Why Do Peonies Attract Ants?

You probably have seen peonies loaded with ants in the spring when the flowers are in full bloom. Some species need plant-based food for nutrition, and they reach the flowers.

Why Do Peonies Attract Ants? Peonies can attract ants due to floral nectar because these tiny insects like to eat sweet secretions for nutrition. They protect peony plants from floral bugs, like aphids and thrips, but are not involved in the blooming. You can use natural repellents to keep ants away from peonies.

There is a common myth about ants and peonies, as people consider that these insects tickle buds and flowers depend on them for blooming, but this concept is not true.

Most commonly, sugar-loving ants like crazy, pharaoh, argentine, and pavement ants are usually attracted to peony flowers.

What are ants attracted to peonies?

Ants have a special attraction for flowering plants due to their flowers, as they usually have a pleasant fragrance that can draw insects toward them.

In addition, these insects consume floral nectar for nutrition, as these sweet secretions are a rich source of different forms of sugar, including fructose, glucose, and sucrose.

Floral nectar can provide the desired content of lipids, essential amino acids, and other organic compounds that are involved in the growth and reproduction of these tiny creatures.

Moreover, the peony plant has bigger and more pleasant flowers that can draw the attention of these insects living in the garden or indoors.

Ants are known to build a mutualistic relationship with these plants as it gets nectar from the flowers when they bloom and release a fragrant odor of flowers or nectar.

These insects can help the plant grow well by keeping the plant pests away from them, as a large population of these tiny creatures can ward off other floral bugs, like aphids and thrips.

This way, plants can survive well and become a temporary food source for these tiny creatures, as they only get attracted to plants when the flower buds open and bloom.

What happens when ants reach peonies?

Ants are active crawlers who can walk a long distance on a tree trunk or a plant stem when they find something attractive there.

Their sticky feet and six legs support movement and allow them to climb vertical surfaces as a peony plant stem. They can easily reach the flowers in a few minutes by following the odor.

After that, they begin to drink nectar to its fullest and fill their abdomens to return it to the nests. They have a true stomach for digestion purposes and a crop for food storage.

Accordingly, they store undigested fluids and food particles in their crops that are not utilized for their own bodies as they regurgitate to pass it to the growing larvae and reproducing queens.

Moreover, these foraging insects begin to leave a pheromone trail after reaching this food source and attract other fellows to reach there.

It leads to the attraction of a large number of tiny insects on the plant when flowers are usually seen to be loaded with ants. They move from one flower to another to suck nectar and fill their bellies.

When do ants get attracted to peonies?

Ants are attracted to peony plants due to the fragrance of blooming flowers and the pleasing aroma of nectar, which is a sweet fluid released by flowers.

Nectar is secreted by extrafloral glands on the flower base or petiole, which are known as nectaries, which pollinating insects consume.

Moreover, these flowers appear only in late spring or early summer when they are in full bloom. The buds open from April to June, producing an attractive aroma to attract tiny insects.

However, their blooming duration is relatively short, as they are in full bloom for almost one and a half weeks. They bloom once a year so that you can see ants on peonies only one time in the whole year.

So, these insects attack temporarily on a plant because they only draw towards the blooming flowers that do not appear all year.

You can see these destructive pests enjoying nectar by reaching nectaries in early summer or late spring when the plant has many flowers.

How to make peony flowers free of ants?

Many people love to put peony flowers in their vases as these flowers have a rosy and sweet odor that can make you feel fresh when your nose receptors capture the fragrance.

However, you have to be careful while bringing these flowers indoors because they can be loaded with ants or other floral bugs due to their nectar.

These insects can pose a risk of undesired bites or stings by crawling on the beds or couches when the vase is placed at a close distance.

I am also a victim of their painful bites; I suggest you make these flowers free of ants to ensure your safety, as they can be responsible for swelling or redness in the affected area.

There are fewer chances of infestation in the early morning, so you can cut the buds at that time to avoid insects. It is better to check whether buds have ants, as these can hide inside.

You can protect yourself from their bites by cutting the flower buds and stems, as these insects usually appear after the blooming stage.

However, it is essential to cut the bud at the right time when it appears colorful, bigger, and soft enough to be felt like a marshmallow because early cutting can affect its blooming potential.

Shake the cut stems holding buds or flowers by holding them from the stems at least 5 to 6 times to remove these hidden insects. Keep them dipped in the water bowl and allow blooming.

How do you keep ants away from peonies?

It is better to keep ants away from peonies using some natural repellents because they can deter insects away due to unpleasing aroma.

Spraying a lemon and vinegar solution can also keep them at bay because they do not like the citrus and pungent odor of lemon and vinegar.

You can grow mint or lavender plants close to a peony plant because their strong scent irritates their olfactory receptors and makes them uncomfortable when they try to get closer.

Make a thick boundary of chalk or diatomaceous earth around the plant that can cause drying of their exoskeleton and absorb moisture from bodies, leading to death.

In addition, you can also create traps to restrict them from climbing the stem, as their feet cannot support walking on slippery surfaces. So, you can apply Vaseline on the stem to avoid them.

One preventive strategy to avoid the entry of ants indoors is to plant the peonies at a distance from the building because they can reach walls and climb higher to get inside.

Furthermore, it is better to avoid using insecticidal sprays because these insects do not build nests on the plant and attack temporarily until the flowers remain blooming.

They go away from plants by themselves in late summer when the weather becomes hot, and flowers cannot provide nectar to the insects.

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