What Causes Holes in Leaves of Rose Bushes?

Written by lynn dosch
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What Causes Holes in Leaves of Rose Bushes?
Roses are popular with certain types of insects. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Holger (PC-Problems))

When growing roses, you soon discover that these plants are not only popular with humans. Several types of insects are fond of the foliage of rose plants as well. Take steps to prevent or control damage to your rosebushes.

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Inchworms are tiny worms that feast on rose leaves in the early spring. Control these insects by pulling them off by hand.

Cutter Bees

Leaf cutter bees make circular cuts in the edges of leaves. Since the bees are important pollinators and their damage is merely unsightly, chemical controls are discouraged.


Earwigs come out at night to eat the blossoms and leaves of rose plants. These insects have a beneficial role as they also eat some more problematic insects, so if the damage is minimal, you might simply wish to ignore it. If it becomes too extreme, try a barrier spray of chlorpyriphos at the base of the plant.

Japanese Beetles

Damage from Japanese beetles gives a lacy look to rose leaves. Combat these beetles in the early morning when they're moving slowly by knocking them off the plant into a bowl of soapy water. Chemical controls are available for severe infestations.


The best way to discourage rose pests and disease is to keep your roses sufficiently watered, robust and healthy. Keep the bed clean of leaves and other plant matter, as these can create an environment inviting to insects.

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