Many gardeners and homeowners in Florida like the idea that their gardens could become a haven for wildlife, but some species are more welcome than others. Cuban treefrogs are an invasive amphibian species that can cause problems for homeowners in Florida, and it often becomes necessary to take steps to rid homes of these creatures. Read this article to find out why Cuban treefrogs can become a nuisance and learn more about the steps you may need to take to deal with them.
The Cuban treefrog is the largest species of treefrog found in North America. The species is not native to North America and was introduced in Florida from the Caribbean. Although now commonly found in Florida, these treefrogs have turned up on the Gulf Coast and in Jacksonville on the Atlantic Coast.
The frogs are distinctive by the large, round pads they have on each toe and their large bug eyes. Unlike other frogs, they also have bumpy skin on their backs, which more closely resembles a toad. The coloring of these frogs is surprisingly variable. Some Cuban treefrogs are pale tan or green without markings, while others are dark green with a darker pattern on their backs.
Cuban treefrogs are voracious eaters. As such, they represent a significant hazard to native amphibian species. These treefrogs will consume their counterparts' food, and they'll also consume their counterparts, given half a chance As such, native treefrogs and lizards are at risk when the Cuban treefrog is around.
Cuban treefrogs are also noisy. The males have an unusual call that sounds rather like a squeaking door. En masse, these frogs can create a serious noise nuisance for Florida residents, especially at night. Contact with these treefrogs is also unadvisable, as the animals secrete a substance that can cause irritation if you get anywhere near them.
These animals also cause problems in homes and gardens. The frogs' eggs can cause aesthetic problems in ornamental ponds and, of course, will eventually lead to a higher frog population. Adult frogs can get into nesting boxes and clog drains. These frogs will even get into transformers and electrical switches, causing short circuits and problems with the electrical supply in your home.
Dealing with an infestation
You can kill Cuban treefrogs because the species has no protection in the state. In fact, the invasive nature of the species means that it is good for Florida's natural ecosystem to rid the area of these pests. That aside, you must make sure you are dealing with the right species. It is illegal to kill certain species of treefrog in Florida, including the Pines Barren treefrog.
To humanely kill a Cuban treefrog, you must first catch it. Wear gloves to avoid skin irritation, and firmly grasp the amphibian in your hands. You can buy a special ointment called benzocaine, which will humanely euthanize the frog. Apply some ointment to the animal's back, then place the frog in a sealable plastic bag. After 15-20 minutes, the frog will become unconscious. You can then place the bag in the freezer overnight. In the morning, dispose of the dead frog in the bag in your household trash.
Of course, this process takes time and effort, so you may want to hire an exterminator to do the job for you. An exterminator has the experience and equipment to tackle large frog numbers. He or she can also help you prevent these treefrogs from returning to your property. For example, exterminators can use repellents that contain chemicals that the frogs don't like. An exterminator can also use pesticides to control insects in your garden. Without the insects to feed on, Cuban treefrogs may not find your garden so attractive.
There are various other steps you can take to discourage these animals. For example, you should turn off your outdoor lights at night. These lights attract insects, which, in turn, attract frogs. You should also remove pet food from the garden, as frogs will happily eat some types of cat and dog food. An exterminator from a company like Molter Termite and Pest Control can offer you more advice if necessary.