Rose aphids are a common species to be seen in the garden on Rosacea plants and are often regarded as a problem that needs resolving.
However, they’re usually one of the first aphid species to appear after winter and are actually important for sustaining a healthy balance of wildlife in a garden habitat. The reason being that they’re a valuable food source for not only the insectivorous birds, but a whole range of other beneficial garden bugs.
Rose aphids feed by sucking out plant sap, either from the flower buds, stems or the leaves, and they’re very good at reproducing! Often giving birth to a dozen or so live young every day!
Whilst large infestations of aphids can weaken plants, rose bushes are pretty robust and can certainly cope with a moderate level of infestation.
So do they really need controlling?
For home gardens, there’s always an option to just leave the aphids alone and let nature take control. In doing so, the aphid’s natural enemies: ladybirds, parasitic wasps, hoverfly larvae and lacewings should soon start to take up residence and begin reducing aphid numbers, and not only on the roses, but other plants nearby that might be suffering aphid problems.
You might need a bit of patience though as a natural balance between good and bad bugs can take a while to become established. In this case, there’s no harm in using a non-toxic detergent-based product, or even a fine water spray to knock aphids off the plants whilst their predator and parasites establish their populations and then begin controlling them naturally.