I heard someone say that rhodies attract ants and need them to produce buds. That can't be true can it?
Correct. Not true.
thats what I figured, the person that told me that says a lot of BS.
From the University of Missouri: It is common to observe ants and aphids on the same plants. Ants and aphids provide a fascinating relationship. Ants need sugar in their diet and aphid honeydew is particularly attractive to ants. Ants collect the honeydew from plant material and encourage aphids to produce more by guarding the aphid colonies, thus protecting their food source by driving away potential predators of the aphids.
Thus, if ants are detected on plants in the garden, such as a rhododendron, be sure to look more closely and you may find a resident population of aphids as well.
It's important to note that ants will feed on the sugary excrement (called honey dew) from any insects species that produce it. This includes some scale species, mealybugs, and whitefly....as well as aphids. Some ants will even feed directly on nectar from the flowers, if they can get to it.