I have a problem in my garden. Last year, it was a little problem, something was cutting round and oval holes in fleshy new rose leaves on my Madame Alfred Carriere rose climber. I did a little research because the evidence is pretty specific... I mean really? How many bugs cut perfectly round and perfect little oval holes in your plants?
There is just one and I can tell you who does it: Leaf cutter bees. They use it to create nests to grow more leaf cutter bees.
This year, in March, when all the new leaves were leafed out, they did it again, and much worse this time, decimating 100% of the new growth on the MAC rose, and also completely decimating all the new growth on the Carefree Wonder rose. But, I sighed, they are good for the garden otherwise, and its just the first flush of leaves so I'm going to let it go. Well, ahhemmm! Those little bastards DO IT EVERY 2 months on the dot. This is the single thing that does the most destruction to any plant in my garden. And it has to stop NOW.
It actually is rather aggravating as I'm going around looking for solutions to this problem and every website keeps saying, "aw but the little things are great pollinators, aw, be THANKFUL they are in your garden." I feel like smacking those authors. And frankly, IT IS COMPLETELY A LIE that chemical insecticides won't kill these little creeps, because they will, and frankly, its one of the reasons that they think the bee population might be going down. Though I think this might be gross speculation (experts will tell you they are stumped as to what is actually causing this, as bee's lived quite fine through years of DDT), I'm personally not a fan of killing off bee's myself, and I'm pretty sure insecticides in any form for any reason isn't the greatest of ideas.
But people who should know better need to stop talking out of both sides of their mouths. And lying about it saying, 'oh, they don't eat the leaves, they use them as nesting, so insecticides won't do any good' is an insult to my intelligence. And frankly it can backfire too, when lets say someone thinks that they are going to use insecticides to get rid of some other garden pest and then it wipes out the bee population. No insect needs to eat a pesticide for it to be effective, they nearly all work on contact. Its why they highly recommend you wearing gloves when handling the stuff - they're pretty sure you aren't going to drink the stuff, but its dangerous to get it on you.
And when is the last time you received a rose from the nursery with 100s of little round holes cut out of the leaves? Right, never huh? So there IS a solution, and it isn't live and let live!
Anyhow, this madness has got to end, because my carefree wonder shrub, in a half a day has lost 50% of its leaves. We have a long growing season here, and the bees reproduce every 60 days, so we cannot live in peace, because they obviously don't understand when enough is enough. And no, I'm sorry, if any bug or disease was completely defoliating your plant you would not think warm and fuzzy thoughts about these cute little creatures. The balance of rose leaves vs leafcutter bees in my garden is not sustainable, as they are going to kill the damn roses.
So does anyone have a good effective suggestion before I go and actually pesticide the hell out of these two roses? I really would prefer not to pesticide even two plants, but I need this to stop. The Mac rose is a climber and it isn't reasonable to 'cover' it. And searching out 'rotted' wood and removing it is laughable too, I live in Charleston, land of faded grandeur and glorious decrepitude. Everything is rotting, constantly. I'd have to pull out the neighborhood.
Oh, I'm young and angry today.
Lily of the Valley for Christmas
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