Roses forum: This is war

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Name: J
Phoenix, AZ
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GrowNRepeat
Mar 19, 2019 11:22 AM CST
Aphids and I have been at war for 3-4 months now. I Have bought 10,000 ladybugs that stayed about a month, sprayed the roses with the hose about twice a week. Neem oil has been used. Me and the aphids had hand to hand combat they didn't stand a chance when the fingers went in for the kill, but they regroup daily calling in reinforcements.

I'm going to get the poison out as much as I hate using it, This Is War. I will wait it out a day or so to hear what you folks have to say.
Name: Mike
Long Beach, Ca.
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Roses Region: California Hummingbirder Farmer
Daylilies Cat Lover Bulbs Butterflies Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Calsurf73
Mar 19, 2019 5:21 PM CST
In the past I shared your frustration.
But remember, when you use chemical poisons you also kill off the beneficial insects that eat the aphids, including the metamorphal stage of the lady bugs.
Do you have any other plants that attract your local birds ? If so, birds, especially fledglings, are great at devouring aphids on roses w/o hurting the plant. (From my experience, anyway.)
Since you're in Az., you should have lizards that will eat the aphids as well.
The life cycle of an aphid is very FAST, so until you get them under control you may have to hose them off daily. Once they're washed off, they can't climb back up.
If you try the ladybug release method again, release them gradually, vs. all at once...say every few days.
Name: seil
St Clair Shores, MI (Zone 6a)
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seilMI
Mar 19, 2019 6:30 PM CST
They are a pain but not really worth getting out the big guns since they are so easily killed. I use a spray bottle with water and a drop of dish soap on mine and that has always worked for me. The soap dries them out and they just brush off. As Mike said, you do have to do it daily for a week or so to catch each hatching. They usually have a fairly short season so they shouldn't be back until the weather is just right again.
Zone 9, Sunset Zone 9 (Zone 9b)
Roses
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Mustbnuts
Mar 19, 2019 9:29 PM CST
Aphids can be "tamed" by hosing them off as you have. What you see is that they have a mouthpiece that "bites" into the plant. When you hose them off, they fall off but their mouth remains. In essence they are dead.

Releasing the lady bugs won't help. Lady bugs are solitary creatures. After being stuck on those containers, all they want to do is fly away from each other, so you are helping someone else's garden out because they won't stay in your yard. You have to get them in the larvae stage for them to do anything. Probably better off getting lacewings instead. They will help to control your aphids just as well as the ladybugs. If you are going to go that route, get them from a reputable insect hatchery and not your local big box store. They are too old at that point.

I would continue to do what you have been doing. Hose them off daily. Spray with some soap if you wish. If you want to introduce more beneficial bugs into your garden, try buying some lacewing larvae.

Squish the aphids off with your fingers. They are one bug I will squish with my bare fingers with glee. Some of the bugs that others will squish with their fingers, eeeuuuuwwwww! I won't touch them unless I have gloved hands or cut them up with my garden tools.
Name: Carol
Alberta, Canada (Zone 3b)
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Canadian_Rose
Mar 20, 2019 12:59 AM CST
I agree with everyone else here. They're not worth using poison. I squish with my fingers. I thought it was gross at first, but now, it's no big deal.
Good luck!
Carol
Name: J
Phoenix, AZ
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GrowNRepeat
Mar 20, 2019 11:05 AM CST
I'm not going to use the poison, shhhh can't let them know they're listening.

Calsurf73.. I have plenty of lizards but I have never seen them in my plants. I got the ladybugs just to get them I released them over a few days but deep down I get this feeling of killing beneficial insects who are not benefiting me at all.

SeilMI..I have done the soap water thing in the past but gave me same results as the neem oil. Maybe the wash that runs behind my house breeds super aphids and the weather, I have these dang things year round.

Mustbnuts..that's hilarious, I have always said that "this is the only bug I'll squash with bare hands". I think of them as little balls of plants that squish/pop. . I got Greenlace wings galore around my house but just like the ladybugs, I got ones that are on a diet. Wasn't expecting much from the lady's but did it anyway and yes I release over a few days.

Canadian_rose.. The poison is me just kidding myself. After hand to hand combat my hands are green!

Coastal Southern California (Zone 13a)
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jerijen
Mar 20, 2019 1:46 PM CST
Ladybugs are good for a few hours, and then, they fly away. There are OTHER beneficials you can release (including ladybug larvae) that will hang around and do a better job.

When we quit spraying (cold turkey -- when we found it caused our dog to seizure -- NO rose is worth that) it took a full year for all of the chemicals to disappear. Once they were gone, bushtits started flying in to clear off every aphid in about 2 hours. Lizards proliferated, and ate ground-level bugs. Other beneficials dropped in to snack.

Now, the random bunch of aphids are easily brushed or washed off. And I feel a lot better about the whole thing.
Name: Carol
Alberta, Canada (Zone 3b)
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Canadian_Rose
Mar 21, 2019 12:25 AM CST
J - Hilarious! your lacewings were on a diet! Hang in there...and squish, squish, squish.

JerJen - I love the sound of your ecosystem!! Good job!

Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
Charter ATP Member Bulbs Bookworm Amaryllis Houseplants Annuals
Garden Photography Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Foliage Fan Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Frogs and Toads
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kniphofia
Mar 21, 2019 12:33 AM CST
Don't resort to poisons - give the environment time to build up a balance of predatory insects which will eventually keep the aphids down. It's the ladybird larvae that eat most greenfly rather than the adults themselves.
I once had a Euphorbia wulfenii that always got covered with aphids in early Spring and I was always rather in despair but sure enough the ladybirds would eventually arrive and clear the lot.
Be patient.
Long Island, New York, USA (Zone 7a)
Region: New York Roses
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Ray_Gun
Mar 21, 2019 9:57 AM CST
Ok so now I'm hoping for aphids so I can get some lacewing eggs and watch this epic battle!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
Name: Carol
Alberta, Canada (Zone 3b)
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Canadian_Rose
Mar 21, 2019 11:01 AM CST
Ray_Gun - you don't get aphids?
Long Island, New York, USA (Zone 7a)
Region: New York Roses
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Ray_Gun
Mar 21, 2019 11:21 AM CST
Oh I get them for sure. I just meant now I'm actually almost, but not really, looking forward to them so I can get some lacewing larvae and watch the show lol
Name: Carol
Alberta, Canada (Zone 3b)
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Canadian_Rose
Mar 21, 2019 3:06 PM CST
Oh, sure. Smiling I once had a lacewing bite me! Hilarious! It landed on my arm and then bit me...and it was a little painful. I would love to get lacewing larvae too! I wonder where I'd get some. I'm going to look into this. Green Grin!
Name: Carol
Alberta, Canada (Zone 3b)
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Canadian_Rose
Mar 21, 2019 3:08 PM CST
I just found this:

The bug is a predator that feeds mainly on aphids and soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars, mealybugs and whiteflies. The insects are truly harmful only to tiny prey, but you could experience a painful bite from time to time if you have lacewings in your garden.

Cool!
Name: seil
St Clair Shores, MI (Zone 6a)
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seilMI
Mar 21, 2019 9:17 PM CST
A lot of good things to know here. I usually have ladybugs in my yard to I've never had to release them. I didn't know that they flew off so quickly.
Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
Charter ATP Member Bulbs Bookworm Amaryllis Houseplants Annuals
Garden Photography Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Foliage Fan Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Frogs and Toads
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kniphofia
Mar 21, 2019 11:07 PM CST
The adult or imago will probably fly off in search of a mate. Their purpose is to lay eggs which they will do near to a food source for larvae.

http://www.uksafari.com/ladybi...
https://www.arkwildlife.co.uk/...

Mine are UK links but you will still find them useful.
Remember, when you use poison to kill the bad guys you kill the good guys as well.
Long Island, New York, USA (Zone 7a)
Region: New York Roses
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Ray_Gun
Mar 22, 2019 8:12 AM CST
@canadian_rose I saw them on Amazon with what seemed like a reasonable price. Last year when I got aphids they were easy enough to keep under control but I have a lot more bushes this year so I just might have to resort to more extreme measures! nodding

I wonder if the larvae would go after rose slugs, too? Those gave me more of a headache then the aphids.
Zone 9, Sunset Zone 9 (Zone 9b)
Roses
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Mustbnuts
Mar 22, 2019 11:11 AM CST
I am so grateful for my materials and my classes.

Rose slugs are not really slugs at all but the larvae of a sawfly. Apparently we have three different types of rose sawflies. One is the European roseslug sawfly which produces only one generation per year. After feeding they drop into the soil to pupate. There is another closely related species called the bristly roseslug sawfly which can produce two to six generations per year. There is a third species called the curled roseslug sawfly which produces two generations per year. They all look similar (light green) but the bristly roselug sawfly have bristle-like hairs covering their bodies and curled roseslug sawflies curl up the body when at rest---ugh, the ones I have along with the European ones.

Start looking for them in the mid-spring. If the infestation is light, you can remove the leaves and destroy the larvae (I love cutting them in half with my clippers---ewwwwwww! but they deserve it! How dare they do that to my beautiful roses!). A good shot of water will also knock them off but you need to check the top and bottom of the leaves to see where they are hiding. If you want more natural defense, their natural enemies are parasitic wasps, birds, small mammals, predaceous beetles as well as they are susceptible to fungal and viral diseases. You can also use horticultural oils, neem oil, insecticidal soap (check the label to make sure it works against these things), however, Bt is not effective with them as they are not a caterpillar.

I just love my classes! Hope you don't mind the info.

Long Island, New York, USA (Zone 7a)
Region: New York Roses
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Ray_Gun
Mar 22, 2019 11:16 AM CST
Mind?! I'm so grateful! Thank for the detailed explanation. I think I must have the European and the curled? I was pretty diligent last year with squashing them but with all my new plants being pretty small it was tough to thoroughly examine under the leaves. Also, when I tried spraying them off the water pressure was too high and I snapped a stem D'Oh!

I'll be sure to pose my questions to you since you're such an accomplished student! Smiling
Name: Carol
Alberta, Canada (Zone 3b)
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Canadian_Rose
Mar 22, 2019 12:14 PM CST
Ray_Gun - yes, I totally don't understand the idea of spraying water at roses to wash off insects...snap, break, etc. I've always believed that other people must have some secret way of spraying that doesn't ruin the stems. Whistling Hilarious! Lacewing larvae. Hmmmm....that sounds like fun to release them into the yard. They're so pretty!

Mustbnuts - I didn't know about all the varieties! Smiling I guess, I must have the curled variety..since they're not bristly and they are around all summer. I'm so glad you're enjoying your classes! And we get to benefit from your knowledge! It's a win-win!
Carol

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