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Once aphids sighted at the Oleander, it means acting fast. Because no matter what kind of aphid it is, they all multiply explosively. Because of their special predilection for oleander, the yellow aphids are also called oleander aphids. Perfect site and maintenance conditions for the oleander can reduce the risk of infestation but rarely completely prevent it. Therefore, an important additional care measure should be to examine the oleander regularly for a possible infestation in order to be able to tackle it as early as possible.
Together with the Mediterranean oleander, the yellow aphid also conquered Central Europe. She specializes in plants of the family Apocynaceae (dogbane plants). The Aphis nerii (oleander aphid) belongs to the family of aphidoidea (aphids) from the suborder of the plant lice (Sternorrhyncha). The yellow aphid is one of over 800 species native to Central Europe alone. With their yellow color they give a warning to all predators. In addition, they can secrete a toxic secretion, cardenolide (cardiac glycosides) in their defense. They get color and chemicals through the sap of the dog-poisonous plants, say our oleander. This poison leads to malformations or disturbed behaviors in many predators. Whether and how much the poison hits the enemy depends on the concentration of the poison in the plant. If it is too low, the aphids will also become victims of lacewings, ladybirds and spiders. There are only female aphids, they multiply by parthenogenesis (virgin production, by clones of the mother). Once a host plant is overcrowded or gets into stress by enemies, but the lice determines fragrances (pheromones). These give the incentive to give wings to the next generation of aphids. These can then look for new plants in a new environment.
The yellow aphids, like all aphids, feed on the juice of the plant. The high levels of carbohydrates in the sap can not be utilized by the aphid. They excrete it as so-called honeydew, a sugary solution, again. This sticky substance attracts other insects and is also an ideal breeding ground for fungi and viral diseases. In most cases, the greatest damage to the plant does not even come from the lice themselves, but from a subsequent infestation of fungal diseases and plant viruses. Wasps, bees and ants serve as a food source for this honeydew. The ants even go for a special form of symbiosis with the lice and thus support their dissemination. Similar to our farm animal husbandry. First, one discovers the lice on the undersides of the leaves, as well as young buds and leaf shoots. Leaves and axils are wetted with a sticky secretion. This leads to discoloration of the leaves, which curl up later. The flowers form deformations, causing instinctual anomalies. The honeydew favors the settlement of blackening fungi and the dangerous soot dew.
Mostly, an infestation with aphids by home remedies can be quite well in check, or eliminate completely. Means for spraying the affected areas and with good effect are:
- soft soap
- dish soap
- Stone flour, wood ash
Tip: Nettle and tobacco can also be added to the irrigation water. They work there over the roots on the juice in the upper plant parts against the aphids.
Stone dust or wood ash is scattered on the affected areas to suffocate the lice. After that, the plant needs to be cleaned. For a lasting effect, the plant should always be cleaned thoroughly with clear water as thoroughly as possible from the sticky liquid. Repeated applications of the above-mentioned home remedies, over a longer period of time are definitely required to prevent further infestation.
If the infestation of aphids is already well advanced and all home remedies fail, it may be necessary to use pesticides to save the precious oleander.
- Pesticide on a neem basis
- Plant protection rods
- Special, chemical pesticides
Tip: Anyone who can not fight a heavy infestation of his precious oleander, could give the tree also for treatment in a nursery. It is authorized to use toxic products that are not available to the end user.
Yes why not? This seems not only a very convenient solution, but also a very natural "non-combatant measure" to be. However, this method is only recommended if the oleander is in a relatively adequate environment. Neither in the pot on the summer terrace, nor in the conservatory is the appropriate environment available to provide by itself for a natural balance. A biotope, therefore, in which neither the plant nor the lice or predators can seriously harm. However, should someone have a Oleanderbäumchen in the garden of his Spanish holiday home, this measure is well worth considering.
The oleander is not exactly an easy-to-clean all-around plant in our latitudinal straight. Those who successfully bring it to growth and prosperity for several years will always strive to keep pests and diseases away from it. A regular inspection for a pest infestation is just as important as adequate control measures, for example, in the case of an infestation with the yellow aphid.