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.

Beautiful Memories With Asian Or Garden Wedding Favors

Couples often choose to give guests some small, inexpensive gifts as “Thank you” keepsakes to remind them of the special occasion and the happiness that was shared on the wedding day. Wedding favors are an entire line of products intended to fill this need. Favors have become a traditional part of any such party. Couples having an outdoor ceremony and reception can now choose from a number of appropriate options when deciding which favors to give depending on the chosen theme. Two excellent themed gift items that work well with outdoor weddings are Asian and garden wedding favors.

An Asian theme is often used for outdoor ceremonies. This theme is romantically oriented and provides a perfect feeling for celebrating marriage. Paper lanterns, candles and incense, and even Chinese writing are incredibly beautiful oriental items couples can use as decorations to achieve this effect.

Asian wedding favors may be oriental silk or paper fans, fortune cookies, or any of a wide selection of items making use of the Chinese glyph meaning “Love” or two intertwined glyphs for happiness which means “double happiness”. These are the ideal items to give as gifts and keepsakes to remind the guests of the occasion and say “Thank you” much more clearly than just sending “Thank you” cards later.

It won’t surprise anyone that a garden theme is also commonly used at outdoor weddings. The beautiful part of having a garden theme lies in the vast array of flowering plants that Mother Nature provides for use as decorations at this type of wedding. A wide range of different flowers and different colors of flowers are in bloom from early spring to late fall makes finding the best mix for the season an easy proposition.

Flowers and blooms are the basis for decorating most garden wedding favors. While flowers are the key component of the theme, garden wedding favors can be almost anything. Adding flowers just improves the appearance of most items. One of the most popular garden wedding favors is a packet of mixed flowering plant seeds that guests may take home and add to their own flower gardens as a beautiful, living reminder of the occasion and joy shared with the couple every year when the plants come up and bloom again.

If the weather will permit, outdoor weddings are relatively common occurrences. This is because most people agree that Mother Nature can provide the most beautiful decorations for anything as beautiful as two people getting married. Outdoor weddings can have many different themes, including Asian themes and garden themes. Asian and garden wedding favors are two distinctively different, yet gorgeous types of keepsake gifts that people can enjoy receiving and having to remind them of the special occasion.

Asian Lamps – Create a Decorating Theme That Is All Your Own

Asian Fusion is a very hot style for clothing, design and even food. Some very unique interior design ideas have developed by crossing traditional Asian icons with American influences. Asian Lamps that are included in this fusion tend to be inspired by nature, architecture, ancient dynasties and even other Asian themed lamps. Floor, table and hanging lamps resemble their inspiring counterparts but are very clearly a product of Asian Fusion. The best part about Asian fusion is that there really is something for everyone and for every room you are attempting to design.

Silk and bamboo hanging lanterns are a new spin on an old design. Traditional Asian lamps that inspired this were generally made of rice paper and painted one color. These decorative hanging lanterns are still bright colors, but they also have beadwork and embroidery, not to mention that the silk is much nicer and lasts longer than rice paper. Not only can you use these to decorate your backyard party, but you can use them again and again after that.

Asian fusion has also given birth to an entirely different breed of floor lamps that can make your room feel like a garden…sort of. These Asian Lamps inspired by flowers of the far east have a “stalk” that leads up to a flower-like light holder that comes in a rainbow of colors. Another new style Asian Lamp that resembles a flower also seems to borrow a few ideas from Tiffany lamps. It is a table lamp that is ideal as a centerpiece because it appears to be a beautiful lotus flower in mid bloom. The fusion of this Asian Lamp is it’s makeup, which is similar to the stained glass mosaic of traditional Tiffany lamps.

To pull off a great Asian fusion design scheme with these inspiring Asian Lamps, you don’t have to look far. It’s fairly simple, really, because you are looking for furniture that is not necessarily Asian, but simply reminds you of Asian design. Even if it’s only one element of the item that really resembles anything Asian at all, that is ok. You can use recognizable items, such as traditional Asian looking lamps, to draw the Asian elements out of the other furniture and actually pull the room together. Whether your lighting choices include traditional lamps, or a fusion of Asian and American styles, you can use them to create a unique and innovative style in your home that is all your own.