Roses are harmed by a variety of garden insects. Aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, and scale are common pests in the rose garden. There are two schools of thought about handling rose insect infestations; organic sprays and chemical insecticides. Natural bug repellents are an organic solution. There are three other factors in creating a bug-free rose garden; good soil condition, companion planting, and use of beneficial insects. Good soil creates strong plants which resist insects. Companion planting creates a growing environment where bugs are repelled by the odor of certain plants.
Identification of Pests
Aphids are a small, soft-bodied insect with relatively long legs and antennae. Spider mites leave tiny light colored spots and a stippled appearance on rose leaves. Whiteflies are easy to identify: When you move near your roses a white cloud floats up. Take action fast because they multiply easily. Whiteflies are less than 1/8 inch long, have a white waxy coating, and hold their wings parallel to the leaf surface. Scale leaves a rust colored residue on the underside of leaves.
Significance of Natural Pest Control
Natural methods of pest control for roses have far-reaching implications. Chemical bug sprays pollute the neighboring gardens, kill insects which are beneficial, and create health hazards for pets and children. Insecticides are often petroleum based products, which increase your "carbon footprint". Sustainable gardening always involves natural methods for pest control.
Natural Bug Spray Solutions
Natural bug sprays will not harm rose plants, pets, or children. Aphids can be flushed off with a strong spray of water from a hose nozzle. A bug repellent spray for aphids can be made with 1 tbsp. of Castile soap and 1 gallon of water. Garlic and pepper spray repels aphids also.
Effects of Companion Planting
Nature provides good solutions for many insect pest problems. Some plants emit odors which cause damaging insects to stay away. Planting them near plants, such as roses, that can be bedeviled by insect pests is called companion planting. The science of companion planting has developed as organic gardening practices have become more popular. Companion plants that deter spider mites include coriander and dill. Plant garlic, onions and radishes near rose plants to repel aphids, spider mites and whiteflies
Advantages of Beneficial Insects
Ladybugs, preying mantis and lacewings are known as "beneficials". They eat the insects that chew and destroy roses. Ladybugs and preying mantis can be purchased at most garden centers or by mail order. You can also attract these beneficial insects to your garden by using a sugar-water spray on the plants.