If your first instinct at the sight of critters in your garden is one of annoyance or even disgust, you should consider that you just might be playing host to a friend, rather than foe. While you’ve been trained (rightly so) to fear rabbits and other pests that treat your garden like an open buffet, know that toads are one helpful potential resident that you’ll want to keep around.
Hungry Toads in the Garden
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that a single adult toad can consume upwards of 10,000 insect pests over the course of your average Summer. 10,000! Additionally, Toads dine on Cutworms (small caterpillars) that hide under the soil by day and come out at night to feed on the stems of plants, effectively cutting them down (hence the name “Cutworm”). So, if you’d like to see a reduction in mosquitoes, gnats and other obnoxious pests, follow these easy steps and ensure that your Garden is an inviting habitat for Toads.
Make or purchase a “toad abode”
Toads are pretty easy to make comfortable, and they don’t require luxurious living quarters.
1. Create a shelter using an old broken terra-cotta pot by turning it on it’s side and partially burying it. Alternatively, you can build flat rocks into a little “house” with a toad-sized space underneath. Again, partially bury this area so they can stay cool.
2. Choose a cool, shady, damp spot, ideally near where bugs congregate (like a light source). While toads don’t live in water, they like to soak once a day, so to be even more inviting place a shallow bowl (like a planter saucer) filled with water nearby.
3. Avoid using chemical fertilizers or herbicides nearby as these are dangerous to toads. Their skin is highly permeable and can take these toxins in pretty easily.
If you want to get fancy there are a number of impressive toad-houses on the market. They add a touch of character to your garden and can be quite colorful. A the end of the day, toads are happy with the most modest of accommodations, so get busy and prepare a spot for the helpful critters. Your plants will be glad you did!