How to recognize maple aphids 

Several aphid species that are hard to distinguish from each other can be found on maple trees . Most important species are Drepanosiphum acerinumDrepanosiphum platanoidis (common sycamore aphid), Periphyllus acericola and Periphyllus testudinacausEvery maple aphid species has its own preferred maple species. Maple aphid adults are black or brown while nymphs are usually green. The common sycamore aphid is around 3-4 mm in size. Head and thorax are yellowbrown, with dark brown markings. The abdomen is light-green, sometimes with crossbands. The antennae are long and the siphons are long and tubular. Periphyllus is yellow, green or brown coloured and has a long hairy body with very short siphons. 

Maple aphids overwinter as eggs, but these are very difficult to find, because they are deposited under buds or bark. Like lime aphids, nymphs develop in to fundatrices. These fundatrices reproduce parthenogenetically giving birth to young nymphs that mature in June/July to late individuals. Some maple aphids have a summer diapause. 

Maple aphid
Maple aphid
Winged maple aphids
Winged maple aphids

Maple aphid damage and distribution 

Aphids are usually found on the underside of the leaves. During the summer they aggregate together and become inactive. From August onwards they become active again, producing honeydew which can cause nuisance. Trees suffer most from the black sooty mold fungus that grows on honeydew, which hampers photosynthesis. 

Maple aphid life cycle

  • hibernates as egg on branches
  • winged fundatrices hatch in spring
  • fundatrices lay eggs, parthenogenetic reproducten
  • early in summer colonies of inactive nymphs
  • nymphs mold and become active after 2-3 months
  • after several summer generations, males hatch
  • females lay winter eggs after mating

Maple aphid host plants

  • exclusive to maple (Acer)
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Maple aphid

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Common aphid species

Potato aphid
Maple aphid
Foxglove aphid
Cotton aphid
Oleander aphid
Lime aphid
Green peach aphid
Woolly apple aphid

Mottled arum aphid
Yellow rose aphid
Woolly beech aphid