There are round holes in the foliage of my roses. What is responsible for the damage?
Leafcutting bees are probably responsible for the holes in the rose foliage. Leafcutting bees resemble honey bees, but are often darker in color. Female leafcutting bees make nests in rotted wood or the stems of plants. The sides of the nesting cavities are lined with round pieces of foliage. After lining the cavities with leaf discs, pollen and nectar are placed in the nest cells to serve as food for the immature bees.
Leafcutting bees may remove discs of foliage from many plants. However, they prefer rose, green ash, redbud, lilac, and Virginia creeper. Holes in the leaves are typically one-half inch or less in diameter. The cuts are clean, as if they were “punched out” with a paper punch.
Leafcutting bees are beneficial pollinators. Damage to roses and other plants is usually minor. Control efforts are rarely justified or necessary.