How Do Ants Open Peonies?
Having peony ants can be annoying, but they are not harmful to the peony. They simply protect the flower buds from harmful bugs.
Peony ants are attracted to the sugary nectar secreted by the peony flower bud. The ants climb over the flower buds to drink the sap. Once the ants drink the sap, they leave the peony flower. When the ants leave, the peony bud will open.
Some readers have reported that peony ants can be removed by shaking the flower buds. Others have advised to hold the peony blooms upside down under running water. The ants will float out of the flower when they are held in water.
You can also soak the peony blooms in a bucket of water. You may want to add dish soap to the water to help ward off ants. This is also a gentle way to remove the peony blooms.
You can also dip the flower buds in warm tap water to help promote the blooming process. The warm tap water will also ward off ants. If you do this, make sure to rinse off the ants afterward.
If you want to pick your peonies early, cut them at the marshmallow stage. The marshmallow stage is when the buds are soft, but closed. This will prevent the ants from being established in the petals.
You can also dip the peony blooms in water and shake them. This will also loosen the ants and remove them. However, this can damage the beneficial insects.