Why Are Ants On Your Peony Buds?

Peony buds are amazing. One second they’re the size of a ping-pong ball and the next…bam! They burst into a bloom bigger than a baseball hat.

And then there’s the beauty. Peonies are breathtaking. They invite you to lean down and bury your face in those buds and blooms. But what…what the…are those ants crawling up your left nostril? Aaaahhhhhh!

close up of white peony flower

What’s up with all those ants hanging out on peony buds anyway?

Folklore has it that peony buds are covered with a thick wax and require help from the ants in order for them to open. The theory goes that ants eat the wax film and voila! The petals are free to burst into bloom.

I love that.

Fauna working with flora to make beauty happen.

It happens all the time.

But not in this case.

A peony bud will bloom whether there are any ants around or not.

So why are the ants there?

For the same reason we gravitate to the dessert bar. Ants love to sip at the sweet sap secreted by the peony bud.

And boy, is it sweet…a can of soda measures in at 10 percent sugar content, while the sap from a peony measures between 20 and 25 percent!

The ants-while being a bit of surprise to find crawling up your left nostril-are harmless. Some studies even suggest their presence deters harmful insects from damaging the flowers. So maybe the ants are working with the peonies to create beauty after all.

bouquet of roses and peonies isolated on white background