01 May

The peony

Beautiful blossoming peonies are welcomed into garden beds in spring, but the swarms of ants that flock to the flowers are not. Ants don't harm peonies. The insects actually help protect them. The myth that peonies rely on ants to bloom is false, but the two do have a mutually beneficial relationship.Peony buds secrete a sweet, sugary nectar that attracts ants. When one ant finds a nectar-rich bud, she releases a pheromone back to the rest of the colony, and an army of ants quickly traces the scent back to the food source. In order to protect their valuable source of food, the ants drive off other insects looking to feed off the peonies. Once the nectar is gone, the ants will leave the bloom in search of more food, so there's no need to use insecticide to get rid of them.

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