Although it’s an old wives’ tale that peonies will not open without the help of ants, the two do have a symbiotic relationship. Ants protect their food source, the sweet nectar on the peony buds, and attack other bud-eating pests, keeping the peony safe from harm. Although it’s difficult to remove the ants permanently from buds, you can easily remove the ants once the peonies have blossomed.
Plant your peonies away from your home. Ten feet should suffice. Planting peonies in flower beds next to your home is a open invitation for ants to come inside. Resist the temptation to plant peonies anywhere near the kitchen. Ants are always looking for a food source. Why tempt them?