Last Updated: 5/25/10
Some people may want to deter frogs and/or toads because they are making too much noise, mostly when they are trying to sleep, or because there are many that are getting run over by the lawn mower.
I get a lot of questions about deterring frogs and toads, mostly because of the noise that males make during breeding season. It is usually the noisy male tree frogs that keep people up at night. To save myself time in replying with the same response each time, here is what I would normally say about this dilemma.
First of all, consider giving the frogs or toads a break. Due to the effects of human-induced changes including habitat destruction, chemical use, and global warming, the populations of most native amphibians have gone down drastically in the last decade or worse, century. In the case of frogs or toads making noise, only males call, and they only call during breeding season. If you can determine which species of frog or toad is making the noise, you can estimate how long you will have to live with the noise.
Frogs and toads will help control insects and slugs around your home so they are helpers.
At our house, gray tree frogs breed on the pool cover. The pool sits beneath the windows of my parents' bedrooms. We have simply gotten used to the sound. Ear plugs or wave machines may help distract some people from the noise outside.
Now, on to actually deterring frogs and toads.
It is not legal to harm or kill native amphibians including frogs and toads. It is legal to harm or kill some non-native amphibians such as bullfrogs in the Western USA or cane toads in the Southern USA. It is not a good idea (or legal) to set out any toxic chemicals in an attempt to kill or discourage frogs and toads. They have limited smell so scented deterrents will not work.
Why are the frogs or toads coming to your area? Do you have a pond? If so, it would have been prudent to situate it at the opposite end from the bedroom. The only way to stop frogs or toads from coming to a pond to breed is to remove the pond or physically exclude them with fencing that has holes smaller than the animals in question. A fence made of hardware cloth (rabbit wire, vinyl-coated is best) that is a few feet high should be adequate. Be sure they cannot get under it.
To make a yard less attractive to a frog or toad, remove plants and cover (plants, pots, wood piles, etc.). To make a pond less attractive, remove plants, add fish, and add more water movement. Many frogs will not breed in ponds with fish.
Amphibians eat live insects so if you deter insects by turning off lights outside at night, they may have cause the amphibians to leave if they are coming to eat insects attracted to lights.
If you build a small pond at the opposite end of the house, away from the bedroom that is ideal for amphibians, that may attract a lot of them away from near a bedroom. See my frog pond page.
Frogs or toads can be physically removed from the area. To catch them, go out when they are calling to locate them. Set a bucket near them on its side and use a net or pole to coax them into the bucket. Cover the lid before they hop out. Move them to an area that is not too far but not too close to where you live, perhaps half a mile with a similar set up as far as pond, land, etc. Do not release them on people's property without their permission. Do not move them so far that they are no longer native to the area. Even if you can remove all the animals currently near where you live, more may move in.
As far as mowing goes, frogs normally are out traveling when it is wet out. I have many green frogs at my ponds, and they do walk around the grass sometimes when it is not wet. I just try to keep an eye out for them and mow around them until they move.
The site listed below reports that spraying salt water around may deter amphibians. It also will kill plants.
How to Deter Frogs
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