Aphids Eating Rose Buds? - Knowledgebase Question

Winnipeg, MB
Avatar for kadenbow
Question by kadenbow
June 16, 2001
There are lots of aphids on the buds of my rose bushes. I washed the aphids off with soapy water but now I see that there are holes in the rose buds and the flowers inside have been eaten away. Is this a case of "too little too late" or can I salvage the rest of the season?

Answer from NGA
June 16, 2001
If the buds have holes and are eaten inside, aphids are not at fault. A little green caterpiller, called the rose budworm (Pyrrhia umbra), is the likely culprit. Control is difficult because you rarely see the caterpillars. The adults lay eggs on the developing rose buds and, after hatching, the little larvae burrow into the unopened bud to feed. They exit, pupate in the ground, and then emerge as adults. Your best defense is to carefully inspect and remove affected buds, then add mulch over the soil at the base of your rose bush. You can further disrupt the lifecycle by regularly raking the mulch to expose the insects to weather and predatory insects.

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