The Q&A Archives: Roseslugs

Question: We have little tiny green worms eating from the underside of our rose leaves. Sprayed with botanical pyrethrine, and it did not seem to bother them a bit. They do not eat through the leave, just looks like they have. Leaves look like they have been shot with buckshot.

Answer: Your description sounds like roseslugs. They are pale green caterpillars (with brown heads) that skeletonize the leaves, causing dried up areas. They often feed on the underside, because they like the protection, but if roses are in the shade, they may eat on the top. They are the larvae of a sawfly. Hose them off with a blast of water daily or handpick and destroy. Natural enemies often keep them in check. Insecticidal soap or pyrethrin are the listed controls. Be sure to spray on the undersides of leaves, whether you are using water or a chemical control.

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