My japanese maple is starting to leaf up and there are millions of little brown bugs that look kind of like fleas on all the leaf buds. What are they and how to get rid of them is the question. Thanks!
Expect them to be aphids (but might not be). My first shot would be to try either/and/or soapy water, a strong spray from a garden hose, put a tip in a baggie and ask a knowlegeable garden center staff member.
1. soapy water can break down the waxy protective coating many insects, including aphids, have.
2. if aphids, washing them off with greatly reduce the damage and most of them don't survive trying to climb back up to the tips.
3. sometimes nursery personel have useful experience (many don't, but you can sometimes tell if they're talkin' through their hat).