rose pests

Any number of common insect pests can plague roses. Most are also responsible for damage to a wide variety of ornamentals and food crops. An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach is best in dealing with harmful insects.

Please remember, no garden is completely pest free. Broad and intensive use of chemical measures is usually unnecessary and detrimental to all garden insects, many of which are beneficial. The toxins in many chemical treatments pollute groundwater, soils and the general environment. Some insects cause only minor cosmetic issues to plants.

Others may present more significant threats to plant health.
Infestations should be treated with the most appropriate
measures: relying on good cultivation practices, organic &
natural measures and prevention, using chemical control as
a last resort.
I have listed the most common insects that affect Carolina roses but the list is by no means exhaustive.

Please visit the insect pages of NC State
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes

Clemson University
http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic for
more extensive information.

Aphids:
these little monsters are common across the Carolinas and enjoy feasting on hundreds of different plants and crops. There are many species. Roses are easily susceptible to aphid attack. In our area, most rose aphids appear light green, rusty red to pink or white in color. They are tiny and will cluster on succulent new rose foliage and buds.
aphids

They use a piercing mouth part to suck juices from the plant. They appear in early spring and persist until the hotter weather of summer. Aphid damage is usually minimal and mostly cosmetic, barring a massive infestation. Control is fairly simple in most cases. Handpicking a small colony is useful. Spraying an affected plant with an insecticidal soap is generally very effective.

A strong spray of water from a garden hose will also dislodge them en masse. Many beneficial insects prefer to feed on aphids: ladybug beetles, parasitic wasps, green lacewings and assassin bugs. If you have these beneficial in your garden, there may be no need for additional control measures.
Spider Mites: are tiny members of the arachnid family, distant cousins to spiders, ticks, lice and scorpions. There are multiple species and many are common rose pests. The damage they cause can be much more significant than that of aphids. An infested plant can become entirely defoliated and even die. Spider mites seem more prone to attack miniature, patio and potted roses. Landscape shrubs seem less prone to full infestation but they are susceptible.

Spider Mites:
are tiny members of the arachnid family, distant cousins to spiders, ticks, lice and scorpions. There are multiple species and many are common rose pests. The damage they cause can be much more significant than that of aphids. An infested plant can become entirely defoliated and even die. Spider mites seem more prone to attack miniature, patio and potted roses. Landscape shrubs seem less prone to full infestation but they are susceptible.
spider mites

Japanese Beetles:
are a common imported insect pest across the Carolinas. They plague hundreds of ornamentals, fruits and crops. They can cause serious damage to roses, munching up entire leaf structures and blooms. They overwinter in lawns, turf and other areas as white ground grubs. Adults emerge and are active in late spring, usually May-June in the Carolinas. Control of these beetles can be difficult.
Japanese Beetle

They have few natural predators here in the U.S. Some insecticides may not work on Japanese Beetles. If chemical control becomes necessary, be sure to use an insecticide labeled for them. Traps designed for them can be used but are only partially effective. Lawn grub control can be effective as a prevention measure but is generally only warranted for a severe grub population.

Thrips or Flower Thrips:
are most commonly seen in June. Like other pests, they feed on a wide variety of plants. Roses are but one of their potential food sources. The good news is that roses are not necessarily their favorites. Thrips are tiny, very mobile and are easily carried from plant to plant by winds.
Thrips
They are rarely noticed until plant damage has occurred. They specifically attack buds and blooms of roses and can be difficult to control.
Chemical measures may be indicated for a serious problem.

Rose Leafhopper:
There are several varieties of leafhoppers that can be found in North & South Carolina.

The Rose Leafhopper feeds primarily on roses and their plant cousins. They become active in spring and early summer and persist through early autumn. They are typically less than a half inch in length. Adults and nymphs are white.

Their damage to plants resembles that of mites and is generally minor. If present, they will fly or jump off rapidly in multiple directions if a plant is shaken or jiggled. Insecticidal soaps are effective for small to moderate infestations but chemical controls may be indicated for the rare, larger problem.



NCSU Thrip Information Dept. of Entomology NCSU/Thrips Japanes Beetle/Clemson Toxic Free NC Information/Japanese Beetle Spider Mites/Clemson NCSU Information/Spider Mite Aphid Images
Lynn Cochran member of American Rose Society.


Helpful Links

NCSU Thrip Information
Dept. of Entomology NCSU/Thrips
Japanese Beetle/Clemson
Toxic Free NC Information/Japanese Beetle
Spider Mites/Clemson
NCSU Information/Spider Mite
Aphid Images