How to Get Rid of Cane Borers on Roses: A Full Guide

by Jennifer

Roses are cherished for their beauty and fragrance, but they are not immune to pests. One common pest that can wreak havoc on roses is the cane borer. Cane borers are insects that lay their eggs on the stems of roses, leading to damage and even death of the plant if left untreated. In this comprehensive guide, we will we’ll explore various methods to control and prevent Cane Borers on your roses.


Understanding Cane Borers

Cane borers, scientifically known as Agrilus ruficollis, are a type of beetle that primarily targets roses and other woody plants. These small, metallic-green beetles lay their eggs on the stems of roses during the warmer months. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae bore into the stems, where they feed on the plant tissue, causing weakening and eventual dieback of the affected canes. If left unchecked, cane borers can cause significant damage to rose bushes, leading to stunted growth and decreased flowering.

Signs of Cane Borers Infestation

Detecting cane borers early is crucial for effective management. Here are some signs that your roses may be infested with cane borers:

1. Wilting Canes: Infested canes may wilt and eventually die as the larvae disrupt the flow of water and nutrients within the plant.

2. Entry Holes: Look for small entry holes in the stems of roses, typically near the base of the plant. These holes are where the adult beetles lay their eggs.

3. Sawdust-like Frass: As the larvae bore into the stems, they produce sawdust-like frass that may be visible near the entry holes or at the base of the plant.

4. Cane Discoloration: Infested canes may exhibit discoloration or darkening, indicating damage caused by feeding larvae.

Natural Control Methods

Natural control methods offer environmentally friendly alternatives to chemical pesticides. Here are some strategies for managing cane borers using natural means:

1. Beneficial Insects: Encourage the presence of natural predators such as parasitic wasps and predatory beetles, which feed on cane borer larvae.

2. Neem Oil: Neem oil, derived from the neem tree, has insecticidal properties and can be sprayed on roses to deter cane borers.

3. Diatomaceous Earth: Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth around the base of rose bushes to create a barrier against adult beetles and larvae.

4. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt): Bt is a naturally occurring bacterium that is toxic to certain insect larvae, including cane borers. Apply Bt-based products to affected areas according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cultural Practices

Implementing proper cultural practices can help reduce the likelihood of cane borer infestations and promote overall plant health. Consider the following practices:

1. Pruning: Regularly prune and remove dead or damaged canes to eliminate potential breeding sites for cane borers.

2. Sanitation: Keep the area around rose bushes clean and free of debris, as fallen leaves and plant matter can attract pests.

3. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around rose bushes to help retain moisture and improve soil health, which can make plants more resilient to pests and diseases.

4. Watering: Maintain adequate soil moisture levels, as stressed plants are more susceptible to insect infestations. Water deeply and avoid overhead watering to reduce humidity around the plants.

Chemical Control Options

When natural and cultural methods alone are insufficient, chemical control options can be employed as a last resort. It’s important to use pesticides judiciously and follow all safety precautions. Here are some chemical control options for managing cane borers:

1. Insecticidal Soap: Apply insecticidal soap directly to affected areas of the rose bush to kill cane borer larvae. Repeat applications may be necessary for effective control.

2. Pyrethroid Insecticides: Pyrethroid insecticides, such as permethrin or bifenthrin, can be used to control adult cane borers. Follow label instructions carefully and avoid spraying during peak bloom to minimize harm to pollinators.

3. Systemic Insecticides: Systemic insecticides are absorbed by the plant and provide long-lasting protection against cane borers. These products are typically applied as soil drenches or injections and should be used with caution to minimize environmental impact.

4. Professional Treatment: In severe infestations, consulting with a professional pest control operator may be necessary to assess the situation and recommend appropriate chemical treatments.

Preventing Future Infestations

Prevention is key to avoiding recurring cane borer infestations. Incorporate the following practices into your rose care routine to minimize the risk:

1. Plant Selection: Choose rose varieties that are resistant to cane borers, if available. Consult with local nurseries or extension services for recommendations.

2. Inspect Plants: Regularly inspect rose bushes for signs of pest activity, including cane borer eggs, entry holes, and wilting canes. Early detection can prevent infestations from spreading.

3. Rotate Crops: If you have multiple rose bushes, avoid planting them in the same location year after year. Rotating crops can help disrupt the life cycle of cane borers and reduce their populations.

4. Maintain Plant Health: Keep rose bushes healthy and vigorous through proper watering, fertilization, and pruning practices. Healthy plants are better able to withstand pest pressure.


By understanding the behavior of cane borers and implementing proactive management strategies, you can protect your roses from damage and ensure their continued beauty and vitality. Whether utilizing natural, cultural, or chemical control methods, it’s essential to approach pest management holistically and strive for balance in the garden ecosystem. With diligence and care, you can enjoy a flourishing rose garden free from the threat of cane borers.


You may also like

Copyright © 2023