Roses often face pests and diseases. These can be environmental such as frost, viruses, and fungal diseases such as Rose mosaic, as well as pests.
Beetles are some of the most problematic rose pests as they can feed on the entire rose flower starting with the flower and continuing with its foliage and buds.
Beetles that eat roses are found all over the world. Some have been accidentally introduced in North America. While some types of roses are immune to these types of pests, many individual species aren’t.
Table of Contents
How Do Beetles Eat Roses?
Beetles eat the flowers of roses, the leaves, and even their roots. Some types of beetles eat all parts of roses while others only these separate parts of the flower.
Beetles commonly eat a given part of the rose depending on the age.
Larvae beetles are commonly found eating rose flower roots. Younger larvae have been known for eating root hairs while older larvae have been seen eating entire roots of roses.
Larvae can sometimes completely kill roses which lose their ability to stand without their roots.
The adult beetle is known for eating rose petals and rose flowers. These are typically handpicked as they tend to overwhelm rose flowers in high numbers.
Some beetles that eat roses are also known for eating other plants and flowers. Many species are declared pests as a result.
12 Beetles That Eat Roses
The following beetles are known for eating one or multiple individual rose species. They can chew small holes in roses or completely chew entire flowers.
1. Japanese beetle
Scientific name: Popillia japonica.
Common name: Japanese beetle.
The Japanese beetle has been introduced in North America more than 100 years ago. It was in 1916 that the first description of the species was found in the US.
Native to Japan, this beetle is considered a pest. It has multiple predators in Japan where it’s not as impactful. It lacks serious natural predators in the United States.
This makes it a pest and one of the first beetles to eat roses.
It grows as larvae in grasslands and under lawns. It feeds on grass until it grows before moving on to other plants and flowers such as roses.
There are multiple commercially-available solutions to keep this beetle away including milky spore bacterium powders.
When present in small groups these beetles can be picked by hand. Studies show that the Japanese beetle is attracted to other beetles it sees on flowers and it might be worth hand-picking them to reduce their numbers.
2. Grapevine Hoplia
Scientific name: Hoplia callipyge.
Common name: Grapevine Hoplia.
This species of beetle is widespread throughout the world. It has been frequently found on white flowers, particularly white roses or bright color roses.
These are considered a pest.
The beetle nests in the bloom starting to eat the flower slowly. It eventually eats all petals of the rose.
Approved solutions against these beetles are few. Most people resort to hand-picking them off roses.
Since the species is attracted to bright colors a method of trapping them in white buckets also proves efficient.
A mixture of soap and water is added to a white bucket next to roses where the beetles are trapped and die.
3. Fuller Rose Beetle
Scientific name: Naupactus godmani.
Common name: Fuller Rose Beetle.
Fuller Rose Beetle species is known for its damaging impact on winter rose. Its negative impact on this type of rose has been documented even back in 1879.
The species was identified by Japanese inspectors importing citruses from California. It’s believed this species originates in California.
The damage made by the beetle eventually kills winter roses. Larvae grow at their roots while adult beetle starts chewing rose leaves.
Young larvae are known to only eat the hairs of the roots while older larvae proceed to eat an entire chunk of rose roots.
Roses have little chance of growing when this beetle is present. Stunted growth is specific for roses impacted early by Fuller Rose Beetle larvae.
4. Rose Weevils
Scientific name: genus Merhynchites.
Common name: Rose Weevils.
The species is known for laying eggs directly in flower buds. Larvae develop into full beetles eventually eating up the rose flower.
When there’s nothing left to eat the beetle of the species falls to the ground. These beetles have also been shown to continue eating the rose petals even if roses are collected.
The only known method of clearing this pest off roses is to handpick them. Insecticides that aren’t dangerous to roses are used in large-scale rose production.
5. Spotted Cucumber Beetle
Scientific name: Diabrotica undecimpunctata.
Common name: spotted cucumber beetle, southern corn rootworm.
Native to North America, this beetle can be recognized by its bright yellow body with black spots. It has multiple rows of black spots on its back which makes it stand out and easily visible on roses.
The beetle is known for its negative impact on crops, particularly cucumber crops. However, it’s also a known flower pest.
It has been seen eating roses. The beetle eats stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits of the flowers.
This pest is also known for carrying multiple bacteria and viruses. Some of these viruses are known risks for roses.
6. Banded Cucumber Beetle
Scientific name: Diabrotica balteata.
Common name: banded cucumber beetle.
Yellow and green colors are specific to this species. It has multiple horizontal green bands and a vertical green band on its body.
It prefers North American and South American habitats. It’s believed the beetle migrated to North America from tropical climates.
A single female TBanded Cucumber Beetle can lay multiple clusters of eggs in just a few days. As many as 850 eggs are laid in a matter of days.
Larvaestarts eat rose roots while adult beetle eats plant fruits and flowers.
7. Northern Corn Rootworm
Scientific name: Diabrotica barberi.
Common name: Northern Corn Rootworm.
The Northern Corn Rootworm is known for its impact on corn. But it also eats through the blossoms of squash and cucumber. It’s occasionally seen eating rose flowers.
The species is mostly known for creating the most damage at the root level. It eventually consumes all the roots until the plant cannot stand up anymore.
However, this species isn’t seen as a major threat to commercially-grown flowers and plants.
8. Striped Cucumber Beetle
Scientific name: Acalymma vittatum.
Common name: Striped Cucumber Beetle.
The Striped Cucumber Beetle gets its name from its striped black and yellow body. This beetle is small, only growi8ng to ¼ inches.
Known for its damaging effect on crops, it can also eat through roses. The species is known for making most damages in the early days of summer when it emerges.
Continuous damages at a lesser rate are specific until the end of summer.
9. American Rose Chafer
Scientific name: Macrodactylus subspinosus.
Common name: American Rose Chafer.
This pale-looking beetle is native to North America. It gets its name from eating roses but it also eats many other flowers and plants.
One of the largest problems rose growers have with this species is their capacity to gather in large swarms.
American Rose Chaffers typically gather in groups of up to 100 eating up flowers and leaves of common roses.
10. Metallic Flea-beetles
Scientific name: genus Altica.
Common name: Metallic Flea-beetles.
The Metallic Flea-beetle is part of a large family of Altica beetles with over 300 known species. Some of these species are beneficial as they’re used to control weeds.
Metallic Flea-beetles are known for their negative impact on roses and other flowers.
They are known as pests in North America.
Preferred habitats include drylands. These beetles are known for being very active in dry climates where they consume blossoms.
11. European Rose Chafer
Scientific name: Cetonia aurata.
Common name: European rose chafer, green rose chafer.
The European Rose Chafer has a metallic green color. This species is native to Southern Europe with a less common presence in the United Kingdom.
Pollen, nectar, and flowers attract this beetle. These are some of the smallest rose-eating beetles characterized by a small head compared to the size of the body.
The species is also known for living for 2 years. European Rose Chafer beetle molts twice per year.
12. Garden Chafer
Scientific name: Phyllopertha horticola.
Common name: garden chafer, garden foliage beetle.
This beetle is common in Europe and parts of Asia. The species is seen from April until July.
Eggs are laid in the grass and shrubs. Once they reach adulthood, these beetles eat rose leaves, cherry leaves, and hazelnut leaves.
The high number of beetles living in swarms makes the species an agricultural pest.
How To Get Rid Of Beetles On Roses
Getting rid of beetles is rather complicated because many live undergrounds as larvae. Only adult beetles are visible above the ground on or around roses.
Pick beetles by hand
The easiest way of getting rid of beetles is to handpick each of them. This is a laborious task as beetles can live in swarms of up to 100 around multiple rose shrubs.
Picking beetle by hand has many benefits, on the other hand. No impact on the flower is the most important benefit of this beetle-control method.
Attract beetles in buckets with soap and water
Homemade beetle traps have a certain degree of success. Bright colors attract beetle. A bright color bucket with soap and water is going to attract trap and kill a large percentage of beetles around roses at home.
The main drawback of this method is that it doesn’t eliminate all beetle. It also doesn’t prevent eggs and larvae from pupation.
Insecticides are used on an industrial scale. Growing roses industrially often involves using potent insecticides.
The main drawback of this method is the potential impact of the rose flower.
Use handheld vacuums
Small vacuum cleaners are sometimes used to quickly remove beetle. This method removes all beetles present on leaves and flowers. It can be used together with hand-picking techniques.
Use beetle traps
Beetle traps use natural sugars from fruits and vegetables to attract beetle. They trap beetles inside and they can be efficient against a small number of beetles.
How To Prevent Beetles On Roses
Keeping beetles away from roses is the best method of ensuring undisturbed growth. Preventive measures don’t need to be invasive so that roses grow naturally.
Cover roses with netting
Fine netting is used to cover roses from roots to flowers. This is one of the best methods of keeping adult beetles away from the flowers.
Adult beetles are also attracted by other beetles. Netting prevents small numbers of beetles from attracting other beetles to the flowers.
Spray the lawn with milky spore
The bacteria Paenibacillus popilliae commonly known as milky spore is used to control beetle larvae. This powder is used on lawns and other terrains where roses grow. It makes its way into the ground killing larvae before it turns into adult beetles.
This powder is placed on the lawn in teaspoons every few feet away. It’s not mixed with water. Instead, a gardening hose is used to disperse it once it has been laid on the lawn in multiple locations.
The bacteria are safe for humans which means this solution can be applied both commercially and at home.
Use neem oil
Neem oil is a type of biopesticide used on a large scale on crops. It’s a natural alternative to insecticides. Neem oil is made from neem flowers (of Indian origin).
Use parasitic nematodes
Nematodes are a type of parasitic worms used in agriculture and gardening. They are among the known beetle parasites and are typically used on a large scale or crops.
Beetles that eat roses are common in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia, specifically Japan. These are known areas for growing roses on a large scale.
Beetles start eating roses at an early stage as larvae. Beetle larvae eat rose roots. Adult beetles are known for eating flowers and leaves.
The best way to get rid of beetles from roses is to handpick them.
Preventive measures on commercially-grown roses include setting up nets over roses covering them completely.
Other methods of keeping roses clear of beetle include using insecticides. Homegrown roses often benefit from the use of milky spore, a type of bacteria that kills beetle larvae.
This type of bacteria isn’t harmful to the environment or humans. It’s normally used on lawns in the vicinity of roses.
Common types of beetles that eat roses such as the Japanese beetle are known for growing under lawns. They often grow as deep as 3 feet underground before emerging as adult beetles.