black carpenter ants on my peony bushes

While watering my newly planted annuals, I came across something I disliked very much.  I saw a black carpenter ant crawling all over a bud on my peony bush.  Since it was just one, I didn’t pay too much attention, but I really despise those black ants, so knew I wouldn’t be able to let it go forever.

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That is why I made sure to check out the buds on my peony bush the next day.  I was very alarmed when I saw that each and every one of the buds had been taken over by one of those creepy, crawly ants {some buds had MULTIPLE ants}.

After snapping a couple of pics {because that is what you do when you are mortified, right?}, I decided to try and spray the ants off with my water hose.  It didn’t work, those little buggers held on tight.

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So I went inside and quickly did a Google search to see if I could find any meaning for black carpenter ants on my beautiful, double blooming peony bush {they are my favorite}.

I learned that the reason the ants have invaded is due to the fact that the buds on the peony bush are currently giving off a sweet sap that the ants are depending on as a food source.  Once the buds bloom, there is no longer any sap, and the ants will abandon ship. I do fear they might migrate to inside my home! Fortunately, the pest control near me is very useful when it comes to problems like this.

I continued to read that the ant’s consumption of the sap does not harm the buds in any way.  Therefore, I am now confident that the ants are not hurting or helping the peony bush, it is instead a neutral relationship from a landscaping perspective {and from my own personal perspective, I feel it is a give-only relationship as those ants are well fed little buggers}.

After calming down, even though the ants give me the heeby-jeebies, I decided it was a prime time to try out one of my new macro magnifying lens filters for my camera {especially after spraying down the bush and having little water droplets everywhere}.  I bought the lens filters to help me take close-ups of details on my invitations, but I had yet to try them out.

The magnifying lens filter kit came with four different lenses, all with different magnifying levels.  They just screw right on the end of the lens I am currently using.  According to the directions, you can double them up as well {so, if I double up the +4 and the +10 lens, I have created +14 magnification}.

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I used the +4 lens filter to take the close-up pictures.  One tricky part about using these lens filters is getting your camera to focus {it is almost as if the auto focus no longer works and you have to manually tinker with it}.  I will have to monkey around with them more and continue to report how they worked out, but this is the set of lenses I purchased:


I also purchased a lens extender {meant to be used with these lens filters to create an actual macro lens}, but again, I couldn’t get the focus to work.  Just need some practice, I guess!

This picture ended up being my favorite:

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I did work some additional Photoshop magic, however, and created another version of the picture.  What do you think?  Which do you like better?

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