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New Ornamental Insect Pest Identified in Pennsylvania

Posted: September 19, 2013

The lily leaf beetle was recently identified by Penn State ornamental extension entomologist, Greg Hoover, and confirmed by state and federal regulatory agencies as a new ornamental insect pest in Pennsylvania.
Adult lily leaf beetle.

Adult lily leaf beetle.

This chrysomelid feeds on Oriental and Asiatic lilies in Pennsylvania. The lily leaf beetle, Lilioceris lilii, was first detected in North America near Montreal, Canada in 1945. The first detection in the US occurred in Massachusetts in 1992.  Most of the New England states are infested. It was confirmed in New York in 2009. Most people believe this pest was an unintentional introduction to North America on bulbs shipped from Europe. The lily leaf beetle will only lay eggs and develop on Liliuim species (Turk's cap lilies, tiger lilies, Easter lilies, Asiatic, and Oriental lilies), and species of Fritillaria (mission bells). It does not feed on daylilies, Hemerocallis.

The lily leaf beetle adult has a bright scarlet body and black legs, head, antennae, and ventral surface. The adults are 6 to 9 mm long.

The sample in Pennsylvania was submitted by a Penn State Extension, Clinton County master gardener, Quentin Stocum, from a residential landscape just west of Lock Haven, PA. The infested plant was given to the homeowner as a gift in 2012. The Asiatic lily was bought from a large commercial store in Lock Haven, PA. Both federal and state regulatory agencies are considering this infestation eradicated, but surveys may be conducted to determine if this pest is elsewhere in Pennsylvania.

If you observe the lily leaf beetle on host plants in your landscapes next season, please contact your local Penn State Extension Office or regional office of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for assistance.

 Lily Leaf Beetle Damage

Damage caused by the lily leaf beetle.