Knock Out Rose Bushes Covered in Green Caterpillars

kbmbillups1
kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

Is anyone else having this problem? OMG!! I went outside yesterday and found HUNDREDS of them eating my rose bushes. What's even worse is they are mostly hidden under the leaves! All curled up taking naps waiting for the sun to move and the area to be shady so they can start eating!! I have to look under every leaf!

I have 3 rose bushes that have been attached!! I'm not joking when I say I've picked at least 200 or maybe 300 or more of them! I've sprayed with Neem oil under the leaves after every picking & in the evenings tried to use my DE puffer under the leaves. I'm not sure what else to do & I don't know where so many came from all of a sudden. Every time I go outside there are MORE!!

Anyone have any ideas?? I'm hoping my bushes will rebound once the invasion is over.

This is one of 4 bags!


Comments

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    EEEWWWW!

    I would suggest some BTK. It is a concentration of a natural bacteria found in the soil that attacks soft-bodied critters like caterpillars, tomato horn worms, gypsy moths, cabbage worms & loopers, leafrollers, etc. This is from our provincial government website. "BTK has no known toxic effects on humans, other mammals, plants, birds, fish, or honeybees or other beneficial insects."

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,518 admin

    @torey @kbmbillups1 That's what we would have recommended for organic control at the nursery.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks!! I will look into that today!

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2022

    I have picked another 3 bags of caterpillars today! It is just crazy!! I have one bush that seems to be in pretty good shape. My husband and I dug out the shrubs in that bed last fall because they were dying. We replaced and added lots of flower and bulbs. I guess doing that protected that rose bush. The others 2 have been seriously attacked.

    I bought BTK today and will give it a try tomorrow when it comes. Thanks @torey and @LaurieLovesLearning@LaurieLovesLearning!

    This has been crazy!!

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2022

    Success!!! Thank you for the recommendation @torey & @LaurieLovesLearning @Laura

    I sprayed my rose bushes this morning and then went back out to check them this evening. I only found 12 caterpillars and all on one bush! What a relief!! I've picked them for HOURS this week. So, one more spray and hopefully none tomorrow!!

    If I could grow vegetables the way I seem to grow green caterpillars I'd have a bumper crop! 😀

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,156 ✭✭✭✭

    @kbmbillups1 Your pictures showed you were not exaggerating! Good luck--I have never seen that many!!

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @water2world Thanks. I found a few more today so I sprayed my bushes again today.

    I have never seen this many before either! It's crazy!!

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    Yikes! Do you know what species they are or what they turn into (moth or butterfly)?

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    They look similar to cabbage worms, babies of the white butterfly with a black diamond on each wing.

    I have found cabbage worms eating thorny landscape plants as well as cabbage crops, peas, etc.

    I think that moths and butterflies will lay their eggs wherever they can if their favorite food is not available.

    Maybe you can identify the worms by researching which butterfly or moth was swarming in quantity this year.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Cornelius I have no idea what kind they are but I think they turn into moths. Two of my rose bushes are on either side of two different kinds of azaleas and those caterpillars only ate the rose bushes. Last year I had so many getting into my cucumbers I tried to cover them. I realized it was happening at night and I think the same was happening now.

    Thankfully, I didn't see any caterpillars today!! I did have to spray 4 times though over previous days.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @shllnzl I think they're sawfly larva. This page says they aren't caterpillars so what everyone recommended shouldn't have gotten rid of them even though I think it did. Either that or I picked all 1000 of them.


  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've seen huge masses of critters like that in mulberry trees, but never in rose bushes. I didn't know that roses were vulnerable to anything like this. Good to know!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    @kbmbillups1 I'm not familiar with sawflies. But this is a pic I found of them. Doesn't look like yours at all. I checked the site you provided and they do seem to be more green in those pics. If BTK did the job, I think they are a caterpillar of some sort. But very glad that you got rid of them before they ate all your roses!

    @VermontCathy I actually found tent caterpillars in my rose bush one year. I was very surprised as I thought the thorns on the rose bush would tear their soft bodies. I've never seen them on anything other than cherry trees. Mostly the wild cherry species we have here but when I was a child I lived where sweet cherries would grow and our trees would get infested every year. Those were Western tent caterpillars. We have another type of tent caterpillar here in Central BC, the Northern or Forest tent caterpillar that attacks deciduous trees but they are very cyclical, only coming in mass swarms every so often. I have seen 4 such massings in the 50 years I have lived in this area. They are so bad that sometimes the highway is shut down because they make the road so slippery. One year they actually ate the branches off some of the trees.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @torey no those don't look like my pictures but the pictures in the link I shared look exactly like what was on my rose bushes. Maybe there are different kinds of sawflys that like certain plants?

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @torey Her's a screenshot from the link I shared above.

    I found another one a few minutes ago. Just one!! Here are some much better pictures of it.

    I'm thankful to only find one!!!

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 951 ✭✭✭✭

    If they are a slug variety, would placing sandpaper at the rose plants base be useful to stop them in their tracks? @kbmbillups1 Also, which method have you been using to get rid of them after picking them off of the plants? (Besides the spray)

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @SuperC I've thrown away about 6 baggies full of them. I have only found 1 recently and I found a nice size snake next to one yesterday so I'm not going to be getting too close for a while. I don't know what kind of snake it was other than it had diamonds on it but not a fan of them even if they aren't poisonous!!

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I wonder if chickens or ducks would happily gobble down those critters?

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy I thought about that but I don't know anyone who as any to give them to.

  • JennyT Upstate South Carolina
    JennyT Upstate South Carolina Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2022

    @kbmbillups1 I can't believe all of those nasty things in the picture you posted. Unreal!😲

    I'm glad the suggestion for the spray worked. There are several kinds of roses around the property here and I'm wanting to plant some that are edible/medicinal too. So I'll keep that spray in mind should I run into issues down the road.

    Where were you able to source it from?

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JennyT Upstate South Carolina I bought Safer Brand Caterpillar Killer Concentrate on Amazon. It came the next morning.

    I've had my rose bushes for 6 or 7 years with no issues so, hopefully yours will be fine.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Cornelius No black sludge. That looks nasty!

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @kbmbillups1 looks terrible. I have never seen so many on any rose. Do your roses grow in a mixed companionship with lavender, garlic, chives, tansy? Since I have this mixture, I have never experienced any trouble with roses, but one never knows, so I am following this discussions to nord. remedies if something like this happens. With climate change you never know.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jowitt.europe No, two of my rose bushes have an azalea bush and a knockout azalea bush between them with some flowers in front. That bed has been that way for many years with no issues so not sure why now was the time. The other one is in another bed that we redid last fall, and it was the least eaten by the caterpillars. I have never seen that many either!! But thanks to the recommendations as well as picking them a zillion times none of my rose bushes have been totally eaten and they all have flowers on them now.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @kbmbillups1 happily you were at home when it happened.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 742 ✭✭✭✭

    I'm going to check my roses later....