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Frog populations boom during the rainy season when there are lots of puddles and damp nooks and crannies for them to hide in during the day. Many people, especially those with pools or ponds in their yard, have problems with frog infestations.
To get rid of frogs in the yard, remove standing water sources, mow grass and weeds short, and tidy away empty pots, old wood piles, and other hiding places for frogs. Prevent frogs from entering the yard by switching outdoor lights off at night and using frog repellant spray.
Certain frog species are poisonous to pets, and having large frog populations in your yard will attract snakes. Plus, their endless croaking at night can keep you from cloud nine.
Whatever the reason you may be searching for a solution to your yards frog problem, this article has the advice you are looking for.
Frogs: Know Thy Enemy
Approach the frog infestation in your yard in a logical, informed way by learning about frogs’ life cycle, what type of habitats they need, and how they behave.
The most fundamental thing to know about frogs is that they are amphibious. They need to live in water for a part of their lives. Frogs spawn or lay their eggs, in water and when the tadpoles hatch, they stay in the water until their lungs and limbs are fully developed.
Frogs are insectivorous, and mosquitoes are an important source of food for them. Mosquitoes are also dependent on water for a portion of their life cycle. Adult frogs spend a lot of time catching prey around bodies of water.
Hence, if you have a pond, birdbath, swimming pool, or even a standing puddle of stagnant water in your yard, it will attract frogs.
Frogs also feed on moths, grasshoppers, snails, spiders, dragonflies, beetles, butterflies, flies, crickets, and cockroaches.
Because frogs’ skin is very thin and delicate, it must remain moist. They absorb oxygen through their skin, essentially using it to breathe. Frogs hide in dark, cool places during the day to prevent their skin from drying out.
This is why frogs are attracted to yards that have lots of safe hiding spots – empty pots, woodpiles, or old lumbar.
Start By Identifying the Frogs in Your Yard
Frogs are a diverse order of vertebrates with almost 7000 different species! Different types of frogs behave very differently and thus respond to different methods to control them.
There are certain frog species that are critically endangered, making it illegal to kill them. For example, in the United States, the following 10 species are on the IUCN red list and may not be killed:
- Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged Frog (Rana sierrae)
- Dusky Gopher Frog (Rana sevosa)
- Arroyo Toad (Bufo californicus)
- California Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii)
- Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa)
- Foothill Yellow-Legged Frog (Rana boylii)
- Amargosa Toad (Bufo nelsoni)
- Florida Bog Frog (Rana okaloosae)
- Tarahumara Frog (Rana tarahumarae)
- Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Rana chiricauhensis)
There are also some frog species that are invasive outside of their native range. The following frog species are considered invasive and killing them in legal:
- Cuban treefrogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis) are invasive in the Americas.
- Coqui frogs (Eleutherodactylus coqui) from Puerto Rico are invasive in Hawai’i.
- Cane toads (Rhinella marina) from Central and South America are invasive in Florida and Australia.
- Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeianus) are native to eastern North America but are highly invasive in the western United States, Asia, Europe, and South America.
Before taking any action against the frogs in your yard, it is critical to identify the species first. Firstly, so that you know what measures to take to control them, and secondly so that you know if it is legal to kill them or if you should relocate them.
Check with your local wildlife authority which frogs in your area are endangered and which species are invasive.
Methods to Control Frogs in the Yard
There are so many approaches to get rid of frogs in the garden and discourage them from returning. All of these methods have a goal of making your yard less hospitable to frogs by removing sources of food and shelter.
To rid your yard of frogs, you can:
- Make a DIY frog repellant spray.
- Make your yard less hospitable to frogs. Remove stagnant water sources, mow the lawn short, clear away clutter, and dispose of debris and leaf litter.
- Turn outdoor lights off at night.
- Interrupt their life cycle by killing eggs and tadpoles.
- Reduce the insect population in your yard using insecticides.
- Encourage more birds to visit your garden.
Remove Frog Habitats from the Yard
Start by walking through your garden carefully, looking for water sources and hiding places for frogs. By removing these, frogs will leave your yard searching for better places to lay their eggs and shelter.
Drain any bodies of standing water in the yard. Use a water pump for draining more extensive water sources. Keep drainage ditches and gutters clear. Address any drainage issues that cause puddles of water to accumulate in your garden.
Frogs prefer stagnant water to water that is filtered and circulated. By installing a filter in your garden pond, it will rid the water of mosquito larvae and thus reduce the frog population. You could also add some fish to your pond to eat the tadpoles.
Mow the lawn to a short length and cut back weeds and foliage around water sources. Frogs will hide amongst vegetation, and they love long grass because it attracts their favorite prey. Keeping the lawn short, neat and weed-free will help deter frogs.
Outdoor Lighting Attracts Frogs at Night
If you leave the patio light on overnight, it will attract large numbers of moths and other insects that frogs love to hunt. Turn all your garden lights off at night to deter insects and frogs from the yard.
Turning your yard lights off at night will also attract owls at night. Owls feed on frogs, so they are definitely a bird you want to have in your yard if you have a frog problem!
DIY Frog Repelling Spray
To concoct your own natural frog repelling spray, combine a gallon of water with 1.3 pounds of citric acid powder. Mix it together and pour the solution into a spray bottle.
Spray the citric acid solution directly onto the frogs. You will instantly see the effect of the spray.
This is a very strong solution that will kill frogs very quickly. It is better to use natural frog repellant because chemical products kill the frogs much more slowly and are thus less humane to use.
If your intention is to deter the frogs, rather than kill them, mix up a solution of vinegar and water. Use equal parts. Spray this on areas you want frogs to stay away from, like the porch, windowsills, and door.
The acetic acid will burn the frogs’ feet when they hop over an area that has been sprayed with the vinegar solution. This is a gentler way of getting rid of the frogs in your yard. Remember that vinegar is harmful to plants, so be careful when spraying the solution around the garden.
Kill Frogs’ Eggs and Tadpoles
A very efficient method of reducing the frog population in your yard is to interrupt their life cycle by killing their eggs and tadpoles.
If there is a frog infestation in your yard, there will likely be places where frogs are laying eggs and reproducing. Look for moist, boggy areas with standing water.
If you have no wet areas or puddles of standing water in your garden, you may be dealing with a toad problem. Toads have thicker skin and can tolerate drier conditions than frogs can.
Frogspawn looks like a mass of small transparent balls with tiny black dots in the middle. It is often attached to vegetation close to a water source, just below the water’s surface. Toad spawn, on the other hand, looks like a string
It is easy to collect frogspawn and tadpoles using a regular fish tank net. If the tadpoles and spawn dry out, they will die. Thus the best way to kill them is to leave them on a concrete or paved surface in the sun or bury them in the sand.
Make Your Yard More Bird-Friendly
Birds such as hawks, owls, crows, ravens, ducks, geese, and blue jays are frogs’ natural predators. By making your yard more attractive to these bird species, you will naturally begin to see a decline in the frog population of your yard.
Keeping a small flock of ducks is a fantastic way to keep the number of frogs in your garden down. Ducks will also eat other garden pests, like slugs and snails.
Putting a birdbath in your yard will attract wild birds, like blue jays and robins. While having a birdbath may also lure in some frogs, the birds visiting will make a quick meal of them.
A birdbath will attract many smaller bird species, which will attract larger species, like hawks. These predatory birds will help to keep frogs under control.
Birds of prey love perching in tall trees, so plant a few around your yard and wait for them to arrive.
To invite more owls into your yard, provide good perches for them. Avoid cutting old, dead horizontal branches from large trees as these are perfect perches for owls and other birds of prey.
Give owls a safe place to live in your yard by installing nest boxes around the perimeter of your property. Most owl species look for hollow trees to nest in. Owl nest boxes are designed to simulate owls’ natural nesting conditions. Install them in trees at least 10 to 12 feet off the ground.
Last Resort: Use Pesticides to Get Rid of Insects and Frogs
If you have tried every other method of getting rid of the frogs in your yard to no avail, it may be that you must resort to using a chemical pesticide. This is a last resort approach because pesticides are incredibly harmful ecologically.
The idea behind using pesticides is that killing the insects in the garden will eliminate the frogs’ food source, thereby getting rid of them.
Some products are also intended to be sprayed directly onto frogs, their spawn, or tadpoles. They claim to kill frogs immediately, but generally, death by pesticides is a terrible, slow death for frogs.
Herbicides that contain atrazine have a surprising effect on male frogs – it turns them into females. Atrazine interferes with testosterone production in amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals.
Applying this herbicide in your yard is certain to put an end to your frog infestation as it will interrupt the frogs’ reproduction.
Atrazine has been shown to contribute to the global decline in frog populations. It is widely available in the United States, but it is banned in EU countries due to its negative environmental impacts.
The world’s most commonly used herbicide, Roundup®, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate, is deadly to tadpoles and frogs. This herbicide is also known to be carcinogenic, causing tumors and cancers.
Using these potent pesticides in your yard puts you, your family, pets, and all the birds, butterflies, squirrels, and raccoons that visit your yard at risk. While Roundup is effective in getting rid of frogs in your yard, there are safer approaches that are as effective.
Catching Frogs Using Traps
If you have some noisy bullfrogs or treefrogs in your yard that are keeping you awake at night, a solution to get rid of them is to catch them in a trap. You can release them a few miles away from your home.
If the frog species you are targeting is invasive in your area, you should kill them. Although one should be aware that there may be restrictions in your area. For example, in Kansas, you must apply for a license, and you are only allowed to shoot 24 bullfrogs.
To build a frog trap, gather the following supplies:
- Two medium-sized buckets with holes drilled in the bottom.
- A 4-foot by 8-foot piece of plywood board, ½-inch-thick.
- A shovel
Prepare the buckets by cutting two ½-inch-wide, 4-inch-deep slots into the rims of the buckets on opposite sides. Check that the slots are the right size by sliding the plywood board into them.
Start by digging two holes in the ground, 8 feet apart. The holes must be deep and wide enough to be able to fit the entire bucket.
Sink the two buckets into the ground so that they are flush with the ground. Fill in any gaps around the buckets with soil.
Next, using a shovel, dig a 4-inch-deep trench in a straight line from one bucket to the other, making sure that the trench lines up with the slots in the buckets. The walls of the trench must be consistent and even.
Stand the plywood board up by sliding it into the slots in the buckets and the trench. The board should stand up on its own. To help support it, fill in the spaces in the trench on opposite sides of the board with soil. If you find the board needs further support, hammer stakes into the ground.
The trap is now ready! Leave it overnight. In the morning, check to see if you have caught any frogs.
As the frogs hop across your yard, they will reach the board. Unable to jump over it, they will try to go around it and fall into one of the buckets. The sides of the bucket are too steep and slippery for the frog to climb out.
How to Kill Frogs Humanely
Many people feel edgy at the thought of killing anything, even a frog! However, if there is a terrible frog infestation in your yard, and the frog species is invasive. Then, the most environmentally beneficial and responsible thing to do is to kill them.
This is the most humane method to kill frogs:
- Place them in a plastic container with ventilation holes.
- Put the container into the fridge for 12 hours.
- Move the container to the freezer and leave it in for 24 hours.
Because frogs are cold-blooded, they cannot regulate their own body temperature. Putting them into the fridge will cause their bodies to go into hibernation. Their metabolisms will slow down, and they will essentially be in a state of deep sleep.
When you put them into the freezer, the extreme temperature will cause the frogs to die. However, their death will be painless as they are unconscious.
Never Kill Native Frog Species
All around the world, amphibian populations are plummeting.
How to Keep Frogs Out of the Swimming Pool
Fishing dead, bloated frogs and frogspawn out of your pool with a net every morning is nobody’s idea of fun. Fortunately, there are ways to keep frogs from jumping into your swimming pool at night.
An effective way to keep frogs out of your swimming is to use a pool cover at night. Using a solar cover has the added benefit of heating the water, which also deters frogs.
The best way to keep frogs out of your swimming pool is to install a frog fence around the perimeter of the pool.
Keep Frogs Out of the Yard with a Fence
Although a secure and aesthetically fence is expensive, it is the only reliable way to keep frogs from entering your yard. Build a regular fence that suits the look of your house, and then make it frog-proof.
1/8-inch hardware cloth is the ideal material for a frog fence. Chicken wire works well, especially for keeping out larger frogs and toads. One can also use fine-meshed plastic fencing.
A frog-proof fence must be:
- Sunken at least 6 inches into the ground.
- Made of very fine mesh so that small frogs cannot squeeze through.
- Tall enough so that frogs cannot jump over.
Frog fences are used in Wildlife Management Areas in the United States and Canada. They are put up next to highways to protect endangered frogs from becoming roadkill. Frog fences have proven remarkably effective.
Benefits of Having Frogs in the Yard
While it is reasonable that many people may be afraid of frogs and feel uncomfortable having them around the house and yard, frogs are very beneficial organisms to have around.
One of the top reasons that the majority of people build ponds in their garden is that they attract frogs and other wildlife. Having a diversity of organisms of all sizes that visit your yard is a sign that you live in a healthy environment.
A frog can eat upwards of 100 insects in a single night. Their voracious appetite for bugs makes them a fantastic form of natural pest control in the garden.
Frogs eat many nasty garden pests that damage plants, like cutworms, caterpillars, grasshoppers, slugs, snails, beetles, and moths. They are especially helpful to have in vegetable gardens.
To deal with a frog infestation in your yard, you must focus on removing their sources of food and shelter. Below are the methods to get rid of frogs in the yard:
- Use a natural, DIY frog repellant spray. Citric acid and water are all you need!
- Keep your grass mowed short. Frogs like to hide in long grass and weeds.
- Eliminate stagnant water sources, like puddles, in your yard.
- Put a water pump or fountain in your pond to keep the water circulating. Frogs prefer stagnant water.
- Clear away clutter, like empty flower pots, and dispose of debris and leaf litter in your yard. These are all hiding places for frogs
- Turn outdoor lights off at night to prevent attracting insects and frogs.
- Interrupt their life cycle by killing eggs and tadpoles. Catch them with a net and leave them in the sun to dry or bury them in the sand.
- Encourage more birds to visit your garden. Owls, hawks, crows, ravens, blue jays, and geese feed on frogs.
- Reduce the insect population in your yard using insecticides. This is the last resort option as pesticides are ecologically harmful.
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