Every garden has a flourishing ecosystem of bugs, plants, and wildlife, but sometimes it’s not always welcome. Are you starting to notice little green bugs on your rose bushes? Or maybe the leaves are turning a bit yellow? Then there’s a good chance you have aphids! Here’s how to get rid of aphids on your precious rose bushes.
What Are Aphids?
Aphids are tiny bugs that feed by sucking nutrients out of plants. They multiply quickly, and in large numbers can do a great deal of damage to plants, weakening them and causing harm to their flowers and fruit.
While it is difficult to see aphids (they are under a quarter inch in size), these small but mighty insects can cause a great deal of harm. They are most often green in color, but can also be white, brown, gray, yellow, light green, and sometimes pink.
Aphids are considered to be an important part of the food chain, but you don’t want them on your plants! It’s normal for them to be a part of a garden ecosystem, but it’s important to check your rose bushes in the spring onwards to ensure action is taken before your plants become damaged.
Why Aphids Prefer Rose Bushes
Aphids will feed on a variety of plants, but species can be specific to a certain type of plant. For aphids, they like roses but not as much as the Macrospihum rosae!
If you find heavy infestations of aphids in rose bushes, it can severely affect the number and quality of blooms. Aphids excrete honeydew, leaving your plant sticky and attracting more unwanted visitors. Even worse, it supports the growth of mold fungi on the leaves.
How To Spot These Pests
When it comes to investigating, make sure to more your plant to a secluded area to prevent an outburst in your home. Here’s what you should be searching for:
- You see green or pink clusters of insects on your flower buds, young foliage, and shoot tips
- There are white aphid skins on your flower buds and leaves
- Buds and foliage may be covered in a sticky honeydew
- Black molds may grow on the honeydew
- Leaves may become yellow, stunted, or malformed
- Other insects such as ladybugs may be present to prey on the aphids
6 Ways to Get Rid Of Aphids On Rose Bushes
Luckily, Aphids are relatively easy to remove from your plants if you catch the infestation quickly. Because they are a natural part of your garden’s ecosystem, you may wish to use organic pest control options where possible.
Sometimes all that is needed to remove Aphids from rose bushes or other plants is a strong stream of water. This stream can remove or dislodge the insects from the plants and they often find it difficult to find their way back.
If comfortable, you can squish aphid colonies with your finger and thumb. While this may not be an ideal or practical method for some people, it can have great success. However, it may be frustrating to do effectively if they come back.
Encourage Natural Predators
Ladybugs, ground beetles, hoverflies, earwigs, and some wasps are all predators of aphids. These garden insects are beneficial to your ecosystem and can help control the population and ensure you do not get a heavy infestation in your garden. These insects are most active in the spring, so encouraging them early will ensure you are not dealing with aphid colonies late into the summer months.
Organic Sprays and Plant Oils
Organic sprays and plant oils, such as neem oil, can help control aphid populations. But, they often have a short persistence time and may need reapplication to ensure aphid numbers remain reasonable.
Another non-pesticide method with good results includes wiping or spraying rose bush leaves with a soap-water mixture that is reapplied every two to three days.
This is a non-toxic, organic material that dehydrates aphids. It can be great for keeping many pests at bay. The downside is that it can be harmful to beneficial insects such as ladybugs, bees, butterflies, and other important members of the garden ecosystem.
Prevent Another Infestation
Once you have removed the aphids from your rose bushes, you will want to make sure they don’t come back. Prevention is an important part of the gardening process.
Attract Beneficial Insects
As mentioned above, many insects are natural predators to aphids. Encourage and attract these insects by creating an enriching environment with a variety of flowers, foliage plants, and great access to water. Plant varieties like salvia and borage to attract pollinators.
Companion plants can help draw aphids away from plants you want to grow, or by deterring them from your garden altogether. Some include catnip, mustard, nasturtium, garlic, and chives.
Pests, Pests, Go Away, Don’t Come Back Another Day
While at first, it might be scary to see tiny green bugs all over your rose bushes, don’t fear! Aphids are a common part of the garden ecosystem and are an easy pest to control with the right tips and know-how.
You can try pinching them off one by one or go a more direct route and grab the sprays! Have you been dealing with an aphid problem? How did you handle it? Make sure to leave your comments below.