One of my Peony plants is getting ready to bloom which brings out the ants! Ants like the taste of peony buds just before they bloom. Once the flower opens the ants tend to disappear. Apparently an old wives’ tale (debunked by the Heartland Peony Society) says that peonies NEED ants to flower. Not true. Nor do the ants hurt them- they are just there for a drink. Let them be.
Here’s a bud on one of my rose bushes. See the insect under the bud? My first Aphid of the year- I’m less excited about these critters, but I never notice them do any real damage to my plants. Besides, I know Hoverfly larvae and Ladybugs will start appearing soon to gobble them up.
This is one of my Highbush Cranberry plants. And no, the leaves aren’t supposed to look like that. They are folding over themselves which tells me that something might be living underneath them…
More aphids! But this time the aphids aren’t alone. What else is there with them?
Ants- of course. Ants also like to drink honeydew that the aphids excrete (fancy word for poop or pee) after feeding on the plants. So, the ants farm the aphids! Even though a few of the Highbush leaves are wilted, most aren’t. I’m still OK with letting the aphids remain so I can watch this cool farm in action.