Rose Slugs

It's the time of year when the roses are exciting: foliage is fresh and colorful, blooms are starting to appear. It's also the time of year when a pest makes my normally carefree roses need some help.

The pest is rose slugs, and they can really turn a rose plant ugly.


Rose slugs are the larvae of sawflies (a primitive wasp), and they eat the upper parts of the leaves. They quickly turn this...

...into this mess:

Here you can see one turning healthy leaf into soon-to-be-dead leaf:

They don't touch the blooms though:

Rose slugs also don't eat the entire leaf, just the tops.

So what's eating these leaves (besides deer I mean)?

Oh. I don't think I've ever seen a caterpillar on the roses before. Maybe I just haven't looked closely enough. (It should be pointed out that rose slugs are not caterpillars, so this isn't a bigger, older rose slug.)

Even though the plant is under attack, it still looks fine from normal viewing distance:

I guess that's why I never really bother with treating the rose slugs. I think I'll get out the insecticidal soap as soon as I'm done posting this and see how that goes though. I do not like those crispy leaves!

I think I'll let this guy munch away though. A wren will surely spot it soon, right? Maybe I'll wait until it pupates and put it in a jar to see what it becomes...

Anybody else having any rose pest issues right now?


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Anonymous –   – (May 17, 2013 at 5:12 PM)  

In Virginia (where it's a little warmer) we had inchworms - they ate my dogwood leaves and rose buds, so very few blooms this spring. When I was working in the yard, their droppings sounded like rain, that's how many there were. Those rascals!

Alan  – (May 18, 2013 at 7:28 PM)  

THe insecticidal soap worked on the ones that got sprayed, drying them up. But there were more that didn't get hit.

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