It took me a while to realize that Peonies do this weird thing when they are going through the bud phase. They produce this liquidy/syrupy substance over the buds and is why mine are often covered in ants. I honestly just thought I was always catching them with dew collected on them or after they’d been rained on or the sprinklers had run. I don’t think I’ve seen a Peony bud that didn’t have some form of liquid on it at while it was in that state. One of the cool things you learn when you stop and look at the smaller things.