Leaf-Eating Bugs on Rosebushes

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Leaf-Eating Bugs on Rosebushes
Check the foliage of the rosebush daily for signs of insect infestations. (Waterdrops on the leaves of a rose-bush. image by Saskia Massink from Fotolia.com)

Even with the best of care, most rosebushes suffer some degree of leaf damage from leaf-feeding bugs. A few measures of preventive maintenance can help reduce the foliage damage that the bush may suffer from insects. Taking prompt action against leaf-eating pests will help keep the rosebush in good health.

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Fuller Rose Beetle

The adult fuller rose beetle (Asynonychus godmani) feeds on the foliage of the rosebush. The insects feed on the leaves during the night and are often hard to spot. They often consume entire leaves. The adult is brownish green in appearance and measures approximately 1/3 inch in length. The larvae feed on the plant's root system. Use an approved insecticide spray to effectively control the fuller rose beetle and its larvae.

Rose Chafer

The rose chafer (Macrodactylus subspinosus) damages the foliage and flowers of the rosebush. The foliage appears skeletonised. The insect, a tan scarab beetle, occurs primarily on rosebushes planted in sandy soils. Handpicking the rose chafer is an effective control measure for a light infestation. Insecticide sprays that contain chlorpyrifos, carbaryl and acephate are effective against the beetles.


The larvae of sawflies (Endelomyia aethiops, Cladius difformis and Allantus cinctus) skeletonise the leaves of rosebushes. Sawfly caterpillars are easily identified by their prolegs, which always consist of five or more pair. The greenish caterpillars measure 3/4 inch in length with an orange head. The insects chew away the leaf's layers and leave only its veins. Consider handpicking the caterpillars or hose them off the rosebush with a forceful spray of water. Horticultural oils and soaps also work.

Japanese Beetle

The adult Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) feeds on rosebuds, but it will also consume foliage. The bugs, which are copper and metallic green, eat large, oblong or round holes in the leaves. They usually work their way from the top of the plant toward the bottom. Handpick the beetles from the foliage in late evening and early morning. If the infestation is heavy, an insecticide spray may be required.

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