Aphids are tiny pink or green pear-shaped insects with slender legs that live in colonies on the underside of rose bush leaves and flower buds. The parasitic insects feed on the juice of the plant and can quickly reproduce, leading to massive infestations that can cause serious damage to your roses. Some aphids also carry rose mosaic virus, which causes bleaching and spotting on rose leaves. Often appearing in early spring and summer months, signs of rose aphid infestation include curled, sticky or disfigured leaves and flower buds and leaves that are bronzed or have white spots. Aphids can be controlled using chemical insecticides and several natural organic methods. Unlike chemical insecticides, natural methods of aphid control do not leave behind a toxic residue on your rose bushes that can kill beneficial insects.
Aphids can be found on the underside of leaves and on new shoots or leaf growth on a rose. One natural method of aphid control that can be done by hand is spraying the infested rose leaves and flowers with a strong jet of water from a garden hose. This knocks the aphids off of your roses and onto the ground, where natural predators will consume them. This is best done in the morning on a sunny day, as mold spores are released during the evening and night time and a wet rose can pick them up more readily, which encourages the mold to grow. Another manual control method is to pinch or squish the aphids, killing them by hand.
Ladybugs, lacewings, assassin bugs and pirate bugs are all predatory insects that consume rose aphids. Many predatory insects are beneficial to your garden and will protect your roses and other plants in your garden from aphid infestation. Predatory insects can be purchased from specialty gardening centers and from wholesale plant catalogs. For instance, ladybugs are sold in their adult form; they are applied twice, two weeks apart, in a large numbers of roughly 1,500 bugs that are released onto and near the low branches of the rose where they connect to a main cane. The ladybugs will crawl up the rose cane and begin feasting on the aphids. Some of the ladybugs may fly away if they are released during the hottest part of the day or in full sun, so this is best done in early morning or evening.
Aphids have soft bodies that contain openings called spiracles used for respiration, delivering oxygen to the insect’s body tissue. Insecticidal soaps work by covering the aphid’s spiracles and suffocating them. Most aphids will die within one hour of application. Environmentally-friendly insecticidal soaps can be made with all-natural soap, such as liquid castile or olive oil soap. You can make your own insecticidal soap by mixing together 5 tablespoons of all-natural liquid soap with 1 gallon water and apply it with a hand sprayer directly onto the aphids. After an hour has passed, spray the roses with a garden hose to remove any soap residue and the dead aphids. Insecticidal soap will only kill the aphids upon contact and may require multiple applications, but they do not leave a toxic residue on the roses and will not harm the local wildlife.
Other plants in your yard may be attracting aphids or be the source of your rose aphid infestation. Eliminating the source will lessen the chance of another aphid infestation. Treat any other plants in your yard that have aphids with insecticidal soap or another natural remedy. Remove any weeds that aphids are attracted to such as thistle, mustard plant and milk weed from your garden. Winged adult aphids use the wind to fly onto new food sources, such as roses.
---Advertisements--- Handheld Pump Pressure Water Sprayer www.tagreat.com Easy grip handles and triggers for homeowners big and small. Lightweight and versatile, the Sprayer is ideal for general spraying both indoors and out: weed control, gardening, auto, general cleaning, and many more other applications.