Everyone loves a rose!

Green thumbs up

...to the queen of flowers, the rose.

Look close now at pest-prone plants such as roses. Everything loves 'em! Finding and controlling pests early is the best strategy. Scroll down to learn to beat this rose budworm and other spoilers.

Look close now at pest-prone plants such as roses. Everything loves 'em! Finding and controlling pests early is the best strategy. Scroll down to learn to beat this rose budworm and other spoilers.

Green thumbs down

....to the fact that we must share the queen with so many pest-y courtiers.

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Staying ahead of rose pest insects

Look close early in the year, don't wait for the damage to compound.

Here's what to look for, using 'Knockout' roses as an example. (The foliage is red in the following photos because the roses are just leafing out after their annual cutback.)

Right: Aphids are in place and beginning to multiply. The first generation (including the larger insect in this cozy family shot) has produced generation number two by parthenogenesis -- females giving birth, no males needed.

 

The escalation of this and many other insect pests is geometric from here on out so if you want to control them:
• knock them off as they first appear; use forceful water,
• or stop their breathing with a coating of soapy water or oil,
• or apply an insecticide that poisons them when they eat it along with the leaf.

Very helpful I.D. and control information available from Extension services:
 rose pest insect identification,
 rose pest and disease information, and
 rose insect control options from hand picking to soaps to bio-rational controls such as releasing natural predators.

Below: Don't say, "Oh, woe is me" if you find pests. Of course insects have arrived. It's a salad bar where a few weeks ago the table was bare!

Below: Another new arrival is the rose budworm. It's a moth caterpillar. Tougher to see as the rose foliage greens up. Eminently squish-able now.

Various other insects are there, too, such as cankerworms (below), loopers and leaf tiers. (That's tie-er, as in they tie the leaves together so they can scrape and eat in safety between two leaf surfaces.)
Many rose-eating insects are no big deal. Cankerworm, for instance, may chew a few leaves but won't seriously impact the rose's performance. Others like the budworm (above), can be devastating simply because the part of the plant they ruin is the part we revere -- the tip that bears the flower.

And don't look only at the dark side. Watch your roses to see if there are beneficial insects moving in on the bounty. We only had to turn our heads to find some.
Predators such as syrphid flies (the wasp-y looking critter, below, left) and tachinid flies (below, right) lay their eggs near or on leaf eaters such as caterpillars and aphids. Their young emerge hungry, and prey is right there. Although predatory insects won't eat or kill all leaf-eaters in an area they can do a lot for you and are there on a 24-7 basis. Be careful not to spray these "good guy" insects with soap or oil, and don't use systemic insecticides ("lasts a month"), which poison even the pollen and nectar that these beneficials eat in certain life stages.

It's always best to end on a positive note, right?  There is this: No cane borer attacked the cut ends of canes, that we could see.

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