Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rose Budworms

Seeing a flurry of small moths around your rose bushes? You may be on the verge of a Rose Budworm infestation. These moths aren't collecting nectar from the flowers; They're laying eggs near the flower buds.

Once the eggs hatch, tiny caterpillars (called budworms) crawl to developing flower buds and bore into the petals. They're using the petals as their food source.

The budworms create perfectly round perforations as they chew through the flower buds.
And as the petals unfurl, the caterpillar will have already moved on to another flower or pupated. The rose petals will look like they've been peppered with bird shot and you'll say to yourself, "I've worked on these roses all summer long through the brutal heat and now their flowers all look like this? Just Great."I wouldn't worry about trying to prevent this pest. They are only around for a couple of weeks so it's not worth the hassle. If you do decide to treat, use a biological product like Dipel (a.k.a Bacillis thuringiensis).

Side Note: Something I've noticed over the last few days is that they favor 'Sunny Knockout' over other types of roses. They still get into the other Knockout roses, but they are definitely more attracted to the yellow cultivar.

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