What’s Eating Your Rose Leaves

Rose Bush

Are you trying to grow some beautiful roses only to find the leaves of the rose bush getting absolutely destroyed by an unknown visitor? Here are the most common pests that could be eating the leaves of your rose bush, and steps to get rid of them.


Aphids are tiny insects that like to live in colonies and are commonly found on the underside of rose leaves. These parasitic insects will leave their destructive mark on the rose plants by feeding off the sap of the plant. A common symptom of aphid infestations would be wilted and droopy leaves.

Fortunately, there are a few simple remedies to get rid of aphids on rose leaves, such as by hosing the leaves and by introducing beneficial insects that love to feast on aphids, such as ladybugs. These pests will need to be eliminated soon if you want the plant to bloom beautiful roses.


A variety of caterpillars may be eating the leaves of your rose plant. An obvious sign of caterpillar damage would be large, irregular holes along the leaves of the rose bush plant. The most common species you may come across are the fruit tree Leaf roller, the tent caterpillars, and the orange tortrix.

There are a number of ways you can deal with caterpillars on rose leaves, such as by picking them off by hand, by applying food-grade diatomaceous earth, and by applying DIY natural sprays such as a garlic and cayenne pepper spray.

Japanese Beetles

The peak season for Japanese beetles tends to be in July so you may want to add them to the shortlist if you are noticing the rose leave damages during that month. Japanese beetles don’t just feed on the leaves. They will also happily eat the rose petals.

There are a number of solutions you can try to get rid of Japanese beetles on rose leaves, such as by repelling them with a cedar oil solution or by capturing them in masses with a dust buster.

Leafcutter Bees

One last insect to watch out for is the leafcutter bee. These bees will eat your rose leaves but in a unique way. They will leave small but precise circles along the leaves of the rose bush. While it is unsightly, the damage tends to be minimal so we suggest you leave the bees alone unless you can clearly see that the rose bushes are suffering as a result of the damages on the leaves.

Like other bee species, leafcutter bees play an important role in the ecosystem by helping to pollinate plants. Try to avoid using chemical pest control methods if you notice there are bees buzzing around the yard and garden space.