If you want to go green in your home garden pest control, an American toad is a must-have. Garden toads are the best organic pest control, feasting on garden visitors like slugs, sow bugs, beetles, moths, caterpillars, cutworms and various borers. The American toad is found in most of the eastern Untied States and Canada, but it will make it’s abode anywhere 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 nighttime feeding frenzy.
Put Out the Welcome Mat
The tiny destructive creatures in your home garden are enough to pique a toad’s interest, but to keep him coming back for more you will have to give him a room with a view.
Toad houses can be bought at most any garden supply centers or through a seed and plant catalog, but it’s very simple (and free) to create a DIY toad abode. Any damp spot near your 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 to create housing – a few large rocks with open space under them for the toad to hide, or cover the spot with a couple of boards or a small log. My favorite is DIY toad abode is a cracked terra cotta planter or a large terra cotta saucer for a planted, turned upside down over the damped spot. Make sure there is an opening large enough for a toad to get in and out of the abode, and have the opening facing the garden.
Toads love cool, damp places with loose soil so the can dig in and escape the heat of the day. They are also more likely to remain in an area that has lots of plantings as opposed to open, bare ground.
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 it’s rim in the soil near the DIY toad abode, then keep it filled with water. The toad-ily cool DIY pond should attract a mating pair and keep them and their offspring around for years.
Don’t use pesticides or insecticides on the garden or near the toad house. Toad’s skin is so porous that the poisons will soak right and kill them.
Also, American toads release a toxic substance from behind their eyes as a means of defense when threatened. This makes them a threat to curious and playful household pets that may want to investigate the toad abode and taste of the little hopping critter.