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Lily Beetle

Last post 24-05-2010 10:59 PM by Joyce. 2 replies.

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  • 24/05/2010 07:33 AM
    • Joyce
    • 24 May 2010
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    Hi,  Sorry if someone has suggested this before, but I found that planting garlic amongst my lilies kept lily beetles away very successfully.  This seems to fit in with the research that has found that the beetles rely on smell to locate their prey.  Counterintuitively, the garlic wasn't unsightly and the smell wasn't noticeable.  Joyce

  • 24/05/2010 09:25 AM
    • Pesty
    • At a desk
    • 24 Nov 2005
    • 324
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    I don’t think this fits with the research on lily beetle. The research only found that volatile compounds given off by lily beetles, there larvae and lilies affect the beetles behaviour, in some cases moving towards host odour other times away. The volatile compounds involved often have no detectable smell at all and the constituents of the odour are not plant specific.Most herbivores and many predatory insects use volatile chemicals given off by hosts to find them. The volatile chemicals are not usually specific to the host plant/insect but it is the ratio of compounds in the mix that denotes the specific host. e.g Garlic and lilies may give off the same volatiles as each other, however in different combinations. The idea that one plant odour can mask another is a bit of a myth. The system of volatile odour host location and recognition enables insects to find there specific host plant in a natural environment, i.e. when there are a mixture of plants and the host they are looking for is rare. Volatile chemicals is also not the only way an insect finds its host, they use vision and contact stimuli too.So I suspect that last year you it was just luck that you didn’t get lily beetle – The lily beetle has a close relative on the continent (Lilioceris merdigera) that feeds on garlic and alliums!

     

    'Trying is the first step to failure' H.J.Simpson
  • 24/05/2010 10:59 PM
    • Joyce
    • 24 May 2010
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     Hi Pesty, thanks for your erudite reply.  The thing is that antegarlic my lilies were infested with beetles, but postgarlic, not a one.  This effect lasted over a number of years. Nothing else worked and I could be found most evenings pulling the dratted things off the plants and stamping on them - not pleasant, though probably entertaining for my neighbours.