorite is fritillary (Fritillaria sp.), but are most often seen on Asiatic, Oriental, and “tiger” lilies (Lilium sp.), lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum multiflorum), certain vegetables, and occasionally other common garden perennials when their favorites are either not present or already consumed.

How are they controlled? Best of all is daily scouting of your garden, hand-picking or knocking adults into a jar of soapy water, or spraying with one of the products described below. There are two natural “pesticides” effective in the control of Asian Lily Beetles:

1. NEEM, a biochemical pest control substance extracted from the tropical Neem tree. It affects the insect while in its larval stage by interrupting molting, and may also serve to repel adults.

2. PYRETHRIN, a product extracted from common painted daisies (Pyrethrum sp.), may be sprayed on plants to control both adults and larval stages. I consider Pyrethrin to be the best choice.

I have also noted that RESMETHRIN – a synthetic form of Pyrethrin found in formulations for garden foggers – destroys the larval form.

All of these insecticides are commonly stocked by large, retail garden centers, and less reliably at “big-box” stores. As always, read and observe all labeling information. Wear protective gloves when handling or applying, and wash thoroughly when the job’s done. Even though they’re considered “natural”, there’s no point in taking any chances with your health or that of your loved ones.

One last thought: The true key to controlling population numbers of this new and highly destructive villain in your garden, in the words of Alistair “Mad-Eye” Moody of Harry Potter fame: CONSTANT VIGILANCE! We must be ruthless and unyielding in our search for and destruction of every Asian Lily Beetle we encounter! The future of hybrid and tiger lilies in our gardens depends on it.

Japanese Skincare and Beauty Secrets Revealed!

Have you ever wondered why it is that so many Japanese women and other Asian women look so much younger than their years? It certainly is intriguing to know just what is it in Japanese skincare products that seems to delay or stop the aging process, and makes skin look so smooth, healthy, and young.

The Japanese have traditionally used Mother Nature’s gifts from the earth and the sea to nourish and beautify their skin. Let’s take a look at some of the natural beauty ingredients that the women of Japan have been using since ancient times.

Azuki. A kind of red bean, it is also known as adzuki or aduki. It is a centuries-old traditional beauty ingredient in Japan and in some other Asian countries. Women would place ground azuki in small silk pouches, which they would then rub on their face to keep it smooth and free from blemishes.

Komenuka Rice Bran. Another super ingredient in Japanese skin care tradition, it enjoys a reputation as excellent skin food. Its nourishment properties help keep the skin looking young and smooth by preventing wrinkles from appearing and by controlling the skin’s natural oil production.

Wakame Kelp. This is a kind of sea algae found in the waters of Japan and is one of the superstars in Japanese traditional and natural skincare. Its other health benefits are so many that it’s also used as an ingredient in many Japanese dishes.

One of the things that is so amazing about wakame algae is its remarkable ability to prevent the breakdown of hyaluronic acid, a substance that our body needs in order to maintain healthy skin and keep it supple, firm, and young. Having insufficient amounts of hyaluronic acid leads to dark circles under the eyes and to dry, unappealing skin.

Another characteristic of this Japanese seaweed derivative is the excellent protection it provides from harmful free radicals, which cause our skin to age prematurely. It is rich in minerals needed for skin health and beauty, such as calcium, potassium, and vitamin B. It truly is a beauty preserver, and an outstanding skin care product ingredient.

You don’t necessarily have to be Japanese in order to experience the beneficial effects of these traditional beauty products used in Japan. There are anti-aging products like face creams, eye creams, and firming masks that contain them, and which you can buy regardless of your race or skin color. 

Learn more about the effects of traditional Japanese skincare products and techniques today. It may help you find the beauty and anti-aging product that works best for you.

Suggestions For Asian Collectibles

When people start to think about decorating their homes with Asian collectibles, like Oriental figurines, they can feel apprehensive. It is natural to be repulsed by the idea of placing cheap, Dollar store knock-offs in one’s home just because they “look” Asian. Of course, the thoughtful buyer will be able to avoid committing this kind of egregious error easily. A genuinely intelligent person often thinks that he wants his home to have a vintage look because this is supposed to be what the East is all about. In the Eastern custom don’t we have respect for our ancestral traditions? Don’t we believe in enlightenment through knowledge of one’s self? Of course! Granted this, vintage collectibles are always an asset in home decor. However, we should remember that the word “vintage” really means a type of decor that signifies an earlier time period. What if I told you that there is far more to finding the right Oriental collectibles than this?

It is a market-based fact that many people like to decorate their homes and places of business with Oriental figurines. This is why retailers like Wal Mart and Target are selling the cheap products which are mass-produced. However, how many people really understand what Asian home decor really means? Some people, even those who are not Asian, desire a taste of Asian culture in their home because it is more in style these days. After all, people nowadays from the West go to places like China and Japan on vacation or business. They usually bring back an Oriental figurine or two for display. Yet the person who is reading this article is probably not this kind of sporadic buyer. You want the best Asian collectibles possible within your budget.

Let’s start with the obvious. First, you must decide on the size of the figurine. It is no secret that some very fine and high quality figurines are larger than other equally beautiful and elegant figurines. However, this does not necessarily mean that you will always pay more money for the larger one. Some large figurines cost considerably less than finely constructed smaller ones. Some times it may pay to start your collection with a larger figurine if you have taken the time to plan a strategy for your home decor. Yes, a strategy is a very helpful tool in making the right decision about collectibles!

The next thing you might want to consider are the vintage collectibles available to you. There are many vintage lines of collectibles. A short sampling might include the historical figurines like Kong Ming and Bruce Lee. There are mythical creatures from China like the dragon and qilin. Also in the Chinese vein are the figurines which embody folklores like the Eight Immortals line. Lastly, there are village people enacting ordinary peasant life in old China. It comes down your personal taste as far as making a final selection from any of these categories. Even a couple vintage figurines will add positively to a modern Asian decor plan in ways you probably can’t imagine now.

What if you would like to emphasize the beautiful aspects of Asian culture with your Oriental collectibles? Once again, we return to our beloved Geisha figurines for this desirable task. It is my personal belief, based upon a broad survey of the Oriental collectibles market, that Geisha figurines are the most beautiful and elegant works of Asian collectible art available…. anywhere! After all, this was the sole purpose of the Japanese Geisha: that is, to be beautiful, elegant, and artistic. Geishas are perfect for a shelf or hearth in your home. They are also elegant for curio cabinet. They are appropriate in most any display case you may already have. Geisha figurines improve your home decor almost without any extra effort on your part. Why do I say this?

The answer is found in the inherent symbolism of the Japanese Geisha artist. The Geisha wore an elegant kimono of classical Japanese design. In old Japan kimonos were often symbolic of particular seasonal festivals, imperial holidays, historical commemorations, and traditional mythical celebrations. The Geisha hairstyles could be one of many styles, referred to commonly as “shimada.” The bun style shimada was the most popular with the Geisha artist. The elaborate hair combs and hair pins which a Geisha had to wear indicated either her junior or senior status which was called “kanzashi.” It is no accident that a Geisha was often considered a moving work of art in almost every possible way. So, a Geisha figurine cannot help but bring this same timeless, beautiful quality to your home by her mere presence.

There is a final consideration before you choose an Asian home decor which includes Oriental collectibles. Asian interior decor is gradually becoming a very popular style of elegant home/office decoration. However, Asian decor involves a comprehensive understanding of this trend. Asian decor is far more than merely being linguistically correct by incorporating a little calligraphy into a decor scheme. It is more than buying collectibles which appear to be vintage just because they depict earlier or interesting periods of history. It is also more than looking for beautiful and elegant collectibles to awe your family, friends, and visitors. Yes, Asian decor is different because it is evolving through a process of continuous learning and adaptation. This is what makes Asian decor contemporary. This kind of decor revolves around light and provides ways and means to allow the passage of sunlight into your home. Therefore, it would be an excellent idea to remember these important facts as you consider the kinds of beautiful, elegant, and vintage collectibles in your home or office. You want all visitors to “see” your collectibles and other Asian decor choices clearly. Since Asian decor emphasizes a minimalist style, you will want key collectibles located in the right places for the full effect. You want the atmosphere to exude the spirit of Asian beauty, elegance, and art in one viewing!