I do! And I'm not too worried. That's because these ants and plants have a working relationship. A partnership of sorts.
The peony has extrafloral nectaries on the sepals (the leaf-like things that protect the flower). That nectar attracts ants that, in exchange for the food, protect the plant from flower-chewing bugs. There are other nectaries inside the flower that produce food for pollinators - once the flower opens.
This week, take a closer look at flowers and flower buds.
- Do you see ants on the plants?
- Do the ants look like they are collecting nectar?
- Are the flowers open or still closed buds?
- Are the ants eating other insects on the plants?
- Do the ants leave pheromone signals letting other ants know how to get to these sweet treats?
- Do you see other pest-eating beneficials on plants, such as ladybug larvae or lacewings?