How to deal with aphids on your roses

The most common of the bad bugs to be found on roses in spring is the Aphid. There are at least 4000 varieties of aphids. They attack the soft succulent new growth of roses by means of their hypodermic-like mouths, which they use to suck out the plants juices. Left unchecked they can deform new growth and set back the formation of blooms on your roses. They also leave behind a sticky honey dew substance which in turn attracts ants, bees and flies. But, the good news is that they have their own enemies in nature, not just man.

LADYBIRDS

One method of combating aphids is to do plantings that attract natural predators like the ladybird. Most, if not all, are rather impractical for most rose gardens. However, if you can accommodate plants like yarrow, white sweet clover, tansy, sweet fennel, sweet alyssum, spearmint, Queen Anne’s lace, flowering buckwheat or caraway, you are home free.

INSECTICIDAL SOAPS

The next step is to resort to insecticidal soaps. They only eliminate insects that they come in direct contact with. That means you have to spray the soap mixture directly on the insect. They are only effective as long as they remain liquid. However, they are effective against insects like aphids, while allowing the predator insects with harder bodies to escape harm.

The final resort is to use chemical insecticides to do the job. There are many broad spectrum insecticides available and with care they are very effective. Choose your sprays and sprayers carefully.

The best insect protection however, is a healthy flourishing rose bush. That means adequate fertilising and water. A healthy bush can quickly recover from any insect attack.