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How to Kill or Get Rid of Frogs and Toads

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This author has had many battles with frogs and has survived to tell the tales.

Frogs can be a source of frustration for some homeowners.

Frogs can be a source of frustration for some homeowners.

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 backyard.

You would think I would have become used to the loud croaking, but it got worse every day. 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

  1. Identify the Species (important since the steps you take will be determined by whether the frog or toad is endangered or protected)
  2. Make the Environment Less Inviting (remove their habitat, introduce predators, or use other repellents)
  3. Get Rid of Their Food (starve them out)
  4. Create a Barrier (you have several options here)
  5. Use Physical Force (to exterminate or remove the frogs)
  6. 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.

The American Bullfrog is considered an invasive species. Are the noisy frogs in your yard American Bullfrogs?

The American Bullfrog is considered an invasive species. Are the noisy frogs in your yard American Bullfrogs?

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.

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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.
If you want to get rid of noisy frogs, you will have to temporarily remove the habitat that they like: water and tall grassy plants.

If you want to get rid of noisy frogs, you will have to temporarily remove the habitat that they like: water and tall grassy plants.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.

The Most Endangered Frogs and Toads of the U.S.

Name

Where

Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged Frog (Rana sierrae)

California

Dusky Gopher Frog (Rana sevosa)

Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama

Arroyo Toad (Bufo californicus)

California to Mexico

California Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii)

Western U.S.

Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa)

Pacific Northwest of U.S.

Foothill Yellow-Legged Frog (Rana boylii)

Oregon to California

Amargosa Toad (Bufo nelsoni)

Nevada

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)

Florida

Frog eggs clump together in water. Be sure to scoop them all out and leave them out to dry.

Frog eggs clump together in water. Be sure to scoop them all out and leave them out to dry.

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.)
Make sure to scoop out any tadpoles. These will die if laid out on the dry ground.

Make sure to scoop out any tadpoles. These will die if laid out on the dry ground.

Let Us Know What Worked

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

ROBERT on August 12, 2020:

Go out during the day and find where they're hiding. That is the key. NEXT you can put traps outside those areas to capture the frogs and release them elsewhere.

Salt, Citric acid and the like only work if

1. It isnt raining

2. The frogs dont already live where you put it.

Frogs rule da world on August 11, 2020:

MANY FROGS ARE ENDANGERED! If you do want them away, relocate them! Move their eggs in a container of water to a natural lake. Do the same with the frogs, but DON’T KILL THEM! How would you feel. Us Humans destroyed their habitats. If the frogs could, they would exterminate us!

D on August 04, 2020:

I will be more than happy to report this disgusting article for animal abuse and then you can deal with the legal consequences. Good luck, you'll need it.

Addie on July 14, 2020:

Killing frogs and toads? Don't you have anything else better to worry about? Spraying them with citric acid, saltwater, ammonia? Really? What a bunch of cruel, pathetic, pansy ass idiots you all are.

Denise kitto on June 07, 2020:

I have toads in garden we live in Spain and I’m so scared the dogs will catch one how can we get rid of them

Adien Blondin on May 22, 2020:

Let me tell you something for those WHO LOVE those disgusting frogs. I almost lost my dog last week because he bite a toad and it cost me $1800 lucky me she is still alive, this week another episode with my second dog this time $250. With that being said i will be sure to kill everything single Toad in my neighborhood. I really want to scream at those defending the frogs. Give me a break what a bunch of morons!

UsOrThem on May 14, 2020:

Frogs brought snakes to our yard. I have young children and can’t risk them facing off with a snake when they are out playing. Either I kill the snakes or I kill the frogs. There’s enough frogs in the wild to sustain the eco system. So I will continue killing every frog I find on my property to keep the snakes away.

Jaftosupremis on April 20, 2020:

Well. The Toads we are trying to get rid of are an invasive species - the cane toad. They secret a toxin when they are harassed. Like a dog/cat/child picks them up. They get to be the size of a dinner plate, and are crowding out native species. You cannot eat them unlike bullfrogs - legs fried with hot sauce...yum. Soooooo, stop the belly aching and accept that I will do everything I can to eliminate this vermin. Hogs are invasive, but taste great. Burmese python is invasive, great boots, taste ok at best, Peacock bass fun to catch, invasive, crowding out native fishes, again, catch them small, ok eats. So, get out those headlamps, frog gigs, and kill a mess of Bufo Toads.

Lulu on March 04, 2020: