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Insect Pests that Damage Roses

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1. Aphids

If you grow roses, you need to be aware of potential insect pests, how to identify them, and what you can do about them. Consider using natural products to control insect pests.

Aphids are the most frequent pest problem. They make their home in the rose buds and shoots. Low or even moderate numbers of aphids pose little threat to your roses, though you need to keep a close eye on how they spread. High numbers of aphids produce an excess of honeydew, which encourages the growth of mold and eventually blackens the rose leaves. Lots of aphids may also diminish the size of the flowers and cause buds to die.

Aphids have natural enemies, including lady beetles and syrphid flies, which help keep the aphid population under control. You can remove aphids from roses with a spray of water or with insecticidal soaps. Aphids are usually only a problem during the spring and early summer, and usually you do not need insecticides to control them.

2. Spider Mites

If your rose leaves are stippled or dried up and falling off, then spider mites could be the problem. Spider mites are so tiny that you probably need a magnifying glass to see them. Their presence is usually the result of dry, dusty conditions. You can try to control these pests by reducing dust and ensuring that your plants have sufficient water.

3. Fuller Rose Beetles

Adult beetles chew away at the flowers and leaves of rose bushes. You can usually detect these insect pests by the ragged edges of your blooms and foliage. The beetles feed during the night and hide during the day on the underside of leaves. Pesticides are not effective in dealing with these insects, so the best solution is to handpick the beetles off your roses.

4. Thrips

Thrips are usually attracted to light-colored or white roses and leave brown streaks on the flowers. Thrips are a big problem with closely planted rose bushes because these insect pests can move easily from one plant to another. Thrips are difficult to control with pesticides, which are only effective at the thrips’ development stage. The best thing to do is clip and dispose of infected blooms.

5. Caterpillars

Some types of caterpillars feed on rose leaves. Usually the damage does not threaten the rose plant. Simply remove the rolled leaves and prune any damaged buds. If you need more help, try a caterpillar control liquid.

6. Rose Slug

Rose slugs are the larva of a sawfly, but they resemble caterpillars because they have legs. You can wash off rose slugs with a forceful spray of water or let one of their natural enemies take care of the problem for you.

7. Leafcutter Bees

Leafcutter bees make semicircular holes in leaves and take this material to their nests. You’ll just have to live with it, as there is no effective way to stop the leafcutter bees other than killing them. Killing bees is not recommended because they are natural pollinators.

8. Rose Curculio

Rose Curculios prefer yellow and white roses. These insect pests are about a quarter of an inch long and punch holes in the flowers and buds. The larvae feast on developing buds, killing the buds before they can open. You can get rid of rose curculios using an insecticide.

9. Flat Headed Borers

Flat headed borers can kill canes or the entire rose plant. Remove any material infested with these borers. Also, keep your rose plants healthy by not overpruning in the summer months and ensuring sufficient water.

10. Scale Insects

Scale insects also pose a threat to the canes. Scale insects have armored scales and look like small, gray rounds or ovals. These insect pests don’t really move because they have no legs for most of their lives. The best way to get rid of scale insects is to prune infected canes and put pesticide oil on remaining canes.

Natural insect pest control products.

Rose photos courtesy of www.cepolina.com/freephoto/.

Updated: June 1, 2013 — 12:33 am

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