what is eating my rose leaves uk

“What is eating my rose leaves?” UK pest control experts say this is a common question among beginner gardeners. When they discover that some unidentified insect has decimated their cherished roses one morning, they are curious about the precautions they should take to protect their plants.

There are a variety of pests that can inflict damage on roses, but understanding the most common offenders is an excellent place to start. In this blog, we’ll provide information on the most common pests that can inflict damage on your garden plants. We will also include tips and tricks on eliminating pests and keeping your roses healthy and beautiful!

What Is Eating My Rose Leaves? UK Pests to Watch Out For

Some pests and insects can feed on your rose leaves, but the most common ones in the UK are:


cluster of aphids on leaf 1

Aphids, which are microscopic sap-sucking insects, can seriously harm rose plants. These pesky insects are often found in large numbers on the undersides of rose leaves, and they can cause the leaves to curl up and turn yellow and eventually drop off. Aphids also secrete a sticky substance called honeydew, attracting other pests like ants and bees.

To remove aphids from your roses, you can try one of the following methods:

  • manually remove them using a hose or a spray bottle filled with water
  • use an insecticidal soap spray
  • release ladybugs or lacewings, which are natural predators of aphids


caterpillar on leaf

Caterpillars are the larvae of moths and butterflies, and they can cause severe damage to rose bushes. They are often found feeding on the leaves of roses, resulting in the leaves being skeletonized. In severe infestations, caterpillars can completely defoliate a bush.

To get rid of caterpillars on roses, you can try one of the following methods:

  • manually remove them from the plant and place them in soapy water
  • use an insecticidal spray containing bacillus thuringiensis

Japanese Beetles

These shiny, metallic-green beetles are about 15mm long, and they love to feast on rose foliage! They chew large holes in rose leaves, making the plant look tattered.

You can prevent Japanese beetles from attacking your roses using a pesticide that contains neem oil.

Rose Sawfly Larvae

A rose sawfly larva is a common pest that feasts on rose leaves. This small, greenish-yellow creature is in the larval stage of a large rose sawfly.

Large rose sawflies are black insects with yellow stripes about 12mm long. They lay eggs on the undersides of rose leaves in late spring or early summer.

The emerging rose slugs have a voracious appetite, and they can quickly devour all the leaves on a rose bush. If you find rose slugs on your plants, you can try one of the following methods:

  • manually remove them from the plant and place them in soapy water
  • use an insecticidal soap spray

Spider Mites

These tiny creatures are related to spiders, and they love to feed on the leaves of rose bushes. These insects cause the leaves to turn yellow and brown, eventually killing the plant.

To get rid of spider mites, you can try one of the following methods:

• use a horticultural oil spray

• encourage ladybugs or lacewings, which are natural predators of spider mites

Fuller Rose Beetle

The full rose beetle is a small, black beetle that feeds on the flowers and buds of roses. It can cause buds to wither and die, and it can also spread disease.

There is no real way to get rid of full rose beetles, but you can try to discourage them from feeding on your roses by using a pesticide that contains neem oil.

Leafcutter Bees


Leafcutters are about the same size as honeybees, but they are black with white markings on their abdomens. They cut circular pieces out of rose leaves to line their nests. This damage is usually not severe, but it can make the plant look unsightly.

To deter leafcutters from damaging your rose bushes, you can try planting fragrant herbs like lavender, thyme, or mint near your roses. You can also place a sticky trap very near the plants to catch the bees.

These are just several of the most common garden pests that can eat your rose leaves. For more information on unidentified pests that attack your plants, it would help if you consulted with a pest control expert.

Protecting Your Rose Bushes From Pests and Insects

It is vital to take control measures to prevent pests from getting to your roses, as they can cause serious damage to the plants. There are various methods you can use to protect your roses from pests, including:

Physical Barriers

You can protect your plants by using physical barriers, such as netting or insect-proof mesh. This method is especially helpful at preventing damage from flying insects, such as aphids.

Chemical Barriers

gloved hand spraying insecticide on garden plants 1

You can also use chemical barriers to protect your roses. This involves spraying the plants with insecticides. Follow the instructions on the label carefully, as using excessive amounts of these products can be harmful to your plants.

Examples of insecticides used for eliminating rose pests are :

Biological Controls

Many gardeners prefer to use biological methods over chemical ones. Biological controls involve using other organisms to control the pests that are damaging your roses. For example, you can release ladybugs into your garden, as they will eat aphids. Another option is to use nematodes, which are tiny worms that will eat the larvae of some pests, such as Japanese beetles.

No matter what pest control method you choose, it is important to be vigilant in protecting your plants against pests and insects, as they can cause significant damage if left unchecked. By taking the proper precautions, you can ensure that your roses remain healthy and beautiful for many years to come.

How to Care For Your Rose Bush

Roses are among the most popular flowers in the world, and for a good reason. They’re beautiful, fragrant, and come in a wide variety of colours. But roses can also be susceptible to pests and diseases, which can cause damage to the leaves, stems, and flowers. Below are tips for growing and caring for healthy roses.


Roses need at least an inch of water per week and more during hot, dry periods. Water your rose bushes early in the day, so the leaves have time to dry before nightfall. This will help prevent fungal diseases.


Use a fertiliser that’s high in nitrogen and potassium but low in phosphorus. Fertilise twice a year, in early spring and midsummer.


Prune roses in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. Remove any dead, diseased, or damaged stems and branches, and cut back the healthy ones by about one-third.


Keep an eye out for weeds, especially dandelions, which can compete with roses for water and nutrients. Weeds can either be removed by hand or with a weed killer.

Pest Control

There are many pests that can infest rose bushes, including aphids, caterpillars, spider mites, and whiteflies. To control these rose pests, you may need to use pesticides or insecticides. Follow the package instructions carefully and take extra care not to harm beneficial insects.

Disease Control

Plant diseases such as black spots, powdery mildew, and rust effect roses. To prevent these diseases, water early in the day so the leaves have time to dry before nightfall. You may also have to use a fungicide.

Insects and diseases can be a major nuisance for rose gardeners. But with proper watering, fertilising, pruning, and pest control, you can keep your roses healthy and looking beautiful.

Growing Healthier and Pest-Free Roses

Roses can be beautiful and fragrant, but they’re also susceptible to pests and diseases. To keep your roses healthy, ensure they are getting enough sunlight, watered, fertilised, maintained, and inspected for pests and diseased.

We hope you found this blog post on “What is eating my rose leaves in the UK?” helpful. And if you have pest control and rose growing tips for our readers, please share them in the comments below!

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