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Peony Watch

The ants that swarm over your peonies are protecting the plant from insect invaders. Photo by Anne Day

While the ants that typically cover peony buds may look alarmingly like an army of invaders, they are, in fact, the opposite. The peonies have invited them in, by secreting sweet nectar at bud stage for the express purpose of attracting ants. 

Once effectively lured, the ants act as tiny protectors, eating other insects that would otherwise harm the buds before they get the chance to bloom.

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