Insects Are Eating Holes in My Roses

Written by tracy hodge
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Insects Are Eating Holes in My Roses
Leafcutter bees eat small, round holes in rose leaves. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Many home gardeners enjoy growing roses. Choosing roses that are best suited to the growing conditions in your area will increase your chance of successfully growing lovely roses. However, certain insects can eat holes in roses and damage their appearance.

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A variety of insects can eat holes in rose petals and leaves. Ragged holes in leaves of roses often indicate infestations of caterpillars, Japanese beetles, snails and slugs. Holes appearing perfectly round on leaves indicate the presence of leafcutter bees. Japanese beetles, corn earworms, and cucumber beetles also feed on rose petals and leave small holes behind.


Holes that develop on the leaves of the rose bush or on flower petals are indications of insect damage. Determine which type of insect is eating your roses by observing the type of holes left behind and the areas the rose bush is damaged. Some insects leave evidence behind, making the diagnosis easy to confirm. Leafcutter bees use the circular flower pieces they cut out from rose petals to place in their nests, which are commonly found near debris or wood piles.


Baits and traps are often used to control slugs or snails near rose bushes. Insects such as beetles and caterpillars are easily removed by hand. Adding beneficial predators that eat the insects or applying an insecticide can help control harmful insects.

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