A beautiful and healthy rose garden is the envy of many gardeners. Roses, beautiful as they are, often face challenges that make them hard to grow. Insects, in particular, can do damage to rosebushes that can rob them of their health and beauty. Proper insect control goes a long way toward growing beautiful roses.
Roses are prone to many insect pests. Problems start in spring and continue through the season. The two most problematic insects most gardeners have to contend with are aphids and Japanese beetles. Aphids appear in spring and suck vital fluids from stems, causing decline. Japanese beetles eat rose buds and petals, destroying their beauty. Other pests include rose weevil, rose gall, rose midge and earwigs.
Application of insecticides should begin as soon as aphids appear in spring and continue through the growing season. Apply regularly according to label directions. Avoid applying chemicals to plants during the sunniest part of the day, which can cause chemical burn to plant tissues. Application is usually made with a garden sprayer or a ready-to-use spray bottle.
Choose insecticides specifically labeled for the target insect. Most products kill numerous pests. Among these broad-range insecticides are products containing acetamiprid or acephate, which are both systemic. Systemic insecticides are absorbed into the plant and kill leaf- and petal-eating insects and sucking insects even after the product has washed off. Use neem to control Japanese beetles. Japanese beetle bait traps are placed away from roses and provide a long-term solution to Japanese beetle control.
Insecticidal soap offers a less toxic and more earth friendly solution to many rose pest problems. They are particularly effective against aphids. Natural insecticides like pyrethrum are less toxic to people and pets.
The introduction of insect-eating predators provides natural control. Praying mantis and ladybugs can be purchased at garden centers. If natural predators are introduced to the garden, use chemical remedies as little as possible to avoid harm to them. Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, is a natural, microscopic parasite that kills many larvae and caterpillars that feed on roses. Spraying bushes with a strong spray of water from the hose washes aphids to the ground.