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Roses are still one of the most popular plants in your own garden. Regardless of whether it is a climbing, fragrant, perennial or wild rose, the plants seduce with their growth form, the flowers and the smell. Many rose gardeners are afraid of pests that attack the plants and disturb their vitality. As soon as you know them, you can fight them with appropriate measures.

eaten roses

Who ate your rosebuds and leaves? Like many other plants of the genus Rosa and the rose family (bot. Rosaceae), these plant parts are found food for a wide variety of insects, which happily lay hands on them. Eaten roses are not a pretty sight as they appear weak and unhealthy. For this reason, if something is eating away at your specimens, you should be aware of the possible suspects. Fortunately, the nature of the damage and the possible presence of the pest are indicative of it, making possible measures easier to implement. You can find out here which of the seven suspects eats your leaves and buds.

tip: If you have the ability to attract birds to your garden, you have extremely good protection against most predators. These use the insects as food and thus relieve your roses, which saves the leaves and buds.


vine weevil

The vine weevil, actually ridged vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus), is one of the biggest pests on your roses. Not only the adult specimens, but the larvae feed on your specimens, which eats not only the leaves and buds, but also the roots and, in extreme cases, even the shoots of the roses. You can tell whether the vine weevil has eaten your roses from the following damage pattern:

  • Leaf edges eaten (indented)
  • usually just the edges of the leaves
  • in the evening clearly recognizable, dark beetles can be seen on the leaves
  • new feeding marks the next morning
  • they only eat at night
ridged weevil

Adult vine weevil infestation is not the problem and in most cases it will go away on its own. You can simply collect the vine weevils from the pinks in the evening. To do this, wait until it gets dark and use a flashlight to locate the beetles. A bigger problem are the larvae, which cavort in the ground and eat the rose roots. In the long run, this can lead to a weaker rose that dies and can no longer be saved. If you take a closer look at the soil around the plants, you will find white, quite large larvae. Combat them as follows:

  • use nematodes
  • administer these over the irrigation water
  • necessary soil temperature: 12°C or higher

The nematodes ensure that the larvae stop feeding and slowly die, which at the same time reduces the population of adult animals.

rose sawflies

If leaves on your roses are eaten, it is often the rose sawfly, which is one of the typical pests of roses. The following symptoms indicate the insects:

  • Small, transparent larvae can be seen from May to September
  • these attack the leaves
  • eat them from the underside
  • they start from the middle of the sheet
  • at the end only the leaf veins remain
  • the holes on the leaves are not completely round

An infestation by the rose sawfly is not recorded every year. However, this can be very difficult and kill even a vital specimen within a short time. As soon as you discover the larvae and their feeding damage, you should do this as best you can collect, because this is the only way to combat the infestation in the long term. You can also crush them, so be sure to wear gloves. You should also remove infested leaves and shoots that have not yet lignified. Speed counts here so that the wasps no longer eat your roses.

tip: An infestation by the white-girded rose sawfly (Allantus cinctus) can be determined in a similar way, because the feeding marks look exactly the same, only these start from the edge and not from the middle. They fight the rose sawfly in the same way as the rose sawfly.

garden beetle

Phyllopertha horticola is one of the numerous beetles belonging to the species called June beetles. You can recognize them immediately by their appearance, which corresponds to a June beetle with a size of eight to eleven millimeters. The damage is irregularly eaten leaves and petals, which look weaker and weaker over time. Sometimes you can even spot the animals on the plant parts as they are quite busy. Typical flight times throughout the year are:

  • Late May to first week of July
  • especially on warm days
  • only during the day
  • they rest at night

Garden chafer beetle infestations only have a negative effect on your rose bushes and hedges once they appear in large numbers. They also reproduce via larvae in the soil, which makes controlling June beetles quite easy. The larvae do not harm the plants, but they help to maintain the stock, which in turn can be dangerous for the roses. Here you also use nematodes and try to collect as many of the bugs during the day. They are easy to catch and transport.

Gold shiny rose chafer

Also known as the gold beetle, Cetonia aurata is one of the more pleasant fellows, as it does not eat the leaves and only tastes the flowers and, rarely, buds. These can be recognized by the shiny gold color of the wing shields. They mainly stay in the flowers and eat them from the inside without really damaging them completely. However, if you ever find a large number of the bugs, proceed as follows:

  • remove from the flowers in the morning
  • relocate
  • at noon they fly too fast

Since the beetles in Germany protected are, you may use them not dead, but relocate easily. To prevent settlement, you can adjust the location in the following ways:

  • Replace moldy soil with fresh garden soil
  • remove rotting plant debris
  • Keep compost heaps small

This way the beetle will not settle with you. If you are wondering whether the beetle larvae are eating the roots, you can sit back and relax. These have no interest in the rose roots and focus primarily on decaying plant debris. For this reason, you do not have to do anything about them.

Strawberry Blossom Picker

Anthonomus rubi is a relative of the vine weevil and is recognizable by its blackish-brown color and long proboscis. The beetles are particularly dangerous for the young buds, as they lay their eggs in them and the larvae can grow protected. The damage to the rosebuds is as follows:

  • Buds slightly nibbled at edges
  • no longer open
  • hang down
  • fall off the stem

The cutting point of the bud, through which the beetle interrupts the supply of nutrients, is characteristic of the strawberry blossom weevil. This looks as precisely cut as with secateurs, which amazes many gardeners. The only countermeasure against this is the use of neem-based preparations applied around the roses. The infested and already fallen rosebuds should be removed from the residual waste or burned so that the larvae cannot spread further.

frost moth

The winter moth (Operophtera brumata) is a moth whose larvae feed on the flowers, leaves and buds of roses. This can be recognized by the feeding tracks that run in an arc over the leaves. In addition, the clearly recognizable caterpillars indicate the infestation, which you can easily collect. If the infestation is very large, the leaves will skeletonize. Here it helps to sprinkle neem powder in spring and water it extensively. This strengthens the plant, which means that an infestation is no longer possible. Alternatively, you can make a canola oil and water spray during the infestation and apply it directly to the roses.

Operhophtera brumata larva, small winter moth larva

tip: Rose moths or hedge moths have similar effects on the rose buds and leaves, but differ only slightly in terms of damage. Proceed in the same way here so that your specimens are no longer eaten by the pests.

leafcutter bees

Last but not least, the leaf cutter bees, better known as wallpapering bees, should be mentioned. These insects are not pests, but wild bees that live solitarily. They use parts of the rose petals to build their nests and eat them clean without making them susceptible to disease. The damage caused by the bees being eaten can be recognized by the circular holes that start at the edge of the leaf. Despite the damage, the leaf remains healthy and therefore you do not have to do anything against the bees. Neither should you, as they are at risk for a variety of reasons:

  • environmental pollution
  • habitat loss

Due to their endangerment they are in Germany under special protection and may not be killed or captured. They are also important pollinators for numerous plants in your garden and one of the most important for alfalfa (bot. Medicago sativa). Bees of the Megachile genus only use as many pieces of leaf as they really need and cause very little damage. Therefore, you should be happy about these visitors in your garden.

tip: On rare occasions, your rosebuds and flowers may be missing due to deer browsing. Animals like roses all too well, and if you live near a wooded area or far from urban centers, your roses can suffer.

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