termites

Termites can attack a rose bush and ring bark it. The bark is eaten close to where the main stem comes out of the ground.

ring barked by termites

When: Prevalent in drier periods, but can occur any time of the year.

Where: common in coastal KZN and Midrand, Gauteng.

Remedy: apply Karbadust or Blue Death powder at bottom of holes prior to planting. Applying these insecticide or Plant Care, Termidor, Chlorphiriphos or Dursban to the root area as a drench.

Frequency: every 4 months.

Effect on plant: death as the phloem would be severed and food can no longer flow to the roots.

Info: Termites in search of moisture that happen to find rose bushes growing happily, have no qualms in attacking and ring barking the rose bush. If you experience such problems in your garden, it is easily solved by applying an insecticide regularly as per the above recommendation.

Alternative combat: none

If no action is taken: rose perishes

Termites or White Ants by Lyn Keppler (the rose lady of Natal)

In the warm winter areas of Natal we have termites that eat and ringbark the roses throughout the year.  The only way we can prevent the termites eating the roses is to apply poison like Dursban or Chlorpiriphos every three months to the base of the rose bush and the poison must touch the stems at the base of the rose.

Flying ants are future kings and queens, who have wings for the sole purpose of leaving the nest in order to make a new nest away from the original one.  They usually come out of the nest after rain, as they need soft soil to make their new nest.  The wings are shed in a second and the female sends signals to attract the male and if the female is isolated she will put her bottom in the air and send signals that will attract a flying male from as far away as two kilometers.  He will find her, shed his wings and they will immediately start looking for a new nest, perhaps in your garden.  She will then lay her eggs and thousands of termites will hatch.  Newly planted roses as well as established roses and other woody plants attract them.  Termites are blind and will often travel 3 inches below the soil, they also never sleep and will eat day and night.  If the queen is killed or removed the whole termite nest dies.  One can only prevent termites from eating by treating all woody plants with ant poison.  Once termites have ring barked a rose they seem to vanish, you will never find termites after the damage has been done.  People are often mystified because they see no ants and they wonder why the rose has died.  The rose is often ring barked just below the surface, sometimes the roots are eaten as well.

Termites eat briar as well as the rose.  There is an old wives tale that termites do not eat briar and that was why, in the past, roses were planted with the bud-onion 3 inches above the soil.  In Durban, many years ago, roses were planted in 4-gallon paraffin tins to prevent termite attack

When I went looking for the records of the Botanical Gardens to see what roses they grew in 1865, I was told that there were none as the white ants had destroyed them.

rose borer wasp damage

rose borer wasp damage

If you notice holes that have been made into your rose stems, then you can be sure that the rose stem borer has been visiting.

hole made by rose borer wasp

 

When:

 

Prevalent after pruning, but can occur any time of the year

 

Remedy:

 

Seal stems with Steriseal, PVA paint or mud after cutting

 

Frequency:

 

Usually once should suffice to make the wasps move on

 

Effect on plant:

 

 

Not very detrimental as stem will sprout from eyes below and above

Info:  

The wasps drill a 2-3 cm hole into the pith of rose stems. They do this to lay their eggs into the hollow. The eggs are protected and it is a suitable environment for the eggs to hatch into grubs.

 

Alternative combat:

 

 

Accept their presence

 

If no action is taken:

 

 

The rose will sprout from the eyes below the hollowed out part of the affected stems

rose borer wasps drill 2cm

The wasp drills a tunnel only approximately 3 cm deep.

rose borer wasp

The wasp in action.

rose borer wasp

A close up of the wasp in the hollowed out tunnel in the middle of the rose stem.

Rose chafer beetle (eats blooms)

Fruit chafer beetle

The Rose chafer beetle, fruit chafer beetle or African fruit beetle just loves devouring rose buds. They have their preference and we wish we knew exactly what attracted them to a specific variety in a field of a thousand.

Fruit chafer beetle

When:

 

Summer

 

Remedy:

 

Spray with Plant Care on entire plant & directly onto beetles if possible

 

Frequency to spray:

 

Once a week till damage stops.
Effect on plant:

 

Blooms look like they have been feasted on; effect on growth and re-sprouting not really noticeable.

 

Info:

 

Rose Chafer beetles can smell your roses from kilometres away.  They are a nuisance but they do disappear after a while.

 

Alternative combat:

 

Good way of getting rid of them is to pay children a small fee for each beetle cought. One can simply smack them from the bud into a small bucket with water and a little cooking oil.
If no action is taken:

 

The blooms of the specific varieties they attack will have devoured petals.

Fruit chafer beetle

Fruit chafer beetle

 

Fruit chafer beetle grub

The grubs chew on rose roots and can cause serious damage. Drenching with Plant Care or Cyper should get rid of the grubs.

Chafer beetles

Chafer beetle laced leaves

If your rose bush looks anything like this, then Chafer beetles have been eating away at your leaves during the night. That is why one doesn’t necessarily see the beetles causing the damage.

 

 

When:

 

 

Summer

 

 

Remedy:

 

 

Spray with Plant Care on entire plant & on soil around roses. Dust with Karbadust or Blue Death onto leaves.

 

 

Frequency to spray:

 

 

Once a week till damage stops.

 

Effect on plant:

 

 

Rose survives & recovers quickly after spraying.

 

 

Info:

 

 

Beetles bury themselves in the ground in the day.  Beetles like gardens with trees and sheltered areas as they can hide in the trees during the day.

When leaf tissue edges becomes brown, beetles have stopped eating rose leaves.

 

 

Alternative combat:

 

 

Insect lamp / bug zapper close to roses.

 

 

If no action is taken:

 

 

The rose’s leaves ability to photosynthesise is compromised, but once the beetles move on the rose does eventually recover. Flowering will be slower then usual.

 

laced leaves by chafer beetle

Chafer beetle laced leaves

Chafer beetle laced leaves Beetles have moved on!

Bollworm

Caterpillars that chew holes and tunnels through your rose blooms are referred to as bollworms.

A female moth lays her eggs onto the usually still closed bud. When the caterpillars hatch from their eggs they start feeding on the blooms.

As they feed they grow and go through various instars before they eventually pupate in the ground and fulfill their life cycle by becoming moths.

Bollworm

The only way to prevent or cure bollworms is to spray with a suitable insecticide: Plantcare or Cyper

bollworm

bollworm damage

A close up of a bollworm and damage caused to a bloom by it.

bollworm on a bloom

One needs to spray thoroughly into the bloom and onto and all around the buds.

Bollworm & droppings

Bollworm & its droppings