Lily beetles (Lilioceris lilii), belong to the Order Coleoptera, Family Chrysomelidae. In general, adult lily beetles are around 6 to 9 mm in length. The adult's elytra (harder forewings) are shiny and bright scarlet in colour. The lily beetle's underside, legs, eyes, antennae and head are all pitch black, greatly contrasting the bright red colour of the wings. They have large eyes, a slim thorax (neck) and a wide abdomen. Their antennae are made up of 11 segments. Furthermore, they have notched eyes and two apparent grooves on their thorax. Lily leaf beetles are fast fliers and hide very well. Additionally, when disturbed, they make a squeaky noise to deter predators.
The red lily leaf beetle (Lilioceris lilii) is an insect native to Europe and Asia which rapidly spread through New England from Eastern Massachusetts and which has been also been found in Northern New York State. The original infestation in New England was detected in 1992 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, although the beetle has been active in the Montreal, Canada, area since 1945 and it has also been spotted in the Maritime provinces. There are recent reports that the beetle has been seen in Alberta, Canada, since about 2005. During the winter, adult lily leaf beetles rest in an undisturbed protective environment, normally shaded, cool and moist. Lily leaf beetles overwinter in soil or plant debris underneath the lily leaf plants they fed on during the previous summer and sometimes in gardens or woods quite a distance away from their host plants.
The scarlet lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii), or red / leaf lily beetle, is a leaf beetle that eats the leaves, stem, buds and flower of lilies, fritillaries and other members of the family Liliaceae. They mainly lay their eggs on Lilium and Fritillaria species.Some damage is done by the adults at this time, but the major damage comes when the eggs hatch into larvae in 7-10 days. The larvae voraciously consume all leaves within reach and may then start on flower buds and may eventually kill the plant. We found these beetles in our backyard eating what we think is one of our lily species.