They're everywhere! Hundreds of tiny toads!

dragonfly_wings(Z8 - Central TX.)June 16, 2010

I'm not exagerating. I have to watch where I step! And between them and what is becoming an annual invasion of grasshoppers, the ground seems to move beneath my feet in waves.

What does it all mean? Is it an indication that nature is compensating somehow by delivering lots of insect-eating helpers? I hope they eat grasshoppers!

Anyone else experiencing this phenomenon?

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rick_mcdaniel(Lewisville, TX)

It means you have natural bug control.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 11:05AM
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granburyflowergirl(7)

Isn't it wonderful! I have loads of little toads, so far no grasshoppers - knock on wood.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 11:26AM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

Just keep the roadrunners away ......... I have to chase them out of my yard a lot and they love toads and lizards.
I wish they would develop a taste for grasshoppers.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 11:53AM
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seamommy(7bTX)

I also have a bumper crop of baby toads this year. Seems like they do this about every 3-5 years and then almost none in other years. I noticed Zillions of tadpoles in the pond, but couldn't tell if they were going to be frogs or toads. Looks like it was toads, they're everywhere. I also have families of roadrunners and a pair of guinea fowl that have taken up residence in my yard and all of them eat toads. Fortunately, enough of them make it to adultoadhood that we have the giant mama toads in all the flower beds. Cheryl

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 12:46PM
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susiewantsroses(7b)

Hey everyone! Im Susie from Denton County (North of Dallas) We love the toads!!! You are so lucky. All we see are a tennisball sized toad here and there.

Do the mosquito dunks prevent successful toad reproduction in our yard pond? I also want to spray under some thick bushes to disturb a mosquito population. Would this kill adult frogs? Our occasional toad is just not taking care of our mosquito problem. I'd ask you to send me some of your toads but I dont want to accidently kill them. :(

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 1:42PM
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bobbi_p(z8/9 Cypress, TX)

Yip, lots of babies here too. Check your pool skimmers regularly for the little guys that get trapped in there!

Grasshoppers are just beginning to show up here. Had fun watching a sparrow trying to get one as it hopped this way and that this morning.

In our second year here, and me trying to be as organic as possible (certainly IPM), it's fantastic to see the jump in toads, anoles, assassin bugs, and lady bugs. Just gotta get my lawn soil tested to see why my lawn is so yellow even after compost last year and the soybean meal/alfalfa pellet fertilization. My lawn guy is mowing at 4 inches, but my St. Augustine isn't even that high in places, only the weeds....

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 2:42PM
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granburyflowergirl(7)

Hey bobbi, check out the organic lawn care forum...several TX folks there may be able to help you out.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 10:52PM
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dragonfly_wings(Z8 - Central TX.)

Haha! Well I see I'm not alone! It must be the Year Of The Toad. I just hope nature isn't preparing for an onslaught of insects.

bobbi - well I WOULD check my skimmer if I had a pool.
I ran across some good lawn care information while perusing the Natural Garden website. They said that they AND A&M had concluded that an organic product called Ladybug 8-2-4 was among the top three fertilizers for lawns and great for building a healthy soil.
I don't have a traditional lawn, just a mixure of native grasses that I mow. But I'll add the link to their page about that product below (scroll down to "Time To Ferilize").

Here is a link that might be useful: Natural Gardener helpful advice for lawns

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 11:36PM
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dragonfly_wings(Z8 - Central TX.)

Susie From Denton,

Hello! Good question about those mosquito dunks and toad/frog populations. I have a large pond and don't use dunks.

It sure seems like there could be a correlation. If dunks are detrimental to toads it would probably be a tough decision to chose between them and mosquitos. Maybe put up some bat houses to control the mosquitoes?

At any rate, that question might be worth a little online research or a call to the county extension agent. If you find an answer, let us know!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 1:46AM
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susiewantsroses(7b)

Thanks Dragonfly. I've studied the bat house possibility. On my tiny property the only place it could be installed would allow the bat guano to accummulate where my two little dogs 'roll around'. They never saw a pile of stuff they didn't want to roll in. My small yard pond is filled with rocks so mosquito fish would not be happy. That's why we were hoping for frogs to take up the mosquito control. When I lived in Houston our pond was large and full of fish so there were no worries. We have installed landscape lights here, that draw flying insects,and hope this encourages more frogs. We also put up a bug zapper so there are free frog meals on the ground underneath it. I just wish we had the abundance that ya'll are talking about. Maybe they will miagrate up this way. Thanks Again!!!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 10:22AM
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Lin barkingdogwoods

On my property in east Texas I have a rain barrel in which I've kept mosquito dunks. This trip I noticed it was full of tadpoles, fat, healthy, and way down in the barrel (I only noticed after I had started watering). No mosquito larvae at all. I have since moved the tadpoles to their own little water garden.

Anyway, that shows - at least to me - that the dunks don't harm tadpoles, so I'll continue to use them in the rainbarrels (and wonder how a frog or toad got through the hardware cloth to lay the eggs...)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 8:57AM
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beachplant(9b)

Dunks don't harm tadpoles, birds, the dogs or other wildlife. They will kill dragonfly larvae though.

Loads of toads here too, but they don't eat webworms!! Which have totally covered the mulberry trees, even the trunks are completely covered with the webs and the little !@#%$^##!! are eating everything! The FENCE was covered even with their webs, it's like they made a web highway from the trees down to the garden. I'm breaking out the pesticide this weekend when I get home, nothing else is gonna live with them that thick. I won't spray near the ground though, want my toads to eat the other stuff in the yard. GRRRR! I hate those things!
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 4:30PM
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dragonfly_wings(Z8 - Central TX.)

barkingdogwoods and beachplant,
Thanks for the info on dunks. Glad to hear it.

beachplant, those web worms are insideous. Don't know
what pesticide you're thinking of using, but an organic choice that is specific to worms would be the least harmful to toads and other critters. BT Worm Killer (by Green Light) works great.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 6:25AM
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wally_1936(8b)

beachplant, sounds like you need a very long torch to burn your web worms. The only way you will have any luck killing them by spray is you will have to open those webs which protect them.
Paul

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 10:31AM
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beachplant(9b)

Oh, I've battled these things for years. The mulberry is over 30' tall so a torch isn't an option. And, well, for me fire isn't an option! We still aren't done with the repairs from the house burning up. The guys have about 1 more day of work inside, next we start the outside, the back of the house is black where the smoke went out between the wood.
You just have to add a wetting agent to the spray. They are falling on your head when you walk in the side yard. YUCK!
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 11:12AM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

I have a fish free pond/rain garden for dragonflies,damsels and amphibians. The BT dunks didn't kill the dragonflies. I thought I saw dead nymphs until I noticed it was the dried,used carpace left behind when the nymphs morphed into the winged stage. The dried carpace had fallen off the sticks and stems back into the water. Due to the lack of fish I had to add an enormous amount of BT (nearly covered the surface of the water at one point) until the nymphs' could control them. I saw 50+ carpaces left by dragonfly nymphs in obvious places. PJ

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 2:25PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

It seems dunks aren't entirely safe for birds. I put a very small crumb of a donut into my fantail pigeon's bird bath to keep the mosquitos from breeding while we were on vacation. My son called us while we were in California to say the birds were dying.

When we got home 8 out of our 12 pigeons were dead. Our birds also had pigeon waterers to drink from so guess not all of them drank the birdbath water. Mosquitos never get into the waterers, but I had to empty out the birdbaths every few days because of wiggletails in them.

I've kept pigeons for almost 30 years and never had anything like this happen. Thought of writing to the company that makes them to inquire to see if pigeons were particularly sensitive to them, but never did.

Glad to hear that apparently the amphibians are doing okay with mosquito dunks, just thought I'd pass this along.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 6:36PM
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dragonfly_wings(Z8 - Central TX.)

Oh roselee, I'm so sorry to hear that. How awful. :^(

Too often treatments end up doing more harm than good.
I hope everyone will be very careful with their use
of treatments and pesticides. For instance, I wonder if baits for fire ants kill other kinds of ants, or the critters that eat the ants? I try to find organic treatments that are very specific to what I'm addressing rather than broad-based types, so I'm not inadvertently causing collateral damage of some kind.
But while I'm sure the products are tested, I often wonder if there have been ENOUGH tests to determine their affects on ALL the species that might potentially be affected. And that can add up to a LOT of species.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 1:06PM
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granburyflowergirl(7)

Roselee, I'm sorry to hear about your birds too, that must have been very heart-breaking.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 7:08PM
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jtyrie(Z7+ DFW)

My totally unprofessional opinion is that if you have tons of toads, you probably don't have a snake problem. If you had snakes, they'd probably eat the toads. I'll take the toads any day!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 11:00PM
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dragonfly_wings(Z8 - Central TX.)

jtyrie,

Well you might be onto something there. I've seen only a few snakes in the last decade or so. That's not much. And while I've spotted an occasional roadrunner in my area, they seem to prefer higher, drier and rockier terrain.

I saw an article the other day that said snake populations were on the decline at an alarming rate. I'm not sure why, but I'm guessing there are a number of things that cumulatively have led to that problem. And they're hardly the only species in that predicament. I googled and found the article:

Here is a link that might be useful: Snake populations rapidly disappearing worldwide.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 10:29AM
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dragonfly_wings(Z8 - Central TX.)

jtyrie,

Well you might be onto something there. I've seen only a few snakes in the last decade or so. That's not much. And while I've spotted an occasional roadrunner in my area, they seem to prefer higher, drier and rockier terrain.

I saw an article the other day that said snake populations were on the decline at an alarming rate. I'm not sure why, but I'm guessing there are a number of things that cumulatively have led to that problem. And they're hardly the only species in that predicament. I googled and found the article:

Here is a link that might be useful: Snake populations rapidly disappearing worldwide.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 11:02AM
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denisew(z8 TX)

I usually have lots of tadpoles and toads from my pond by this time of year and have even heard the toads croaking at night, but absolutely no tadpoles and no "toadlets" as I call them. I haven't done anything different in my pond or garden and haven't used any toxic (synthetic or organic) chemicals, so I don't know why they aren't laying eggs.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 9:19PM
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susiewantsroses(7b)

I love nature and being green as possible and recycling and, and, and,....BUT I would not miss the snakes if they all left town. I heel just naturally wants to crush their little heads. But that just me.....

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 4:18PM
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