Insects on Laurel

Maybe slightly off the bonsai topic, but part of my practice of learning about trees.
My son noticed a lot of bee activity on a laurel bush in the garden last weekend (UK, late May), and it looks like the bees where interested in small dots or glands on either side at the base of the leaf mid rib. Further investigation showed ants hanging around the same places, so whats going on?
Leaves are fresh growth with no cuticle, and the bush is not in flower. The laurel is pushing hard.
My theory is that the plant is buying off the ants to stop them farming aphids, and the bees have got in on the action?!
Any insights welcome.