Lily and the Beetle

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First off, if you don’t relish close-up images of insects, look away now. And if it’s too late, I am sorry.

I have an insect phobia myself. It’s a funny one, in that I have no problem looking at them in real-life. But my nocturnal self is terrified of insects. They are a recurring theme of my nightmares, and I awake from those dreams quite shaken up.

When I spotted this bright red insect in the garden, I thought it looked interesting, with its bright shiny red wings, so I snapped a few shots. Later that evening I told Nick about what I’d seen, mentioning that it had been on my lily plant. At the time I had no idea that the only reason it was in our garden at all, was because of that specific plant. Upon looking up the term ‘bright red beetle’, I immediately found it. This is a Scarlet Lily Beetle, and they live to eat lily plants.

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Now, I am a bit sentimental about my plant, because it was given to me as a decorative potted plant the first spring that we lived in our home. After it had blossomed, as a lark, I planted it into the very neglected and sparse garden we had at the time. It has bloomed with a single orange flower every year since then.

That said, I know that the lily is planted in the wrong place and really requires much more sun than it is getting, so I’ve tried not to become overly attached to it and haven’t expected much. Basically, it has given me much more than I ever expected.

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↑ See the little red blotch below and to the left of the flower? Yup, that’s the beetle. ↑

I have no idea how long the Scarlet Lily Beetle has been visiting our garden. It may have been coming for years and I just never noticed before, and my lily has learned to live with it (them? I only saw one.) Come to think of it, I did have two other lily plants beside this one, a yellow one and a white one, that died quite a while ago, so maybe Scarlet got to them. But the orange one has survived, so maybe the insect isn’t a death threat to this stubborn old plant.

However if it is, I have convinced myself that I won’t be heartbroken if the Scarlet Lily Beetle kills my lily. Because, the only way I will ever get rid of old Scarlet is apparently by squashing it dead, along with any others I see. And I think that if I could bring myself to doing that, it might become the thing that my nightmares are made of and that would be worse than a dead plant.

Thank you for taking a look,
xo loulou

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