Damage from Rose Girdlers

Resurrecting this 2014 article…

Last fall (2013) we got hit by some suspicious bulges on a couple of our roses. Our Eddie’s Jewel, completely unaffected by our winters, was hit rather hard by these things. The entire cane above the bulge typically dies. I didn’t see any of these on any of our mini rose, nor on any of the “old garden” roses. It turns out that we were zapped by Rose Girdlers, a type of beetle (actually the larva.)

A friend of Lynn’s sent the following: “the damage appears to be that of the rose rose girdler, a buprestid beetle that girdles the canes right under the bark. The tell tell sign is the swollen areas and the girdling inside the stems. The larvae are very distinctive. They are usually flattened dorso-ventrally and the thoracic area is flattened and enlarged. Overall, the larvae look like a car key.

“Unfortunately, these beetles are hard to control. Protective insecticides would need to be applied when infestations are really bad. Some of the insecticides with a long residual action have been taken off the market so there isn’t anything good out there that I would recommend anymore.”

So I did a little googling of the buprestid beetle and found a few things. Most of them seem to attack trees, but the method is the same. The adult bores a small hole, lays an egg, and the emerging larva eats away at the soft, yummy tissue under the bark. The rose reacts by swelling st the point of injury, but that doesn’t seem to do much.

The adults seem to be harmless, other than drilling holes where they are not at all wanted.

Here’s some info that I found on these things:

  • Various pics of the larva. I didn’t see any of these in any of the cuts I made, just the damage left by them.
  • This PDF has a lot of info on wood boring beetles in general, including some idea on controlling them.
  • Bug of the Week has some nice info on these guys, as well.

Pics of the Damage

I don’t have any pics (yet) of either the adults or the larva. Hopefully our cold winter killed them off. Most of them anyway.

Click them images for a larger view. All of the pics below were from one plant, though several others were also affected. Sometimes they seem to attack a joint (where it branches off) and sometimes mid-cane.

Rose girdler damage
Rose girdler damage

Note the ring bulge and the tiny hole in the pic below. Is that the entry point? Where the egg was laid?

Rose Girdler entry point?
Rose Girdler entry point?

My poor rose…

Rose Girdler damage
Rose Girdler damage

And some tracks…

Rose girdler tracks
Rose girdler tracks

Really Big Ants – Modoc Carpenter Ants

Resurrecting an old post, from 2013 …

So we’ve been seeing some really big ants wandering about. Turns out that these are Modoc Carpenter Ants and they look a lot like this guy, except that they’re about 3/4″ long. They’re pretty distinctive, just from the size. If you see really big ants wandering about, it’s them. We’ve seen at least a couple inside the house, and several, including flyers, outside.

Our Senske guy told us about the ants.  Apparently a lot of them came in on the big winds we had a few days ago and they’re all over the place. Here’s the winged form, which had the misfortune to connect with the stuff that Senske sprayed around the house (for pest control.) It’s about the size of a dime, maybe 3/4″ long if hale and hearty.

These guys like to nest in wood. They have a primary nest, usually near a moist area, and then some to many satellite nests in the area. Your wood frame house can be host to such a nest. They don’t eat the wood, but the do tunnel through it and that includes through the wood structure of the house.  What do they eat?  It isn’t wood or your socks, it’s small bugs, spiders, millipedes, aphid sap, pet food, and various other items.)

They also like wood piles, dead tress, stumps, probably live trees that have frost damage, and so on. As you might guess, having wood piles next to the house isn’t such a hot idea.

The will eventually build big colonies, but they do not do it quickly. So if you see them about you have time to decide if you have an issue or if they’re just scouts looking for some lunch for the colony. The links below will answer any other questions about these guys.

Here’s some additional info: