Pest control for most people means reaching for some type of chemical that will quickly get rid of the pests. But as more and more people are becoming organic gardeners, the search for effective, organic pest control methods has reached an all-time high. Various liquid concoctions that contain hot pepper or garlic are effective on some garden pests, but one of the best organic pest control agents is in fact – a couple of humble garden toads.
If this is the first time you are hearing this, you might be puzzled why we call garden toads one of the best organic pest control agents. Garden toads feed on aphids, slugs, sow bugs, beetles, moths, caterpillars, cut-worms and various borer-type pests. The American toad is found in the United States and Canada, and will make its abode anywhere, where conditions are right. This nocturnal feeder boasts a healthy appetite and can easily rid a garden or flower bed of 100 insects per night, then sleep the day away to ready itself for another night time feeding frenzy.
Create a Toad Abode
Toad houses can be purchased at any garden supply center, but it’s very simple (and free) to create a DIY toad abode. Any damp spot near the garden, or a spot you will keep damp by watering daily, will work for the building site.
Make an indentation in the damp soil, then place a handful of leaves or mulch in the indentation. Next, place something on top of the leaves to create housing – a few large rocks, a couple of boards, a small log or a cracked terra cotta planter turned upside down over the damped spot. Make an opening large enough for a toad to get in and out of and have the opening facing the garden.
Build a Toad Pond
Toads breed in ponds, so if you want to keep your living organic pest controller around, you’ll have to build a toad pond. This is an easy DIY project; just bury an old dishpan, large bowl, or birdbath basin up to its rim in the soil near the toad abode, then keep it filled with water. The toad pond should attract a mating pair that will produce free, organic pest control for years to come.
Don’t use pesticides or insecticides on the garden or near the toad house. Toad skin is very porous and the toxic chemicals will soak in and kill them. Also, the American toad releases a toxic substance from behind their eyes as a means of defense when threatened. This makes them a threat to curious household pets that may want to investigate the toad abode and taste of the little hopping critter. So toads are not very compatible with your household if you keep dogs around, unless you train your dogs not to attempt to eat the toads.
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