The yellow aphids, now and then scale insects, including mealybugs, they all like to feast on the sap of the oleander. The worst part is that they can multiply explosively in no time. The beautiful rose laurel, as the oleander is also called, then looks pretty battered in no time. Fortunately, there are some effective home remedies and ways to get rid of them. The sooner you discover them and take care of them, the greater the chances of success in winning this fight.


Scale insects, including the species of mealybugs (also: mealybugs), form their own family of insects, the Coccoidea. They are tiny and cling tightly to the young shoots of a plant. They too suck on the sap and leave sticky secretions like the aphid. They do not attack the Nerium oleander as often as the yellow aphid. It is she who specializes in the oleander. A little less often you can find black or green aphids on the delicate shoot tips of rose laurel.


There is hardly a plant that is not attacked by aphids from time to time. Around 3,000 insect species form their own family, the aphidoidea. Of these, 850 species are native to Central Europe alone. They all live on vegetable juices. No wonder that many of them have their preferred plant species in their names. Like, for example, the yellow aphid, which is also called the oleander aphid.

In order to prevent or effectively combat an aphid infestation, it is good to find out a little about the way of life and preferences of this species. The way of life of the oleander aphids and the control measures can basically be transferred to green, black or yellow aphids. For the most part also on the scale insects.

Tip: Anyone who thinks that the many predatory ants will already contain the aphid infestation is very wrong. The smart ants live in a perfect symbiosis with the aphids. They love the sweet secretions these pests produce and will go out of their way not to harm them. In other words, the exact opposite, numerous ants are the sign of an advanced infestation.


The yellow aphid is a species of aphid that specializes in the oleander and, in part, in other plants from the dog poison family. Not only do they particularly like the sap, but they also use the poison in it as a weapon against their predators. Pretty clever from the louse. Unfortunately, this is not a symbiotic state like that between aphids and ants. It is a one-sided business and the Nerium oleander pays with its health and in the worst case can also perish from it.

Aphids come in many colors. The yellow laurel prefer to attack the rose laurel, and now and then also black. The oleander aphid is 1-2 mm long, rounded, dark yellow and runs on black legs. The yellow aphid is quite defensive against predators. Once the conspicuous color is supposed to be a deterrent and then it can secrete a poisonous secretion. She gets both delivered with the sap of the oleander. It contains the poisonous cardiac glycoside oleandrin and the dye.
The aphids form an all-female society. They reproduce by virgin generation, they simply clone. This happens very quickly and as soon as the young shoot is full of aphids, they repel a stressful odor. The next generation then comes into the world with wings in order to switch to other plants or parts of plants.

Damage, damage picture

The earlier you discover an aphid infestation, the better you can fight it and the fewer young shoots die in the process. Here are a few key signs of aphid infestation:

  • Lice on the underside of the young leaves
  • young shoot tips, buds and stems are covered with lice
  • sticky, sweet excretions (honeydew) first in the leaf axes and at the tips of the shoots
  • Honeydew attracts ants
  • Honeydew serves mushrooms (sooty mildew) as a food basis
  • Soot thaw infestation, blackish coating on the young parts of the plant
  • Honeydew promotes virus attack
  • Leaves change color, curl up
  • deformed flowers
  • healthy shoot formation is no longer possible


The better you do justice to the site conditions of the Nerium oleander, the lower the risk of diseases and pests. The same goes for adequate care. The more stress the rose laurel has to endure, due to extreme weather conditions or incorrect care, the easier it will be for the aphid. But even if you’ve done everything right, lice infestation can occur. Therefore, regular control, especially of the young shoots, is definitely part of the maintenance.


Unlike viral diseases or a fungal infestation, the infestation with lice on the oleander can be combated quite well without chemical agents that are harmful to insects. The choices are:

  • Home remedies that you can easily make yourself
  • finished, biological pesticides
  • the use of predators
  • the toleration

First aid

The first thing to do after sighting the sucking pests on the oleander is to rinse off thoroughly. To do this, hold the affected areas with a relatively hard jet of water. This will wash away most of the oleander lice. If possible, hold the pot at an angle or lay it horizontally so that the lice are not washed into the earth.

This measure will not work so well with scale insects. After the sticky honeydew has largely been removed with the water, manual work is now the order of the day. Most of the scale insects must be removed from the stems manually with a soft toothbrush. After the water treatment, the oleander must be able to dry well so that prolonged moisture on the leaves does not lead to fungal diseases.

Tip: Overly infected shoots should be sacrificed, i.e. cut off and disposed of.

Home remedies

Most of the ingredients for effective home remedies for aphids can be found in almost every household or garden and can be made yourself without much effort.

Washing-up liquid, soft soap
For a soapy solution you need a teaspoon of soapy water for one liter of water. Mix gently and pour into a spray bottle. So that the affected areas spray. The lice can be easily removed after the treatment. This procedure may have to be repeated two or three times over the next few days.

Tip: When treating with lye, it is better if not too much of it runs into the soil. If possible, lay the plant down horizontally or cover the soil with a cardboard or plastic protection around the trunk.

Rapeseed oil
Spraying rapeseed oil is more tolerable for the plant than soapy water. For a mixture you use 300ml rapeseed oil for one liter of water. Shake the whole thing thoroughly and spray the plant with it. The lice suffocate and the leaves are shiny.

Tobacco stock A tobacco stock is made up with 50g tobacco per liter of water. Let it steep a little and then pour it off through a cloth. Spray the plant with the brew for a few days in a row. This liquid can drip into the earth.

Stinging nettle stock
A stinging nettle stock is made from 100g dried nettle on one liter of water. Let it steep for a day or two and then spray the plant with it for several days. This brew can also be added to the irrigation water or get into the ground during treatment.

A mixture of 100ml milk and 200ml water, sprayed on the infected areas, is supposed to kill the aphid, not just drive it away.

Neem seeds (neem seeds) Neem seeds are
a very effective biological pest control agent. They are available in gardening shops, health food stores or in pharmacies. For an effective remedy for aphids, you can infuse about 50g of neem seeds in one liter of water for a day. Then the oleander is sprayed with it.

Neem Oil
A remedy with neem oil and water is a little more effective than with the seeds. However, you need an emulsifier for the mixture. The best way to do this is to use milk. First you stir 2 tablespoons of neem oil with a little milk (or cream) and then mix it with a liter of water. Spray daily for a few days. This may also like to get into the earth. Neem inhibits the development of lice.

Tip: Neem oil or seeds can be used against almost all plant pests. Many biological pesticides are made on the basis of neem.

Stone meal, wood ash
A dry method and a little more laborious is to sprinkle wood ash or stone meal on the affected areas. That chokes the lice. However, the sticky honeydew should be removed beforehand with water. Even after use, the dust must be removed again.

Tip: All of the home remedies mentioned must be used over a longer period of time in order to stop the infestation completely.


If you noticed the infestation very late, it is possible that the home remedies no longer help either. If you still want to save your oleander, you can try ready-made pesticides based on neem. Means that are added to the irrigation water have a systemic effect, that is, from the inside out and it takes a while for them to work.

As a rule, it is not necessary in the private sector to use chemical pesticides against lice. If nothing really works anymore and the fungal disease sooty has already spread, you can hand the plant over to a nursery if you really want to save it. Here chemical agents are available that are not freely available to everyone and may still be able to save the Nerium oleander.


Aphids usually crave:

  • Ladybug
  • Larvae of ladybirds
  • Hoverfly larvae
  • Lacewing larvae
  • various species of spiders and beetles
  • Birds

Predators can also be used in the fight against lice. Above all lacewing larvae, but also other larvae and spiders. Unfortunately, the fatal thing about the yellow aphid is its poison, which it pulled from the oleander. This leads to behavioral disorders and deformities in the predators. However, the poison is no longer so concentrated in the cultivated oleander varieties, and sometimes it can no longer harm the lacewing larvae at all.


Some problems solve themselves all by themselves! Unfortunately, the most convenient of all methods only works with domestic plants in an optimally adapted environment. Unfortunately, we cannot offer that to the oleander here. Therefore, this method is not advisable, at least in Germany.

Tip: Even with a cool winter, there is no hope that the problem with the lice will resolve itself. Lice, and in any case the eggs, also survive sub-zero temperatures (in contrast to the Nerium oleander).

Basically, an infestation with lice, especially with the yellow aphid, is not all that dramatic. If you like to look at your beautiful rose laurel, you will quickly spot these pests on the young shoot tips. Then usually worse can be prevented with simple means without the need to use chemical agents.

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