How to Kill or Get Rid of Frogs and Toads
I understand that there are a lot of frog lovers out there and that by posting this article, I may offend some of you, but let me just be honest here: Frogs are great creatures in their own natural environment, but not in my back yard.
You would think I would have become used to the loud croaking, but it got worse everyday. These creatures croaked so loudly outside my bedroom that my window started vibrating. Night after night. There were many days when I had trouble focusing at work because I couldn't get a good night's sleep.
If you are like me, you want advice that will work, once and for all. Here are six steps to getting rid of the noisy, croaking frogs in your yard and keeping them away.
6 Steps for Getting Rid of Frogs
- Identify the Species (important since the steps you take will be determined by whether the frog or toad is endangered or protected)
- Make the Environment Less Inviting (remove their habitat, introduce predators, or use other repellants)
- Get Rid of Their Food (starve them out)
- Create a Barrier (you have several options here)
- Use Physical Force (to exterminate or remove the frogs)
- Prevent the Frogs From Reproducing (you must also deal with the eggs and tadpoles)
Each of these steps is discussed in detail below.
1. Identify the Species of Frog or Toad
As much as you might just want to exterminate them, some species are protected by law. Chances are that you have some neighbors who actually like frogs. To be on the safe side and avoid problems with your neighbors and the law, check what species you are dealing with.
Some species are protected, but others are considered invasive, and killing them is legal. The American Bullfrog, for example, is not protected. After confirming the species, consult the laws in your area to make sure it is legal to exterminate them.
2. Make the Environment Less Inviting
Here are a few techniques I tried, but didn't work very well:
- Rubber snakes in my pool to scare them away
- Snake repellent
- Getting a cat or a dog
- Pesticides and chlorine
The frogs kept coming back. Strangely, they even became immune to chlorine after a while.
What worked for me was removing their habitat. Frogs are amphibians, which means they live on both dry land and water.
- If your yard has a water feature (a pond or pool), then that is what attracts the frogs. Drain the pond or pool and leave it empty for a couple of weeks.
- Trim weeds or other nearby plantings.
- Do not leave out water for birds or other animals.
These things will make your yard less attractive to frogs. Eventually, they will just go away and find another place to live.
3. Cut Off Their Food Source
Frogs need food to live. In addition to the water source and plantings, your yard must offer something that is sustaining them. Getting rid of their food supply will send the frogs hopping away to find a better place to live.
- Turn off outside lights at night. Lights attract bugs, and bugs attract frogs.
- Use mild insecticides to get rid of other bugs they may be eating.
- Some frogs will eat pet food, so if you leave your pet's dish outside, bring it in.
4. Create a Barrier
Some frogs can hop very high, but American Bullfrogs can only hop about a foot or two. Keep new frogs from coming into your yard with a barrier they cannot get through or over.
- Set up plastic or mesh fencing around your yard.
- Make sure the holes are small (smaller even than chicken wire) so small frogs cannot squeeze through.
- Secure the posts holding up the fencing so they won't tip over.
5. Use Physical Force
Now it's time to physically remove the frogs that might still be in yard. Since you have made your yard "frog-proof" by removing their habitat and food and installing fencing, the frogs you capture and get rid of won't want to come back.
- Scoop them up and out. Using a long-handled net with small-holed mesh, scoop the frogs out of your pool or pond and place them into a tall container, like a garbage can or lightweight barrel. This is really a two-person job. Have a lid handy. One person scoops the frogs into the container while the other quickly opens and closes the lid. (Note: Frogs often pee when they are scared!)
- Try going out on a frog hunt at night, when frogs are most active. If you bring a flashlight and shine it in their eyes, they will be stunned like a deer in headlights. This will make them easier to catch. Also, it may be useful to know that frogs cannot turn their heads to see behind them.
- If you have or live near kids, consider paying them to come over in the evenings to catch frogs for you. Pay them per frog. This will make the work go faster and easier!
Once you have them all collected into a closed container, you can drive them to a pond or lake and release them.
How to Kill Frogs
- Freeze them. Some frogs simply go into hibernation mode when they are very cold, so if you freeze them first, maybe they won't feel the pain when you kill them.
- Gig them. Use a frog gig or spear to catch and kill frogs. Gigs are multi-pronged claws that can attach to extended handles so you don't have to get so close to the frogs that you scare them away. Head out into your yard at night when frogs are most active. Shine a flashlight to find them and shine it in their eyes. This stuns the frogs and makes them easier to gig.
- Spread or spray salt. Frogs die when they are dehydrated. Make a mixture of salt and water and spray frogs directly or spread salt around the area where they live. Be careful of plants, however. Salt can also cause plants to turn brown and die.
- Citrus acid seems to help. Mix 1.3 pounds dry citric acid (available at some hardware stores) to one gallon of water, and spray this directly onto the frogs.
- Orajel. Products for numbing the mouth generally contain Benzocaine. These products will numb the frog's brain and stop the heart. If you can catch the frogs, dab a little on the head to kill them!
- Shoot them. Shooting frogs is not legal everywhere and may require a fishing license. If you decide to shoot the frogs in your yard, a pellet rifle or BB gun should be sufficient.
6. Prevent Them From Reproducing
You will want to make sure to eliminate future generations of frogs, too.
- Gather tadpoles. Use your net to gather any tadpoles from the bottom of your pool or pond. If you leave them out on the dry ground, they will die as they dry out.
- Scoop out the eggs. Make sure to scoop out any egg masses, too. The eggs will be clumped together in a jelly-like blob. These can be left out to dry and die, as well. (If the eggs are clumped in more of a string-shaped form, then you have toads, not frogs.)
Let Us Know What Worked
What worked to get rid of the frogs in your yard?
As much as you might want to exterminate them, some species are protected by law.
You must check what species you are dealing with and learn about your state's laws before you kill any frogs.
The Most Endangered Frogs and Toads of the U.S.
Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged Frog (Rana sierrae)
Dusky Gopher Frog (Rana sevosa)
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama
Arroyo Toad (Bufo californicus)
California to Mexico
California Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii)
Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa)
Pacific Northwest of U.S.
Foothill Yellow-Legged Frog (Rana boylii)
Oregon to California
Amargosa Toad (Bufo nelsoni)
Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Rana chiricauhensis)
Southwestern U.S. to Northern Mexico
Tarahumara Frog (Rana tarahumarae)
Southwestern U.S. to Central Mexico
Florida Bog Frog (Rana okaloosae)
Be forewarned that frogs and toads eat a significant amount of insects, so if you get rid of them, you will have more insects to deal with as a result. Before you eliminate the frogs, it's best to consider the repercussions!