University of Maryland Extension

Rose Slugs - Shrubs

rose slug on back of rose leaf

Photo: Immature rose slug on leaf

Return to Common Problems of Shrubs

The rose slug is one of three common sawflies that attack roses (others are curled and bristly rose slugs). Adults of all three species resemble wasps and are about 1/4" long. Mature larvae are about 1/2" long and yellow-green with yellow heads. The larvae skeletonize the leaves and in heavy infestations can cause leaves to turn brown and curl. Check roses in May and June (in Maryland) for the slug-like, greenish-yellow larvae on the upper surface of skeletonized leaves. If the infestation is light, pick off and destroy the larvae. To control heavy infestations, use horticultural oil or spray with spinosad. 

Bristly rose slug larvae are about 5/8" long and greenish white with long, stout bristles. They skeletonize leaves by feeding from the undersides of the leaves and later chew holes through the leaves. Curled rose slug larvae are metallic green above, marked with white dots, grayish white underneath, with yellow-brown heads. They curl up like a cutworm and are about 3/4" when mature. Curled rose slugs initially feed by skeletonizing the leaves, but eventually defoliate entire leaflets except for the largest veins.

Bristly rose slug larvae and holes

Bristly rose slug and feeding damage

Bristly rose slug larvae are about 5/8" long and greenish white with long, stout bristles They skeletonize leaves by feeding from the undersides of the leaves and later chew holes through the leaves
curled rose slug on back of leaf

rose slug and damaged rose bud

Coiled rose slug Rose slug damage on bud

rose slug damage

Defoliated rose



Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2017. Web Accessibility