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Photo used by kind permission of Marcus Stuart Shaw

Why ants crawl over Peony buds

Facebook group member Marcus recently asked:

Any reason why ants are all over my [peony] flower???

Peonies secrete nectar on the pre-flowering buds. This is food for ants and that’s why you’ll find them climbing the plant stems to get to the buds. Once they have cleared the buds of nectar they move on to the next plant.

It’s a myth that peonies need ants in order for the buds to open, the flowers will appear whether the ants are there or not. They do no harm to the plant but can be a problem if you want to cut the flowers and bring them indoors.

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