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Sambucus black elder aphid infestation

Anna33Anna33 West SussexPosts: 285
I've just noticed that my huge 3yr old sambucus is covered in black aphids. Properly covered - every branch joint is swamped with them. I did see 4 ladybirds - hurrah - but there's no way they'll get through this infestation alone.

What's the best thing to do - there's way too many aphids to squish, but at the moment it doesn't appear to be affecting the new growth. Will that change as the swarm gets tucking in, or am I fine to leave it to nature? Is there anything non-toxic that I can use to help the ladybirds get the numbers down? I've just never seen such an infestation!

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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,630
    The ladybirds will lay eggs which will turn into larvae that can get thru millions of aphids.  The ladybirds will eat some too as will lacewings and you'll find tits and sparrows will hoover them up too to feed to their chicks which get their moisture form juicy aphids and caterpillars.

    Be patient, your sambucus will survive.  Anything you use to remove the aphids will also affect the good guys.  
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Anna33Anna33 West SussexPosts: 285
    Thank you, and yeah, it's why I was thinking something non-toxic, as the last thing I'd want to do is hurt the ladybirds! But that's good to know their larvae will get through millions... They'll still have their work cut out!

    Sadly we don't get too many birds round here, bit of a dearth in this neighbourhood, but hopefully any sparrows flying overhead will get a sixth sense and munch on them. 


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,630
    Hang some feeders to attract them.  Then they'll spot the aphids.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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