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Aphids are one of the classic pests on elderberry. The lice mainly appear at the beginning of the vegetation phase, since at this time the Sambucus species are in full juice and thus represent a found food for the insects. Elderberry is an extremely hardy plant, which in most cases makes it easy to fight lice. With a suitable home remedy, you can effectively get rid of the aphids.

Species that occur

Before you get rid of the aphids with the use of home remedies or other methods, you should know the elderberry-specific species. These differ only slightly in shape, but in color. The slow movement makes it easier for you to recognize them and distinguish them accordingly. An overview of the typical aphid species on Sambucus and their colors can be found in the following list:

  • Elder aphid (Aphis sambuci): black, grey-green
  • Green peach aphid (Myzus persicae): light green
  • Black bean aphid (Aphis fabae): dark green, black

You should take particularly quick action against the green peach aphid, as it can transmit dangerous viruses compared to the other species. These cause the leaves to yellow intensely, which has a negative effect on general vitality. No matter what species it is, in addition to the clearly visible insects, there are other symptoms that indicate an infestation:

  • Leaves curl up
  • shoot tips bend
  • Honeydew visible
  • ants

If you don't immediately notice the lice on the plant, but one of the above symptoms occurs, you should examine the stems and leaves of the elder. Once you spot the bugs, you can take effective action against them.

Notice: The aphids appear mainly when the elder is not doing well, the location is not good enough or it is a young specimen. Prevent an infestation with optimal care and environmental conditions, because Sambucus can deal with the pests on its own.

Get rid of aphids on elderberry

If you can't manage to prevent the lice, you'll have to resort to somewhat harsher means. You don't have to worry about an aphid infestation, because the trees and shrubs of the Sambucus genus are healthy and robust. If you find a small group of aphids on these, you don't really have to worry. A local infestation in manageable amounts is quite normal. The aphids even attract numerous birds and other insects.

But if there are larger accumulations of animals including ants, you should do something. First aid is given primarily by collecting the animals. 5 other methods apart from chemical pesticides can be used if collecting is not enough.

Tip: Don't just fight the lice on your elderberry plants, but also the ants that tend to their "cows" in droves. The ants defend the insects from their predators and often settle on the roots of the elderberry, which can weaken it and thus significantly increase the infestation.


Water is one of the best home remedies to remove the aphid from your elderberry. The reason for this is the intensity, because the insects cannot withstand a strong impact. Water can actually be used for all aphid species. However, the pests return after some time, which makes it necessary to use the method again. Fighting aphids with water is particularly suitable if you notice an infestation and the animals can no longer be collected. To do this, proceed as follows:

  • locate pests
  • Connect garden hose
  • Rinse off lice
  • Use a sharp jet of water for this
  • only rinse shoots

Be as thorough as possible with this home remedy. You should rinse the leaves very carefully, otherwise damage can quickly occur. If you also want to get rid of the aphidoids on the leaves, rinse them with a weaker stream of water while you collect them. This method is particularly suitable for Sambucus, as the trees can withstand even heavy rain without any problems. However, be careful not to catch any fruit, as too much water will negatively affect the taste. This method must be repeated more often.

nettle extract

Due to their ingredients, stinging nettles are effective against aphids on Sambucus plants. A nettle extract is a powerful home remedy for lice:

  • Dosage: 100 g stinging nettles in 1 l water
  • Put nettles in the water
  • Leave for 12 to 24 hours
  • fill in spray bottle
  • apply immediately

Compared to nettle manure, the extract is ready within a short time and does not have to ferment. If you can wait that long, let the mixture sit in a keg for two weeks, stirring daily. Before use, the liquid manure must be mixed with water in a ratio of 1:10.

Tip: In addition to stinging nettles, you can make a tea or brew from numerous herbs and useful plants, which serves as a spray and is effective against the pests. Well suited for these are garlic, rhubarb leaves, tansy and oregano, which develop their full effect in the liquid state.

soapy water

Another classic is a spray based on soft or curd soap. This is an effective way to combat lice on the elderberry, because the soap blocks their airways and they die. The soap is applied as a simple spray, which has to be repeated more often:

  • Dosage: 20 g of soap per liter of water
  • use hot water
  • mix in spray bottle
  • dissolve soap
  • let cool down

After that, the solution is ready and can be used. As with the other sprays, more frequent application is necessary.

Remove shoot tips

If the Sambucus does not manage to take action against the aphids yourself, you can use pruning measures. Especially in the case of local infestation of individual parts of the wood, it is not wrong to completely remove them together with the lice. In this way, the plant no longer has to concentrate on the problem area, which improves vitality again.

For this method, simply use clean or disinfected scissors and remove the shoot tips that are infested with the aphids. Make sure the blades are sharp so as not to damage the wood. It can also help to thin out the plants annually to remove diseased, dead or weak shoot tips.


Milk is a classic home remedy for lice on elderberries, which is used primarily at the beginning of an infestation. Either low-fat milk or skimmed milk can be used, depending on what you have on hand. Milk kills the insects when applied in the following way:

  • Dilute milk with water
  • skim milk: 1:2
  • Milk (low fat): 1:5
  • fill in spray bottle
  • spray affected areas

To increase the effect of the milk, you can also add one or two drops of lavender essential oil per five liters of the mixture. This increases the effect considerably. The mixture does not need to be washed off after use.

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