Q: All my life I have been told that ants on peonies are a must. Recently I was told that this thinking is way out of date. Should I get rid of the ants?
A: The new information is correct; ants are not necessary and, further, they are not harmful to the peony.
Ants crawl over peony blooms looking for nectar. They don’t pull back the petals to help the flower open.
The only time you’d want to manage ants is when you plan to take peony flowers indoors. The easiest control in this case is to soak the flower heads in a bucket of water for a few minutes. Ants will swim to the surface, where they can be scooped out.