I ran to tell my coworker that the blooms were covered in ants (I was sure she wanted to know right away!) but she was not alarmed or surprised in the least. "Oh yes, ants love Peonies" she dismissed. "So you brought a bunch of flowers into the lab knowing they were infested with ants" I asked? "They are just ants! They won't hurt you!" Man, was she annoyed with me.
I've never grown Peonies but when I bought these a couple of years ago at the Chicagoland Flower and Garden Show, all I could think about was ants. So, I did what any scaredy-cat gardener would do. I planted them way back by the garage as far away from the house as possible, where ants are welcomed to hang out. These are my first Peony buds, ever.
I did a little research and it turns out that the Peony buds release a sweet tasting nectar that ants love to eat. Supposedly, the ants leave once they bloom and the nectar is gone. But, speaking from experience, that's a bunch of crap! So, in anticipation of my wanting to cut some of these flowers to bring in my house, what is your favorite technique for getting rid of the ants on Peony blooms?
pictured above: Paeonia Festiva Maxima and Paeonia Sarah Bernhardt