Actually, I can't think of anything much more revolting than the literal interpretation of the title of this post. Having spent half an hour de-beetling my lilies, I can safely say it is one of the more repulsive gardening activities.
The reason, just in case you haven't had the pleasure, is that these grubs cling to the underside (and sometimes the top) of lily leaves, covering themselves in their own excrement and (not so) slowly devouring your plants. They've positively gorged themselves on mine this year, which drove me to take a wooden spatula and scrape them into a yoghurt pot.
As you can see, rather too many of them. All the progeny of the only two adults I captured?
The orange sausage thing is, I think, eggs laid by the lily beetle (lilioceris lilii). So insouciant were they that these were clearly visible on top of a leaf, rather than on the underside. If you think they're something else, then do tell me.
I used to think the beetle's red colouring was rather fetching. Not any more. I'm just pleased they show up so well in readiness for their nemesis.
And my reward? The leaves may look ragged, but the flowers are perfect.
However, no time to sit back and admire. I'm keeping an eagle eye on the lilies. The beetle's lifecycle means that a new generation of adults is likely to appear any time now and I'd like to decimate their numbers before they go into hibernation and reappear around March next year, looking for new juicy leaves, not only of lilies but fritillaries.
If you also suffer with this pest, the RHS would like you to fill in a short lily beetle questionnaire. It's a pest that was pretty much confined to Surrey until, in the mid-80s, it decided to take a hike and spread as far as Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The information received by gardeners eager to share their woe has been collated into an animated map of its reported spread since 1939 - and it's quite a restful 2 mins, if you need a break.
The lily beetle isn't the only pest being monitored. If you suffer rosemary beetle, box tree moth, berberis sawfly or hemerocallis gall midge, you'll find links to questionnaires via the link above.
In the meantime, how are your lilies doing?