Subscribe now and SAVE up to 30% Give Amateur Gardening as a gift Subscribe to the Amateur Gardening Newsletter

Red alert over Monty Don’s lily beetle tip

Plant protection firms have accused Gardeners’ Worldpresenter Monty Don of issuing biased advice on how to control a troublesome plant pest.

Gardeners' World presenter Monty Don

On BBC2’s flagship show last Month, Monty told how he’d found lily beetle on a fritillary at Longmeadow, his Herefordshire plot.

“They’re bright red, so thankfully they’re easy to see, because the only way to get rid of them is to look for them, hand-pick them and destroy them,” Monty said.

But the RHS website shows that in addition to hand-picking, Bayer’s Provado Ultimate Bug Killer and Scotts’ Bug Clear Ultra Gun will control lily beetle.

While Monty is organic, and has no obligation to mention sprays, manufacturers objected to his comment that hand-picking is the only method.

“It is a shame that Mr Don does not approve of chemicals – that’s his choice – but what he means is that hand-picking is his only way of controlling lily beetle,” said John Clowes of Scotts Miracle-Gro.

“Picking beetles off can be adequate, if you like picking up bugs that are covered in their excrement. Scotts Bug Clear Ultra Gun is approved by Government and is a popular product,” John added.

Monty’s stance rattled cages at Bayer Garden, too.

A lily beetle (credit: WikiMedia)

“Gardeners need to know all the options available; they are then equipped to make an informed decision as to the approach they want to take to tackle the problem in question,” said Bayer’s Laura Varey.

“For gardeners who don’t restrict themselves to organics, Provado Ultimate Bug Killer Ready to Use and Concentrate2 will do the job well.”

Westland said its Plant Rescue Bug Killer for Ornamentals ready-to-use and concentrate would target lily beetle.

The BBC said: “Monty is well known to viewers as an organic gardener and it is in this context that he advocated removing lily beetle by hand.

“However, Monty often mentions non-organic alternatives and we will endeavour to ensure this is more consistent in future,” said the spokesman.

Related Articles:

  1. Monty Don returns to Gardeners’ World on BBC Two

    Monty Don is to return as lead presenter of Gardeners’ World – but Toby Buckland and Alys Fowler have been dropped from BBC2’s flagship gardening series.
    In a shock move, the programme will up sticks from Greenacre, the Gardeners’ World Garden in Birmingham, and move to Monty’s home garden in Herefordshire.
    Monty, who has spent 20 years developing the gardens his home,…

  2. Monty Don’s Italian Gardens – watch a preview!

    Monty Don’s Italian Gardens starts this Friday night (15 April) – 9pm on BBC2. Watch a preview:

    Over four hours, Monty Don will be conducting a very personal ‘grand garden tour’ around Italy.
    He’ll be seeking out romantic, horticultural gems of the rural South and visiting the retreats of the affluent North where, in the Veneto, Lucca and the Lakes, Monty finds gardens…

  3. ITV signs Alan Titchmarsh for £5million

    Alan Titchmarsh is to host a prime-time gardening show on ITV to rival Gardeners’ World.
    The two-year deal will earn the green-fingered star a reported £5million.
    Alan’s earnings could be much higher, as ITV plans to launch Titchmarsh-branded products, which will be introduced to gardeners over five years.
    The new programme may even go head-to-head with Gardeners’ World on Friday nights.
    ITV, however, has…

4 Comments

  • gordon burnell says:
    10:02 AM on 16th May 2012

    W D 40 spray kills lily beetle does not harm the plant or bees etc.
    A short spray dries on the beetle and stops it moving and breathing.
    Works on greenfly to.

  • Gill Austin says:
    11:24 AM on 16th May 2012

    We have had lillybeetles in Nth Deveon for several years and I agree they are very distructive and absolutely disgusting to “hand pick off” by the time I’ve spotted one, rushed to get my gloves on, the horror has scarpered. Spraying is best!!! Sorry Monty

  • Sue Appleton says:
    2:45 PM on 27th May 2012

    I don’t see any reason whatsoever to spray lily beetles, just go out with a tissue or paper towel & if you see a lily beetle hold this under the leaf & quickly push/pick the beetle off onto it & squash it, same with the eggs/grubs, just wipe them off with a tissue & squash.

  • Martin says:
    9:39 AM on 7th August 2012

    What an utter disgrace that the BBC should try to force an organic gardener to plug “icides”. For some reason the companies appear to have a hold over them, as the BBC charter is regularly ignored on Radio Sussex – despite many complaints, Steve Bradley has for years plugged products by name, having suggested that there are no organic answers

Leave a Comment