I love this write up, so with full credit to the auther with Link!
(The dog may be “man’s best friend” . . .but if that person is a gardener, his or her most treasured ally is likely to be the humble toad! Warty-skinned, dumpy, and lethargic, the jewel-eyed toad is a prodigious consumer of just about anything that moves and will fit in its mouth. Although most of its prey falls into the category we label “pests” (toads love cutworms!), some of the toad’s diet does consist of such beneficial creatures as bees, ladybugs, and lacewings. This is unfortunate, but it’s surely forgivable for a little animal that can snap up nearly 100 insects every single night . . . a total of nearly 10,000 bugs over a three month growing season! Beetles of every description, caterpillars, flies, larvae, moths, and wireworms are all fair game for this insectivore. (It likes slugs and snails, too.) The amount that an individual toad may consume in a single feeding is astonishing. One toad was observed to eat 86 houseflies . . . another ate 65 gypsy moth larvae . . . while still another swallowed 37 adult tent caterpillars!
It’s pretty obvious, then, that a biological bug control of such talent and efficiency should not be ignored. Indeed, the savvy modern gardener would do well to cultivate this little amphibian’s acquaintance.)
While the battle with wild parsnip has me looking for chemical help for the first time in 11 years, it will not be coming anywhere near my gardens, pasture and so forth but I have since year 2 on the farm seen a few toads but it was not until we dug our own mini ponds and finished building the fences with the buffer zones that the toads population shot up..
Now each year our wee pond and our pig dug slews are teaming with hundreds of toad tadpoles, sometimes we have to rescue them and create a baby horse trough nursery on dry springs but most springs, they do it all just fine on their own, it helps that we have dug the pond deeper and deeper over the years.
They start out so tiny they could sit on the tip of a pencil and then they grow and grow until they become the big ones like this grumpy fellow that I caught yesterday, right now, I know I have at least a dozen of the big guys in the different gardens and most likely at least a hundred of the wee ones that I do not see movement when they get out of my way 🙂
With the heat coming, I will making sure to check my toad house areas, make sure to keep their drinking area filled with a bit of water.
At a hundred bugs a night and at thousands per summer, o yes, my toads are welcome.. but even more then that.. they tell me that my ecosystem is in balance in many way!
Do you have toads in your garden, do you have a toad house, do you keep a little toad water pan for them.