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I have noticed this morning that my potted Acer tree is covered in what look to be black/brown aphids?

I am in the North West England and we have recently had very wet and windy weather and wondering if the aphids have just boomed beasue of this?

Anyway are they damaging my tree? Should I kill as many as I can see to keep the numbers under control? Is there anything else I should do?

Thanks for your help. Images of the bugs below.

image of trunk worst affected branch

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Not sure they are aphids, they look just a tad large for those, but the way they've clustered together would suggest they are. It's also unusual to see so many on a plant at this time of year, its more generally in spring on new growth. The other possibility is vine weevil as your tree is in a pot, but I have never seen them cluster together in this way before, and they don't look quite right for those either. As there are so many, I'd be inclined to spray with an insecticide that treats for aphids, covering the trunk and branches thoroughly. Alternatively, if they are only on the woody shoots and not soft, green areas, you can use methylated spirits if you have some - moisten (not soak) a disposable dry cloth with the meths and rub over the affected areas to remove them. See here for general information https://www.gardenfocused.co.uk/tree/japanese-maple/pest.php and image of vine weevil, just in case.

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  • Thank you for your advice @Bamboo. I agree that it is strange to have aphids at this time of year but I think it is still quite warm so potentially it is especially, as you say, they are clustered together. I wasn't aware of the vine weevil - thank you for this. I will take a closer look at them and see if they match. Thanks again for your help – QPaps Oct 6 at 11:09
  • Are there any insecticides you would recommend for aphids? Thanks – QPaps Oct 6 at 11:13
  • Bugclear Ultra should do it - available as a concentrate or a ready to use spray. Toxic to aquatic life so keep away from ponds, follow the instructions on the pack. Otherwise, try blasting them off with the hose – Bamboo Oct 6 at 11:31
  • Amazing! Thank you so much :D – QPaps Oct 6 at 11:47

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