Rose bush

We recently purchased this rose plant from a local nursery. However, something is eating the leaves of this plant. This seems to have happened overnight. Can anyone offer an educated guess as to what it is, and how to stop this happening? Would some kind of chemical spray do the trick, for example?

As far as I can tell, whatever is eating the leaves of this plant hasn't attacked any of the other plants in the garden. Note: this isn't a real garden. It's a small collection of mostly potted plants on the balcony of our home.

I'm located in Bombay, India.


1 Answer 1


Leafcutter bees by the looks of it, as the comment above says - these are bees which live in solitary splendour rather than together in a hive, and usually do not sting. They cut the leaves in this way in order to roll them up to house their young, so they're not eating the leaves, but using them for reproductive purposes. You seem to have a lot of them, because there are so many cut areas, and roses are one of their favourite leaves to use.

There isn't really a solution to this problem I'm afraid, because the bee comes, cuts some leaf, flies off again. Your rose, whilst not looking great, won't be killed by this activity unless all the leaves constantly get destroyed, and it will recover over time; when you deadhead the roses, take around 6 inches of stem (if they're long enough, 8-10 inches if the rose is larger and in the ground) with the flowerhead/s and that should help remove some of the damaged leaves. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/insects/leaf-cutter-bees.htm

Unfortunately, you do seem to have a lot of these bees around because the damage is quite extensive; other than covering your roses in fine netting, I can't think of another way to reduce the bees' activity.

  • Hi Bamboo, thank you for the answer. A few questions, if you don't mind. 1) According to the gardener, the damage was done in just one day, probably overnight. Is that normal? 2) How do you know it was leaf cutter bees and not leaf cutter ants? 3) Also, only this plant was attacked, but none of the others. Is this because it was a rose bush? There is another rose plant a foot away (but without blooms), and that was untouched. I've not particularly noticed any bees, but the gardener said they were around, and seemed to agree with the bee assessment. May 28, 2017 at 20:31
  • Could be leafcutter ants,but they're not known for preferring roses, unlike leafcutter bees. Have you other types of plant around that are untouched, or do many of those have this damage too? If they do, then it might well be ants
    – Bamboo
    May 29, 2017 at 0:01
  • No, it seems to be just that plant, and no other, as far as I can tell. May 29, 2017 at 13:59

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