What is eating my rose buds is a common worry rose growers have. Besides being a landscape plant, rose plants of the Rosaceae family produce beautiful show-stopper blooms that cannot go unnoticed.
However, although wide rose varieties resist pests, others are vulnerable. Rose pests like beetles and aphids can destroy your garden within days.
Continue reading to know how to identify and control these pests.
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What Is Eating My Rose Buds?
– Japanese Beetle
Japanese beetles are one of the most problematic rose feeders because they spread fast. A common sign these annoying pests are feeding on your roses is large holes in rose buds, and skeletonized rose leaves. They eat everything in the garden without leaving evidence of your beautiful roses, as they would start to come by and devour the flowers and leave, and destroy it.
These beetles are quickly identified because they like to feed during the day, when the weather is quite warm. They have a copper-colored body and a green head and primarily defend themselves by raising their rear legs.
Worse enough, these beetles are generous because they attract other beetles to devour on your rose garden once they land in your garden. They do this by secreting a pheromone which attracts the other beetles as well, and this would be a triggering point for them to come and their quantity increases as a result.
Controlling the population of these beetles in your garden can be challenging, but you can protect your rose plants using tulle. Since these little pests are active for up to five weeks each season, the tulle will minimize the damage they would do.
You can also handpick the beetles and drop them in soapy water. This kills the adult beetles and reduces their spreading. What you can do is simply, place buckets of soapy water under the rose plants or shake the flower for the pests to fall into the water, and get trapped by the soap.
On another note, if the beetles have attacked most parts of your rose flowers, you can use an organic spray to kill them. However, be careful with your chosen products, as some can destroy your roses. Also, always ensure you don’t spray the flowers after pollination.
The most common sign of aphid infestation on your rose bush and flowers are wrinkled little flower buds and curling new leaves. These tiny insects damage grown plants by piercing the soft tissues and sacking on the juices.
How you can identify them is seeing how they are small, with a pinkish or soft green body, and are pear-shaped. However, you can detect hundreds of different species of these insects.
These little bugs would enter, and start to feed on many plants, including roses, as they love the texture. Therefore, if you have planted potatoes, spinach, and iris in your garden, because they could migrate from them to the beautiful roses that you have planted. They move in large crowds and can multiply fast, moreover, these insects don’t need mates to reproduce.
When they start to attack your rose plants, they attach to the soft stems, tender buds, and new leaves. These destructive insects can feed on an entire leaf underside, curling the stem tips, buds, and fresh leaves.
Luckily, beneficial insects can help you bring aphids under control. These insects feed on these pink bugs, causing most of them to flee from your rose bush and garden. You can also wash away the insects using high-pressure water from a hose pipe. When they fall on the ground, other insects like spiders will feed on them, reducing their population.
You can increase beneficial insects in your garden by planting sweet alyssum with roses. The plant attracts these insects, causing a natural control of aphids. However, if they have spread to a more significant part of the garden and no beneficial insects are coming, use insecticidal soaps to control them, and they will be gone.
– Spider Mites
As innocent and harmless as they look, little mites tend to eat rose flower together with their leaves and keep some holes in rose buds, and even in the green foliage. This leaves the roses to wilt and dry.
These rose pests are tiny, making them hard to spot. If you suspect these small pests are causing rose problems, use a magnifying glass to identify them before the damage is too much.
Like normal spiders, but the mites are identified with their eight legs. When they attack your rose garden, these insects build webs that act as shelter. In order to get rid of them, simply, you can use white paper to identify them from the web. Tap on the branch and check if tiny insects are crawling on it.
Although these little mites can cause great destruction in your garden, you can naturally control them with beneficial predatory insects. For example, predatory mites, ladybugs, and minute pirate bugs are excellent at managing these insects. What you can do is to introduce these insects to your rose garden by planting other flowering plants.
You can also control these mites in your rose garden using cold water. Spray the underside of the leaves with high-pressure water from hose pipes.
A perfect way that you can also get rid of them is to use and spread some neem oil on your rose bushes, as this is a perfect solution to repel these pests. Mix the oil with warm water and dishwashing soap, and use a spray bottle to keep the spider type of mites away.
– Rose Slugs
One evidence to know you have slugs that are for roses would attack in your rose garden is if the leaves suddenly become thin and translucent. These tiny insects are quite challenging to identify because they primarily feed at night, which is why you won’t see them during the day and spot them right way.
This variety of slugs and rose sawflies majorly feed on the rose and even the leaves. They feed on the leave’s surface, leaving them looking like a thin paper bag with visible leaf veins. Rose kinds of slugs and sawflies are hard to identify because they attack the garden at night.
Rose chafers also leave your rose plant’s leaves skeletonized, with visible veins. However, they won’t eat your entire rose’s leaves because they mainly feed on the leaf surface, leaving it paper-like and with visible veins. However, this can cause the plant’s death.
These slugs resemble caterpillars, but they are more like worms, that have green bodies too. Before growing into these types of slugs, these destructive creatures are called sawflies in their larvae stage. The sawflies lay eggs on the lower side of the leaves, which hatch to produce these slugs.
These insects multiply fast and feed on rose flower gardens, causing massive destruction, you can simply see them and trace them by how they would eat the leaves, and chew little holes on the surface of the foliage.
If these specific slugs have spread to a bigger part of the garden, use foliar sprays to eliminate them. You can spray the underside of the leaves with insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils. Spraying the top of the leaves might not have a significant effect.
– Rose Chafers
If the petals of your rose flower have large, irregular holes, it could be a sign of these little chafer infestation. Although they concentrate on the petals mainly, these tiny insects also damage the leaves, leaving them skeletonized and with pronounced veins.
These little bugs are ones that could transfer to your rose flower if you have other plants in the garden, like raspberries or strawberries, because they are also prone to live on them as well.
Remember that they are mainly identified by their tiny red-orange legs with little spikes. The beetles have greenish-tan bodies and wings to fly to the next garden. Their infestation of your garden by these small beetles will be worse if there is sandy soil nearby.
A group of adult chafers will mostly fly into your rose garden during spring. Unfortunately, these destructive insects are hard to control because birds and other small mammals do not feed on them. They are poisonous and can cause death to birds.
The best way to control insect infestation in roses is by letting beneficial insects feed on them. This way, you don’t introduce harsh insecticides, which can damage other vital organisms or flowers. You can also use handpicking to destroy the insects or drown them in soapy water.
The best treatment for bugs eating leaves is by handpicking and killing them. Noticing these little pests at the onset of infestation will help you control the insects better because killing them reduces multiplication. You can also drown them in a bucket with soapy water. Another way to prevent these annoying insects is using a floating row cover and installing a physical barrier.
– Rose Scale
Another hard-to-control problem-causing pest attacking roses is the rose scale. They mostly appear as small bumps on the rose plant stem and can be hard to identify if they resemble the tree.
Furthermore, what you see on the branch is the pest’s shell, which acts as a protective cover and is resistant to most pesticides. In addition, when they multiply this is one of the ways that you would spot them.
When these scales attack your rose plants, they leave powdery mildew covering the top of the leaves, making the leaves stressed when they are trying to grow. These insects destroy plants by piercing the soft parts and sucking the plant juices. This weakens the stems, causing the plant to turn yellow and die.
Rose scales to produce a sweet honeydew, which attracts ants. Ants surround the scales to get the honeydew while protecting these destructive insects from other predators like beneficial insects.
Don’t worry, you can successfully eradicate rose scales immediately after hatching. During this time, they have not developed a scale, so their bodies are soft and can die from horticultural oils. Ensure you also spray the oil on their eggs before they hatch to stop their spread.
Also called tobacco budworms, these destructive pests have a great appetite and can devour your flower’s buds within days. They barely hide their existence in the rose garden because they leave evidence of black sticky goo wherever they move.
These worms are types of caterpillars, but they have a champagne hue. Besides roses, budworms also feed on snapdragons and petunias. However, besides the flowers, these insects also munch on the leaves after feeding on the blooms.
The easiest way to tell you to have a budworm infestation is by checking for the black sticky goo. These insects attack your rose garden and leave round holes in the petals. You can hardly see them during the day as they hide from birds and beneficial insects.
However, remember that you can easily find budworms on roses at night. Since these plant-destroying animals know how to hide, relying on beneficial insects and birds to control them can fail you.
Instead, spray the roses with some neem oil to manage these pests and maybe even others away. You can also control budworms with Sevin. However, insecticides like Sevin should be your last resort, as these kill natural predators, increasing the chances of your plant’s attack by other insects.
1. Which Insects Eat Roses at Night?
Rose slugs commonly feed on rose leaves at night. When they attack your rose garden, they attack the underside of the leaves, skeletonizing them. This reduces chlorophyll in the plant, causing its death.
Rose flowers are perfect landscaping plants to beautify your backyard. Their blooms are beautiful and are many people’s favorites. However, although some rose species are insect resistant, some get easily attacked by aphids and other animals. From this article, you will find that:
- Some insects attack the underpart of rose’s leaves, making them hard to notice and causing massive destruction.
- Applying insecticides and pesticides should not be your first pest control measure. They contain chemicals that kill essential organisms.
- You can use soapy water to control insects like spider mites and some chafers
- Since rose scales grow a hard pest-resistant coat, you should control them when young before the scale grows.
While you can choose pest-resistant, rose flowers, they are vulnerable to some insects. Research the common insects and pests that attack your kind of rose, and take the best control measures early. Keep checking your plants to notice any holes and signs of insects.
- Teresa O’Connor. Fighting Common Rose Pests. University of California.
- Aphids. UCIPM.
Retrieved from https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7404.html#:~:text=with%20great%20speed.-,DAMAGE,of%20a%20sooty%20mold%20fungus.
- Roses: Insects and Mites. UCIPM.
Retrieved from https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7466.html#:~:text=Aphids%20are%20the%20most%20common,such%20as%20buds%20and%20shoots.