How to Get Rid of Frogs

Frogs are some interesting critters. Some people race them for sport, others cook them, and some are at risk of croaking at the mere sight of one. But as ribbiting as old faerie tales involving these amphibians might be for kids, most adults have no desire to see one taking up residence in their backyard.

Here’s everything you need to know about frogs and how to get rid of frogs quickly from your yard, pool, or garden.

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Getting to Know Frogs

As you probably already know, frogs are amphibians which begin their lives underwater. As they grow older, they develop legs, lose their tails, and gain the ability to breathe air.

There are thousands of species living in most parts of the world. Some species are so small they can fit on a fingernail! Love them or hate them, frogs are fascinating little critters that will always have our attention.

Frog Habitats

You may have learned as a child that frogs have to live by water, but this isn’t always the case. Of the 5,000 known species worldwide, some remain aquatic while others dwell in trees. A few species even live in the desert, hibernating during the dry season!

As their diet is based almost entirely on insects such as flies, mosquitoes, moths, and even May beetles, once they reach adulthood, frogs prefer marshy or muddy areas to large bodies of water. This is one reason you’ll most often find them invading your property after a heavy rain.

Benefits of Frogs

Frogs are crucial to insect population control. Unlike bats, you’re not likely to run into a rabid frog, so they’re much safer to have around. They’re also an important paleo meat, providing low-fat, omega-3 rich deliciousness (so long as you know they were farm-raised).

In the garden, frogs can be highly beneficial. Their love of insects and grubs gives you a natural pest control method. Unlike many other natural bug controllers, they don’t harm plants and their protein-rich droppings can help enrich the soil for certain plants.

Frog vs Toad

Frog vs Toad comparison

There are actually quite a few differences between these two critters, despite being closely related. Here are just a few of these differences:

  • Legs: Toads have shorter, stubbier legs than their kin.
  • Ova: Frogs lay their eggs in clusters, while toads tend to lay eggs in chains or even give live births.
  • Skin: Frogs have smooth skin which can feel slimy to the touch, while toads have dry, bumpy skin (which contributed to the myth that touching a toad causes warts).
  • Teeth: While rarely considered, frogs actually have vomerine teeth located in the upper jaw.
  • Taste: While both species are edible, frogs (specifically the bullfrog) are preferred in culinary circles.
  • Water: Frogs thrive in a moist or swampy environment, whereas toads are better adapted to dry climates.

Note that it can be easy to mistake a bullfrog for a toad. These big, plump frogs have bumpier skin than other frogs and the African variant actually has ridges along its back. One easy way to distinguish them from toads is the hint of yellow on their upper lip which is shaped as though they’re wearing lipstick.

Why do Frogs Croak at Night?

Frogs have two major reasons for croaking: attracting a mate and warning other frogs to stay out of their territory. Bullfrogs can be especially loud croakers. A major part of the reason they reserve their calls for nighttime (beyond the more romantic mood lighting) is the fact that their position becomes exposed to predators.

Whether they attract a female with great legs or become lunch for a couple hungry hooters is often down to blind luck, but at least nighttime calls can reduce the number of potential predators.

How to Get Rid of Frogs

As useful as frogs can be, their midnight croaking can be highly disruptive. Add to that, tree frogs leave a lot of feces around that resembles rat droppings, and those droppings can end up all over your nice white siding.

Whether you’re dealing with one of these symptoms or merely don’t like the idea of amphibians taking up residence in your’s, there are plenty of ways to remove these critters from the property.

Frogs in the Yard

frogs in the yard

The good news is that getting frogs out of the yard will also get rid of many other pests. This is because frogs need food and shelter – the same shelter their food needs, interestingly enough. Here are a few things that boost your yard’s score on hopspedia.com and what you can do about them:

  • Grass and Weeds – Frogs love a good grassy bungalow, and not just for shelter. Tall grasses can attract a number of bugs, from grasshoppers to spiders. Keep the greenery low, and you can deprive a frog of both shade and snacks. Don’t forget to remove any debris while you’re at it.
  • Night Lights – A drunkard always knows which bar is open by looking to see if the lights are on. Likewise, When a frog notices your porch or garden lights at night, he knows he can hop on in to indulge in the bug of his choice. A dark garden tells both bugs and frogs that the bar is closed for the night.
  • Snakes in a Yard! – A good snake repellent can help keep snakes out of the yard and is pretty safe compared to most chemical repellents. The great part is that reptiles and amphibians share quite a few traits, so the repellent is also somewhat effective against frogs.
  • Stagnant Water – Stagnant or swampy water is a welcome sight for frogs. Not only does it provide a place to lay their eggs, it also means there’ll be a lot of tasty insects, such as mosquitos. Drain, remove, or fill in any sources of stagnant water to get rid of a major pest amenity.

Frogs in a Pond

It can be really annoying to feel like you have to choose between your backyard pond and being frog free, but there’s really a simple solution that lets you have your cake and eat something other than frog legs too.

Simply add a circulation pump or water filter so the pond water isn’t stagnant. Not only will this discourage frogs from laying eggs, it can also deter mosquitos and other tasty frog snacks. Most occupying frogs will leave of their own accord soon after the pond water becomes active.

Tree Frogs

getting rid of tree frogs

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While they seem very different from ground frogs, you can get rid of tree frogs using many of the same methods. Locate their abode by checking nearby trees for piles of feces or groups of flies.

You can use glue strips to catch frogs as they drop down (vegetable oil will allow you to safely remove the frog for relocation a mile or more away). Killing the bug infestation will also go a long way towards eliminating the tree frog population, as they’ll migrate to better feeding grounds.

How to Kill Frogs

We never condone killing a potentially beneficial critter, but we also know there are some times when population control is an issue. Frogs, much like rabbits and other common species, can multiply rapidly and create environmental imbalance due to the reduction of natural predators. Here are a few tips for when extermination is a necessity.

Identify Your Frog (important)

While most frogs aren’t on a watch list, several species are protected or endangered. Be sure to identify the frog you want to get rid of and check local ordinances before attempting an extermination.

Drying

Tadpoles need water to survive. You can remove them from your pond with a standard aquarium net. Lay them on the sidewalk and they will dry out and die. Young tadpoles can be buried to suffocate them, as their lungs have not yet developed.

Freezing

This is by far the most humane way to kill a frog. You’ll need to catch the frog first, but once you do, place it into a tupperware with air holes poked into it. Put this in your fridge overnight. As they are cold-blooded, this will put them into a state of hibernation. Transfer the container to your freezer and leave it there for 24 hours. The cold will kill the frog without them ever being aware of what’s happening.

Mousetraps

One of our least favorite inventions, the common mousetrap is undoubtedly effective against all manner of unsuspecting prey. You can lay these out to snap a frog’s neck and possibly kill other small prey as well. Note, however, that these devices make for a brutal way to die. They can also seriously injure pets or small children. As a result, this method should always be used as a last resort.

Home Remedies

Sometimes the old ways are the best ways, and we’re really big fans of household remedies. The following are a few solutions that use common household products for a more eco- (and wallet) friendly solution.

Does Salt Kill Frogs?

This is a bit of an old wives’ tale and a potentially nasty one at that. Salt will cause discomfort to frogs and may convince them to go elsewhere, but it won’t kill them. Unfortunately, it WILL kill nearby plants and taint the soil, so we suggest saving salt for the table.

A much better alternative is to take your used coffee grounds and sprinkle those instead. This natural frog repellent can cause the same discomfort, but has valuable nitrates that will enrich the soil and feed your plants. Just be careful not to put too much near acidic-sensitive plants.

Salad Dressing as Repellent

Vinegar and lemon juice are both excellent organic repellents that work against a wide range of pests, including frogs. Simply mix equal parts of either with water and put in a spray bottle to squirt wherever frogs are known to congregate. The acids will leave frogs hopping, but can also damage sensitive plants, so be careful where you spray it.

How to Keep Frogs Away

There are two key ways to keep frogs off your property once you’ve gotten rid of the current invaders. These methods are very simple and will also help protect your yard from a number of other pests. Note that these methods can also help against a number of other pests.

How to Keep Frogs Out of a Pool

frogs in a pool

While they prefer swampy areas, your swimming pool can become very attractive when the conditions are right. This is especially true if the pool isn’t in use, as the water has a chance to stagnate or a drained pool collects rainwater.

Keeping the pool covered and drained when not in use are the biggest ways to keep the pool frog (and insect) free. Having a circulation pump will also help during pool season, as the moving water will deter insects looking for a place to lay their eggs.

Of course, sometimes covering the pool isn’t an option, especially when summer’s at its hottest. That’s why using a product such as the popular FrogLog can become important.

While still a new product, Critter Clear is another anti-drowning tool that shows a lot of promise and seems to work great for a wider range of critters than the aforementioned FrogLog. Where it differs from the competition is that it also prevents frogs and other critters from being sucked into the skimmer completely.

These products are designed to give frogs and similar critters a way out of the water before they drown (remember, chlorine can have nasty effects on frogs, who are normally great swimmers).

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How to Keep Frogs Out of Your Yard

Once you’ve gotten rid of any frogs infesting the yard, it’s easy to keep them from your yard or garden. Keeping the grass short and the area free of debris is a great way to discourage a variety of pests, including frogs.

Snake repellent or a chicken wire fence (be sure to extend it a foot or so underground!) can both provide an effective barrier. Finally, introducing natural predators such as cats (be sure the frogs are non-poisonous!), hawks, and owls.

Comments

  1. My pool is not working right now so it’s got lots of loud frogs screaming their lungs out every night. I just can’t take it anymore. Nothing gets rid of them , pine sol, bleach, vinegar, moth balls, septic cleaner, I have tried everything short of chlorine which is so expensive since the pool is more like a pond. 🙁 help!!!!

    • That sounds like a pretty extreme case, all right. The fact that they’re resisting chemicals such as bleach means chlorine probably won’t work either.

      The best thing you can do at this point outside of opening a restaurant selling frog legs is to drain the pool out. You can buy or rent a water pump to aid in this process, making sure any water supply to the pool is shut off. Once drained, it will be much easier to deal with the infestation.

      Live traps and nets can both do wonders, allowing you to remove most of the frogs and get a light workout in at the same time. Remember that insects and moisture are the two biggest attraction for frogs, so a dry pool will mean less chance of the frogs returning once removed. You’ll want to invest in a pool cover to prevent insects from breeding in the pool and try to keep it drained during the winter months.

      Another, more extreme method is to get a professional to electrify the pool. DO NOT do this yourself! Sending a charge through the pool can kill everything living in it, but is also a very dangerous trick. Note that an exterminator won’t use this method if they suspect any of the frogs are on the protected or endangered lists, so try to identify your intruders before calling around so you’ll get the best options and price estimates.

  2. what about bullfrogs? they are HUGE and have no natural predators; plus they eat the good guys! – tree frogs, salamanders, garter snakes, ETC. and their noise is deafening. would a recirculating pump deter them from coming back to a pond, once they’ve set up residence?

    • Bullfrogs and their smaller kin set up shop in your pool or pond because of bugs. Having a recirculation pump or something else (decorative water mills, waterfalls, etc.) that keeps the water moving will make these bodies of water inhospitable to bugs. Bullfrogs (like people) aren’t fond of sitting down at an empty table and will thus be far less likely to return to your pond.

  3. Every spring those pesty tree frogs help themselves to my above ground pool. They’ve laid eggs in a clear sac twice now. I tired of cleaning my pool behind them and the nighttime noise is unbearable. HELP HELP!

    • The good thing about an above ground pool is that you can get a cover for it. Try keeping the pool covered when not in use. This will not only keep frogs (and bugs) away from the water, but it can also reduce how often you’ll need to clean debris from the pool. The lack of a breeding area should also help reduce the number of frogs, especially if you start using deterrents around the yard.

  4. I catch the frogs with a leaf catcher net when they sit around my pool at night then I place them in a trash can and put a lid on it this kills them and then I can sleep again. Save your money the frogs become immune to bleach, moth balls, coffee grounds, etc.

    • Hi! We have a new home of 5 months, and we put in a Koi pond. No problem at all until this past week. All of a sudden this tiny tree frog showed up croaking at the moon every night. Now there’s a second one and they’re croaking almost in stereo now. They are at the pond right outside not far from the patio and our bedroom window. We have two water filters, a fountain in the center, and a small water fall, so there’s water moving constantly. It’s about 1,000 gallons, so not a huge pond at all. There’s a few bugs here and there, of course, but no infestation. Just a normal backyard, or seemed so. We saw the little throat bubble on one, so is that the male? Could he be calling a mate? Help! We won’t harm the frogs, but how do we deter them? I’m afraid more will be joining our pair soon. Thank you.

      • Other than making sure any “cover” for the frogs is cleared out around the pond (tall grass, weeds, etc.), it sounds like you’re doing everything right. Since it’s only a couple of them, catching them with a small net and relocating is probably the best option. Yes, he could very well be calling a mate. It may be cute for a while but then becomes annoying, especially if close to a bedroom.

    • In all but the most extreme cases, yes. Frogs want still water because bugs breed in it, and the chemicals will make it a poor spot to breed.

  5. I have no pool or ponds. No shrubbery around house. 1 acre fenced for dogs that eat inside. I use vinegar 2 KILL them. How do I keep them of my house & porches. Salt water bucket with drop light, no help. Mouse glue trips out of question. Have researched 3 years with no answers. Going to town tomorrow to get coffee grounds this will be my last try. We are in a 8 inch deficit for rain fall. I am almost ready to throw in towel. Any other home grown suggestions out there

    • There must be a source of water somewhere nearby for them to keep appearing like that, which would explain why your attempts are meeting with limited success. You may need to hire an exterminator to locate their water source and breeding ground before you can get rid of them permanently.

  6. We put in a pool last summer. And the frogs drive us crazy, especially after a large train, we live in a new subdivision called Arbor Creek. And consequently when it rains the creek is behind our house so there are many amphibians that live back in those woods. We have fenced in, but after a rain the frogs just come in. Don’t know how to keep them out of my yard. I fished out 20 last night, at least half a dozen that were mating (coupled on top of each other). Would like to know what I can put around the perimeter of my fence to prevent them from getting in.

    • Living close to nature has its perks, but also some major drawbacks. A fence is a good tactic, but it will need to be extra secure to keep frogs from squeezing past. A finely meshed fence will help prevent small frogs from getting in, so line as you extend the fence at least six inches underground. This also has the benefit of repelling many burrowing critters. Be sure the fence covers you entire perimeter, or they may simply go around it.

      You can also get a pool cover and work to attract more natural predators into the area to help encourage frogs and other amphibians to hang out elsewhere.

  7. My neighbor put in a running water fountain and it has attracted horrible bull frogs. We can’t even sit on our new covered patio. Sounds like the running water is t deterring them. Any thought?

    • My guess is that the fountain has been determined to be the best source of water in the vicinity. Ask the neighbor to treat the water with chemicals and set some live traps. Bull frogs are more resilient than their smaller kin, so it may require a team effort to fully eliminate the fountain infestation.

  8. Without knowing how to tell time, my dogs know exactly what time the frogs come out.,,, every evening. I have to go out and supervise the dogs. They want to play with the frogs and end up with a why frothy mouth. This gets old.

  9. My pool is chlorinated and runs 8 hours a day. The frogs lay their eggs at night and hide during the day. I have to brush and skim the eggs away each morning.
    I like the idea of snake repellent as I have several harmless black snakes in my garden around the pool but wont getting rid of the snakes also eliminate a natural predator?
    The frogs don’t seem to mind the chlorinated running water.
    Should I use snake repellent?

    • Unfortunately, even chlorinated water sometimes doesn’t deter frogs. Do you have a pool cover you can use at night? You could always try the repellent. It’s not permanent method so if it’s not giving you the results you need, it will fade away over time. Some say sprinkling used coffee grounds around an area also acts as a frog deterrent.

  10. We’ve have a few bulfrogs in the yard and Coffee Grounds worked for a good month…. then became non-effective. I’m a bit freaked out now as there are—- what’s seems to be—— HUNDREDS of tiny tiny baby frogs hanging out in the yard at night! Like you can’t barely see them until you’re right up on them and they alll start jumping away. I need them gone NOT because of the noise (they don’t make any… I don’t know why kind they are but I’ve never heard them…) rather, my concern is for the safety of my dog Laela! She’s a Maltese/Yorkie mix … only 11lbs., and I cant let her out at night anymore because of these damn things! They’re VERY poisonous :-(.
    I don’t want to kill them…. but I need them gone. Help!

    • If these weren’t a poisonous species, I’d say trapping would be a good option. However, since you’ve identified them as a poisonous species, the sheer number means removal should be done quickly before they find a way into your home. This would be one of those times when hiring a professional is the best choice, as they can get rid of the frogs and help you set up better repellent options to keep them away.

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