While it may be unbeknownst to some, toads are actually welcome additions to the garden. In fact, they eat many types of insect pests that affect garden plants. You should think carefully before deciding to kill toads or eliminate toads as they are an important benefit to the garden. However, too many toads could become a problem, or more likely a nuisance, but there are a few things you can do to get rid of garden toads should this occur.
Friendly Toad Control
One of the best ways to get rid of garden toads around your garden or landscape is to make it less attractive to toads. Generally, for toad control, if you remove their favorite hideouts and water or food sources, they will move elsewhere. For instance, toads enjoy dark, damp places. Look for and remove pots, water containers, or ground-level birdbaths. Also, remove any wood, old lumber, or brush piles. If you have pets, don't leave their food outdoors where toads could have access to them. They find pet food quite inviting and since their secretions can pose a threat to dogs, it's even more important to keep this food source out of their range. If you have a pond or similar water feature, you could implement small fencing, which they cannot squeeze through, about a foot (0.5 m.) or so high around it. Also, ensure that toads cannot burrow beneath the fencing. In addition, you could add fish or a fountain, which encourages water movement and deters toad inhabitation. When all else fails, physically removing them may be required. Simply catch the toads and relocate them to a suitable area.
Eliminate Toads Humanely
Some people choose to rid their gardens of toads by killing them. Be aware that in some areas, this is illegal and they are protected animals. Also, be aware that toad populations around the world are in jeopardy due to chemicals and pesticides. We do not advocate killing toads. But, if you feel must, toads are very susceptible to toxic chemicals, like garden pesticides, which can be an extremely slow and painful death. Therefore, if you must kill toads, it should at least be done humanely. The easiest method to eliminate toads is to get rid of their eggs and dispose of them by burying in the ground or leaving them to dry out in the sun. The most humane way to kill toads is to put them into a sealed container (with air holes) and refrigerate overnight. This induces a coma-like state, which is not painful. Then freeze the toad(s) for a few days to ensure death has occurred and bury afterward.
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Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.
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