A new, unwelcome addition to our garden this year is the Lily Leaf Beetle (Lilioceris lilii), AKA scarlet lily beetle or red lily beetle because of their bright red color. These beetles do major damage to your lilies as seen in the photos above. According to dengarden.com, “They feast on the leaves, stems, flowers and even the buds of members of the lily family which include Oriental lilies, fritillaries, and North American native lilies such as Turk’s Cap lilies and wood lilies. They have also been known to chow down on Solomon’s seal, lily of the valley, flowering tobacco, hollyhocks, hostas and even potatoes. They do not eat day lilies which are not true lilies. Day lilies are Hemerocallis.”
Lily Leaf Beetles are native to Europe and Asia and are an invasive species to North America. They were accidentally introduced into North America in 1943 in a shipment of bulbs in Montreal and have been spreading south and west, arriving in New England in 1992. It has just been the past few years that they have shown up locally. They have no natural enemies in North America to keep them in check.
You should check out these sites to learn how to prevent an infestation, what to look for, and how to eradicate them before they start turning your $20.00 per bulb martagon lilies into fertilizer.