Roses forum: My Queen Elizabeth roses full of ants... new to Rose gardening

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Name: Random Bunny
Indiana (Zone 5b)
Jun 23, 2020 5:45 PM CST
My QE rose that I planted in May bareroot grew a foot, one of them had 2 buds and one of the buds produced a nice flower.

But both of the bushes have ants top to bottom... I read about Aphids which I am seeing as well. Now more than half the leaves have holes in them.

I tried Neem spray, I sprayed Diatomaceous Earth powder... which of got washed off in rains, so I applied again.... to no avail. I wanted to stay natural but it does not looks like this is working so I am thinking I have to take the pesticide route.

Any recommendations on a potent product that will take care of this issue? Looks like the growth has stopped- wonder if its because of ants and Aphids. Will the growth come back? Are only leaves getting damaged- meaning, the bush itself (the stems, branches) is fine and will leaf out in Spring after loosing these leaves?

Thank you
Name: Ken Wilkinson
N.E. GA. (Cornelia) (Zone 7b)
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Dragonflies Hummingbirder Roses Region: Georgia Daylilies
Jun 23, 2020 6:53 PM CST
When the bugs get out of hand in my garden, I use Ortho Insect Spray. I use it just before the sun goes down so I don't bother the bee's as much.
It's a rose!!! It has nothing to do with life and death.
Coastal Southern California (Zone 13a)
Jun 23, 2020 6:59 PM CST
The ants are probably there because of the aphids. They "farm" them for nectar which the aphids give off when the ants "stroke" them.

I think I would try using one of the non-toxic ant-baits that kill the colony ... the ants carry it home. It takes a few days, but it really works.

Then, once the ants are gone, you can get rid of the aphids. EYE would wash and wash the plant with a hard hose spray, but I can understand why you might resort to pesticide.
Name: Mike Stewart
Lower Hudson Valley, New York (Zone 6b)
Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Roses Seed Starter Container Gardener Bulbs
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Jun 23, 2020 9:37 PM CST
Hold on, let's back up... you say you have two rose bushes. That means the problem is very easy to manage without using poisons. All you need to do is get a hand-held spray bottle, fill it with water, add some liquid soap, shake it up, and spray it on the aphids. The soap will suffocate them and they will die off right away. Rinsing the plant with a hose spray can also work to get rid of them. Once the aphids are dead or gone, they will no longer produce the "honeydew" that the ants like. This means the ants, in turn, will go away (you don't need to kill them, too - they are no threat to your roses).
[Last edited by Mike - Jun 23, 2020 9:40 PM (+)]
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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
Jun 23, 2020 9:49 PM CST
Or you could encourage more wildlife like ladybugs, lacewings and birds which are all voracious aphid predators. Killing one type of insect invariably means killing more and upsetting the balance resulting in more pest attacks.

If you only have 2 roses squish as many of the aphids as you can with your gloved fingers. Using washing up liquid isn't very environmentally friendly either as most are full of nasty chemicals.
Name: Random Bunny
Indiana (Zone 5b)
Jun 24, 2020 7:26 AM CST
Oh. I thought Ants were eating up leaves and making those holes in them. If not ants, then what's causing those holes?
SW Ohio River Valley (Zone 6b)
Jun 24, 2020 1:06 PM CST
Without a picture it's anyone's guess, but mine would be leaf-cutter bees (good guys), of rosefly slugs aka sawfly larvae which eat from the bottom of the leaf and leaf a sort of window pane affect. They can be washed off with a strong spray off water or, if Covids left you with lots of time on your hands and you don't have many roses, you can squish or remove them individually. They move like wildfire so as soon as you see any damage spring into action. When they're done feeding they drop to the ground to pupate.

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