Please help--Rose Midge damage?

aelaine(5b)June 16, 2014

Please advise. One of my roses has been ailing and I finally started researching the symptoms. Most new growth wilts and shrivels up. My other roses are setting big flushes and this bush has just one tiny bud.

It sounds like rose midges are terrible pests, very difficult to eradicate. Therefore, I'd like to be very sure before I start using chemicals. I've attached a photo. Does this look like midge damage? What is the best way to control them?

My sincere thanks,


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A positive ID is trapping with tiny fly with a sticky card or finding the tiny white larvae on the new growth. It does look very similar to midge damage.

Have you recently purchased any potted roses?

This post was edited by zack_lau on Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 2:19

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 2:16AM
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Thanks, Zack.

No, I haven't bought any potted roses, just bare root. Could it have come in on a different plant? The infected rose is also next to my bird feeder, maybe that's the link?

I think there's actually a larvae in the photo I posted, just below the damaged part of the rose.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 7:22AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

The larvae are maggots with no legs or structure. Often they are under the sepals of injured buds.

You can ask the local ARS chapter whether midge has been confirmed in your area. The county agent may know something as well.

Cut off and tightly bag all the injured growth tips promptly. If you get a confirmed ID, you will need to use pesticides or at least cover the soil seamlessly with plastic,

This post was edited by michaelg on Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 12:00

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:50AM
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A great presentation on rose midge and other insects that you can view with your browser.

Here is a link that might be useful: Presentation on Rose Pests in Ohio

This post was edited by zack_lau on Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 11:54

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 11:52AM
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barefootgirl(z5b NE Ohio)

That looks like midge to me. I've had it bad for years thanks to neighbor's weed-choked yard -- I treat my beds but the little bastards survive on the other side of the picket fence where my spray won't reach.

Bayer Complete Insect Killer (imidacloprid/cyfluthrin) is the only thing I've found that puts a dent in them. I spread the granule form in early spring before mulching, water it in, then do occasional reinforcing shots with the hose-end sprayer liquid form during the growing season. I hate using chemicals, but if I didn't, I'd have no blooms.

They are hard to eradicate because their life cycle is very short. The chemical kills the ones in the ground, but then the larvae drop out of the damaged foliage above and start a new generation every 10 days or so. You have to be persistent.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 5:41PM
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Thanks all, I'm learning a lot. What a depressing problem, though. Behind my fence my neighbor is growing roses a few feet away. I'm not sure if she'll treat hers so I worry that this will be a constant battle. Sounds like Bayer is the way to go if I don't just give up rose gardening altogether :/

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 5:48PM
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I also use Bayer Complete Insect Killer, you can get it at Lowe's.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 7:18PM
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