Thursday, July 17, 2014

Toad Abodes for Your Yard

Why would you want to have more toads in your yard? We are in the middle of summer and in the height of bug season! My yard has seen almost 5" of rain this week and I expect to see a rise in mosquitoes in a couple of weeks. I've already battled or tolerated Japanese beetles, leaf hoppers and spider mites this summer season. I don't use chemicals in the yard because of my wildlife habitat. My backyard birds, fish, and dragonflies are a big help. But do you know how helpful toads can be in the fight against unwanted insects? 

After reading this you may want to consider encouraging a toad or two to take up residence in your backyard or garden. One toad can eat up to 10,000 insect pests over the course of the summer. Toads like damp, shady areas and need shelter. If you want to attract a toad, you should provide a good home, or “toad abode” for it. Toads need water, too, so you should leave a tray of water near their abode. Line the toad’s home with leaf mold or leaf litter.  Don’t bring toads from elsewhere and put them in your yard (or let loose pet toads). You can find toad abodes at garden centers or online.

You can make your own toad abode using a broken flowerpot or half-bury a large flowerpot on its side in a shady spot. Or arrange flat rocks with a toad-size space underneath. Situate your toad abode in the shade--say, under a bush--and in the dampest spot in your yard, near a gutter downspout, air conditioner drip or in a low spot that collects rainwater.