Peonies

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I love my peonies, and I have a lot of them. They are one of my favorites to cut and bring indoors. They always seem to have ants all over them though. I haven't tried anything yet - I figured I would ask first. Is there a safe insecticide that I can use? I would need something safe around pets and children. My mom had suggested water mixed with a little Dawn dish soap, but it seems like I have to constantly spray them. Thanks for any suggestions!
 
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I love my peonies, and I have a lot of them. They are one of my favorites to cut and bring indoors. They always seem to have ants all over them though. I haven't tried anything yet - I figured I would ask first. Is there a safe insecticide that I can use? I would need something safe around pets and children. My mom had suggested water mixed with a little Dawn dish soap, but it seems like I have to constantly spray them. Thanks for any suggestions!
What are the ants doing? Certain types of ants will transport aphids to plants and then feed off of the secretions of the aphids. Other ants will chew on the plants themselves but there is one organic insecticide that will get rid of all ants and that is a product called spinosad which is made from a soil based bacteria. Totally harmless to people and pets and it can be found at just about any good nursury and is all over the internet. It is safe to use either as a spray or as a soil drench depending on what the ants are doing
 
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I always see lots and lots of ants on my peonies too. Don't worry, they won't destroy your plants. I think that they just drink peonies' sweet nectar:) I let them do this every year.
 
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Some aphids use ants for transportation, codale. So I'd say you are better off getting rid of them. Just get Spinosad as the Chuck said and you should be fine. So if you feel unsure, then you can get rid of them.
 
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There are a few things you could try - lavender and mint are supposed to deter them as is cucumber peel. The thing is though, ants don't tend to just crawl on flowers without a reason. Are you peonies in a pot or in the ground? Could the ants be nesting in the same soil? If Chuck is right and aphids are involved you may want to relocate or repot the peonies. I had that problem once and I used seven dust, but I try to avoid stuff like that now.
 
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Ants and aphids do go together and the last thing that you want on your lovely peonies are aphids. Chuck and the others made some good suggestions. Check the soil around the peonies to see if the ants have taken up residence near the peonies.
 
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To be honest, I can't agree with most of the posts here. Ants really don't do any harm to peonies, I'm saying this from my own experience. Like I mentioned before, I always see hundreds of ants on my blooming peonies, but I've never noticed any aphids on them. Ants don't need aphids when they have peonies nectar.
 
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To be honest, I can't agree with most of the posts here. Ants really don't do any harm to peonies, I'm saying this from my own experience. Like I mentioned before, I always see hundreds of ants on my blooming peonies, but I've never noticed any aphids on them. Ants don't need aphids when they have peonies nectar.
That all depends of which type of ant it is. Some are harmless and others not. That's why I wanted to know what they were actually doing, if they were doing anything at all. They may just be the harmless little sugar ants and then they may not
 
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I understand:) Ants in my area are tiny and black. If Codale's ants look the same, there is no reason to worry:)
I know it sounds a little insane, but it always puts me in a good mood when I see those small insects drinking nectar. They're clearly enjoying it:)
 
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These ants are big and black - carpenter ants maybe? It seems like they are doing a little damage to the petals. I have them planted in the ground in 3 different spots, and the ants seem to take up residency in all of them. I've never known about aphids (I'm just starting to take gardening seriously), but I checked the underside of the leaves and found clusters of little black spots. Is this what aphids look like?
 
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These ants are big and black - carpenter ants maybe? It seems like they are doing a little damage to the petals. I have them planted in the ground in 3 different spots, and the ants seem to take up residency in all of them. I've never known about aphids (I'm just starting to take gardening seriously), but I checked the underside of the leaves and found clusters of little black spots. Is this what aphids look like?
Rub your finger on the black spots and see if it smears. If it does it is probably aphid residue. Aphids an be a lot of colors but usually they are a very light greenish/clearish color about 1/32" long. See if you can google ants and find out just what kind of ants they are
 
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I get little orange-yellow aphids on my milkweed constantly (grrrrrrr!). I spray them with soap spray, but they keep coming back. Last year I black aphids on my okra, and I've seen the little whooly white ones on plants before. They are a true pain in the rear!

I once had that problem with ants "farming" aphids, but I was never sure what was going on. I thought I had termites though because some of the ants seemed to have wings. It was a very weird experience. Reading this thread I am now thinking I should get some lavender Bronner's soap to deter both ants and aphids!
 
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Try Pravado,

Ants, not sure what kind can colonise in the roots of some plants.
 

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