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Don’t let unwelcome guests make themselves at home
The red lily beetle and aphids are again topping the list of queries to the City of Winnipeg’s bug line.
The red lily beetle is somewhat new to our area. With its vibrant red, it’s quite a dapper looking fellow. Don’t let its good looks fool you. It is bad news for our lilies and us.
The red beetle itself is probably the most obvious sign of problems — as is chewed up lily leaves. Check the lily leaf undersides for eggs which are yellow-orange, and laid in irregular rows. The pupae, which are covered in their own black gooey feces, will be found on both sides of the leaves.
Hand-pick and immediately destroy all three forms. Contact insecticides can also be used.
As well, early in the spring, stir up the soil around your lilies, and catch any emerging adults that may have overwintered there. Adults fly and move about, unfortunately.
Aphids are always around — our elms are among their favourites, and this year, they’ve added ash to the list. They will happily hunker down on many of our plants though.
The presence of honeydew is perhaps the most obvious indicator of an aphid problem. In the case of small shrubs, climbers, perennials, and vegetables, honeydew is not going to be as noticeable. If a plant has wilting or twisting leaves, or just doesn’t seem to be thriving, have a close look at it.
Aphids are very small and can go unnoticed for quite some time.
They like to hang out at the base of leaves and along stems where they suck the sap from the plant. They come in many colours — green, yellow, brown, pink or black. Lots of tiny wingless creatures on the underside of a leaf will tip you off.
Pesticides are not effective. In fact, using a pesticide will work against you, as it will kill natural predators such as ladybird beetles, hover fly larvae, and lacewings.
Instead, on smaller accessible plants, remove any egg masses, called the clutch. Clutches are found under curled leaves.
As well, spray the affected plant with the garden hose nozzle set to jet or the strongest pressure that the plant will withstand. Spray daily for a week or so, and then repeat as necessary.
Pests, whatever the kind, are best battled with regular sustained vigilance. What we lack in numbers, we can make up for in perseverance.
Carla Keast has a masters degree in landscape architecture and is a Winnipeg-based freelance landscape designer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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(1 of 5 articles for this week)05/22/2013 1:00 AM 0
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