Picture 1: Rose leaf cutter bee damage.
The solitary female bee cuts a semi-circular hole in the leaf and uses the removed piece to build her nest. It’s actually quite good fun to see a bee flying with an incised leaf in her claws. She makes a sound like a propeller driven aeroplane carrying a heavy load under stress. No harm done to the plant, best just ignored, or step back and marvel at the ingenuity of our little buzzy friends.
Picture 2: Rose sawfly caterpillars
Rose sawflies are from the group of insects which include bees, wasps and ants. They lay their eggs in the soft part of the stems in both cultivated and wild roses. The caterpillars, once hatched, are vigorous eaters and will quickly defoliate a rose bush. You will usually notice them, when they have done their damage, by the skeletonised leaves. Best picked off and put on a bird table, or thrown to the ground where they will die. Can be sprayed with an insecticide, but that may harm pollinators. If you need to use insecticide, try a variety first such as Neudorff Bug Free Bug and Larvae Killer that uses natural active ingredients and try not to spray when in flower. Because of their colour, the caterpillars blend into the rose leaf and are hard to spot.
Will not produce long term damage to the plant.
The skeletonised leaf, damage caused by Rose sawfly caterpillars.
For more advice on pests, visit our Customer Information hut in the plant area, or speak to a member of the plant area team.