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Peony bud covered with ants

Can anyone advise me on how best to stop a beautiful peony from being destroyed by ants?  The plant has survived for over 60 years according to my late Mother-in-law. I would hate to see it killed off by ants. What is the best way to stop the ant invasion? Thank you in advance for your help. 

Posts

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,118
    edited May 2018
    I don’t believe that the ants are on a mission to kill your peony. 

    More likely, there are aphids or other sap sucking creatures on the plant and the ants are milking the sap suckers for the sugary honeydew which they excrete.

    In fact, I have just googled peonies and ants and discovered that peonies themselves excrete a sugary substance from their buds. The ants come along to suck the sugar and act as guards while they are about it. The ants are in fact protecting your peonies from attack by other insects.

    Ain’t life amazing?


    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,899
    The ants are fine on peonies.. they aren't doing any damage.  If you cut some to bring them inside, just plunge the entire flower head in a bucket of water to wash the ants off before bring them into the house.  
    Utah, USA.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,118
    edited May 2018
    And return the wet ants to the flower bed where they can carry on with their sterling work..
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 3,449
    I've got ants on my "sugary" peonies buds and that's fine!
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • Barn FieldBarn Field Posts: 47
    What a relief to hear it’s going to be safe it really is beautiful when it’s in flower. Thank you both for your help.
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,899
    My dad told me that the ants were opening the petals for the peonies when I was little.. not sure if it's true or not.  
    Utah, USA.
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