what's eating my roses and African violets, our window shades
I have four miniature rose bushes bought on Valentine's Day a few years ago from a reputable florist in my area. They have grown to hip height, and bloom indoors once I take them in for the winter and the blooms are fragrant and beautiful. The leaves are starting to curl under. I have found a few aphids on two of them, and am currently using insecticidal soap on the under-side of the leaves along with using the soap on the roses and the soil. The leaves of the African violets, both of which were presents, are also starting to curl under. We just discovered we have a family of insects nearby which are the size of a thrip or a flea beetle and appears to be nesting on the fabric of our shades on the windows near the roses and violets. It's black, has lacey wings, 1/16" or less, jumps, but does not bite. It appears to leave this area to buzz around us when we read the newspaper in the next room before work. I did also find a slightly larger bug (only one), dead and slight bluish tinge to its back. Friend of mine, daughter of an agronomist, thinks it is a fly. Right now, the only warm place to spray the roses without us inhaling or possibly getting sprayed would be our front porch, which has only a wood teak chair on it right now and faces south. The house was built in 1910, and has storm windows that can be easily opened if it gets too hot or too full of spray. But it will get cold rapidly, too, so it's hard to figure out when I could spray without freezing them if the temperature suddenly drops. Also have a HEPA portable air filter if we need it. This is the first year I didn't have time to spray the plants and isolate them in the bathroom., and boy, am I paying for that decision to hold off since it seemed to be warm! How can I get rid of the bugs on the roses and on the fabric shades without having to throw either out. If you wish, you may share my question, but please don't share my name.
- Use a soft bristled toothbrush and dilute detergent solution to gently scrub the insects off and then spray the plant forcefully in your laundry tub or shower. Use 2 teaspoons per gallon water.
- If there are just a few aphids, wipe them off and squish them. Pay particular attention to the undersides of the leaves and new growth.
- Prune or pinch off any heavily infested parts