The rose curculio beetle is a weevil that loves to munch roses, particularly yellow and white varieties. They’re reddish-black, ¼” long and they feed at night. The rose weevil dives into the flowers with its snout. If the plant isn’t blooming, the leaves will do just fine for this beetle. Weevils lay eggs in rose buds, where the larvae hatch and feed. Adults begin appearing in late spring.
To control rose curculios, handpick adults from the plants. Then infested buds should be destroyed to ensure larvae are removed and to avoid future infestations. Shaking plants agitates adult rose curculio, causing them to fall. Shake the stems over a cloth or bucket to collect the beetles, and then put them in a jar of soapy water or kerosene.
Attracting predatory birds to your garden like bluebirds, warblers and wrens can help cut down the weevil population that makes a meal of your roses. You can also water nematodes into the soil to eat the larvae and eggs. This should be done as soon as spring temperatures warm the climate. Choosing pink or red varieties can also discourage curculio weevils because they seem to prefer yellow and white roses.
Image: Ingrid Taylar
For heavy insect infestations try the organic, OMRI-listed Garden Guys Garden Neem.
Find the answers to frequent pest-, disease- and culture-related gardening challenges in Solutions to Common Problems.
Learn more about growing roses, including design ideas and care notes, in Horticulture’s Roses CD.
Ward off pests and give your plants a boost of nutrition with the organic Insecticide/Fertilizer Combo Pack.