What Is Damaging My Roses?

Having a beautiful rose garden is a great way to elevate your outdoor space, but if pests are taking residence in your garden, your rose bushes can quickly become damaged and unhealthy. Knowing how to identify and combat these pests is key to having a successful garden.


Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on the sap of plants, including roses, and can act as vectors for plant viruses. They come in many colors, such as green, red, and black, and they have several generations per year with each generation being larger than the last.

Aphids can cause extensive damage to rose bushes by sucking the sap out of stems, leaves, buds and flowers which can eventually cause them to wilt or die off completely. In addition to this damage, aphids also produce a sticky substance called honeydew which can cause sooty mold to form on the leaves.


Caterpillars are the larvae of moths and butterflies that feed on rose leaves, buds and flowers causing them to become skeletonized or eaten away entirely. They usually start by eating the outer edges of the leaves then gradually working their way into the center.

Caterpillars have several generations per year making them extremely difficult to get rid of as they can reproduce quickly if left untreated.

Leaf Rolling Sawfly

Leaf rolling sawflies are small black insects with yellow stripes that feed on the foliage of rose bushes by rolling up individual leaflets into tubes or cones with their saliva then feeding on them from inside.

This type of damage can be very destructive because it prevents photosynthesis from occurring which can lead to stunted growth or even death of the plant.

Rose Slug Sawfly

Rose slug sawflies are small greenish caterpillars that feed on rose leaves leaving behind skeletonized foliage or “window panes” which is caused by their feeding habits.

These pests usually start at the bottom of the bush then work their way up so it’s important to catch them early before too much damage has been done.

Red Spider Mite

Red spider mites are tiny red spiders that feed on plant sap leaving behind yellow spots on foliage that eventually turn brown as they continue to feed.

These pests can be very difficult to get rid of because they reproduce quickly in warm weather so it’s important to take care of them right away before they cause extensive damage.


Thrips are tiny black insects that feed on flower petals causing them to become distorted or discolored in appearance.

These pests can also spread disease from one flower to another so it’s important to get rid of them quickly before too much damage has been done.

Prevention & Control Strategies

  1. Keep your garden free from weeds that may harbor pests
  2. Regularly check your plants for signs of infestation
  3. Prune away any dead or diseased branches immediately
  4. Encourage beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings which help control aphid populations

Natural Solutions

  • Spray plants with a mixture of water and dish soap every few days
  • Introduce predatory insects such as lacewings or parasitic wasps

Chemical Solutions

  • Apply insecticidal soap or horticultural oil every few days
  • Apply systemic insecticides such as imidacloprid


Pests like aphids, caterpillars, leaf rolling sawfly, rose slug sawfly, red spider mite and thrips can cause serious damage to roses if left untreated.

The best way to prevent this type of damage is through regular inspection for signs of infestation followed by natural solutions like spraying plants with dish soap solution or introducing predatory insects like lacewings or parasitic wasps into your garden environment. If these methods fail then chemical solutions like insecticidal soap or horticultural oil may be necessary in order to eliminate these pests completely.

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