IPM for insect pests of roses

First inspect your plants for damage or insects. This is called scouting. Look for discoloration, unusual growth, swellings, and leaf defoliation. Set a threshold for your acceptance level of insect and disease damage. While this can be related to plant health, in the case of ornamental plants, such as roses, it often relates to aesthetics. When damage is discovered, be sure the damaging insects are still present. It will not help to use controls after the insects have left. When pest insects are found, consider the range of options available for controlling that particular pest. Control suggestions are given below for specific pests. There may be options other than conventional insecticides to control the pest. The use of physical measures, low-toxicity insecticides (called biorational insecticides), or the judicious use of conventional insecticides help preserve beneficial insects that naturally help keep pest insect populations in check. If physical measures are an option for your pest, try them first. If not, use the least toxic insecticide that is effective for your pest. Proper timing of insecticidal usage to the vulnerable stage of the pest is important.

The target is the pest, therefore inspect the plant to see where the pests are located and treat only those areas. Spot treating puts the insecticide only where it is needed and reduces the amount of pesticide used.

Steps in IPM

  1. Routinely inspect plants for pests before damage becomes severe.
  2. Determine an acceptable threshold of pest damage.
  3. Consider a range of options available to control the pest once the threshold is reached.
  4. Choose the least toxic treatment that will effectively solve the problem.
  5. Begin inspecting. Return to step 1.

Specific pesticides are suggested for each pest. The pesticides are listed by the common chemical name found in the active ingredient area of the product label. An example of a trade name is in parentheses. Look for the appropriate active ingredient on the label and verify that the product can be used on roses. Some pesticide products are ready to use, while others require preparation. Also, some pesticides are harder to find and may require more effort to locate. Always read and comply with the pesticide label. Use of trade names does not imply endorsement.

Table 1. Physical and Biorational Controls for Rose Insects.
Read the information within the text for further details about these control options.
Insect insecticidal soaps horticultural oils azadirachtin water spray pruning hand-picking
Japanese beetle*            
False Japanese beetle          
Rose chafer          
Fuller rose beetle          
Leafcutting bees            
Spider mites        
Rose stem girdler          
Rose stem sawfly          
Carpenter bees          
Rose midge          
Gall wasps          

* See text.

Table 2. Insecticides for Rose Insects. Read the information within the text for appropriate chemicals, timing of application, and other management suggestions. Other professional recommendations are provided in the Extension publication, Insecticide Suggestions to Manage Landscape Tree and Shrub Insects, FO-0704.
Insect pyrethrins malathion (Sevin)
Japanese beetle**    
False Japanese beetle      
Rose chafer      
Fuller rose beetle      
Leafcutting bees*            
Spider mites          
Rose stem girdler*            
Rose stem sawfly*            
Carpenter bees*            
Rose midge***          
Gall wasps*            

* Report sightings to the MDA.
** See text.
*** Dimethoate (Cygon-2E) is another systemic chemical for rose midge.

See Extension publication Sustainability in Urban Ecosystems, FO-6709, for more information on limiting the use of pesticides. Other information on roses can be found in Extension publications: Rose Diseases, FS-1163; Selecting Hardy Roses for Northern Climates, FO-6750; the slide set CUES for Hardy Roses, SS-6751; and Roses for the North, MR-6594; and the slide set CUES for Insect Identification on Roses, SS-6954.

HOME: Insect Pests of Roses NEXT: Defoliators/leaf feeders