The Q&A Archives: Rose Slugs On Rose Leaves

Question: How can I control rose slugs most effectively on my 135 rose bushes?

Answer: Roseslugs are the immature stages of primitive wasps called sawflies. Roseslugs look more like caterpillars than slugs. They are not slimy and do not have rasping mouthparts like true slugs. Roseslugs differ from caterpillars in that their abdominal legs do not have hooklike crochets to cling on to foliage or twigs.

Rose slugs look like caterpillars but they are not, consequently some botanical insecticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis will not kill them. If there are only a few rose bushes infested with the roseslugs, pull the leaves off and kill any larvae found on the upper or lower surfaces of the leaves. If the damage is widespread to many rose bushes, chemical control should be considered. Any contact insecticide labeled for use on roses will kill the roseslugs. The key thing is to spray thoroughly to make sure that the spray covers the upper and lower leaf surfaces. Also, spray the soil under the rose bushes as the larvae pupate in the soil prior to overwintering.

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