The rhodys are in bloom. Each year they are loaded with bees and this is the first time I watch closely enough to see that the bees are feeding from a crease surrounded by rusty colored dots.
Ants here are feasting on the surface of peony buds. From The Heartland Peony Society's FAQ:
"Do not try to get rid of the ants on your peonies. This is a natural and temporary activity. It is believed that peonies produce small amounts of nectar and other ant attractants to encourage ants to help in opening the dense double flower buds found in many peonies. The ants may be found covering certain varieties and avoiding others, this is totally normal.
"Once the buds have opened the ants will disappear - also normal."