When news about the Zika virus spread, there was a staggering demand for pet frogs everywhere. And it’s not surprising since these amphibians are known to eat a variety of insects. But do frogs eat mosquitoes? Are these insects part of its diet? And if it is, would it affect the mosquito’s growing population in your house?
Frogs do eat mosquitoes, but not in a grand scale
Since frogs are carnivores, they have a healthy appetite for small to medium sized insects and other animals. The insects that they usually eat are flies, grasshoppers, dragonflies, moths and of course, mosquitoes.
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But if you’re thinking of keeping frogs to get rid of the mosquitoes in your property, your plan might backfire. Going back to what frogs eat, you can see that they have way too many options to just feed on one type of insect alone. Additionally, an article from the Australian Museum even says that mosquitoes only cover less than 1% of the diet of more than 2,000 frogs. So it’s less likely that these amphibians can even put a dent on a massive mosquito population.
Another unfortunate downside to using frogs is that they also prey on beneficial mosquito-eating animals like dragonflies, small birds and fish. You’re better off relying on predatory bugs instead of these amphibians.
Tadpoles have better luck getting rid of mosquitoes
Yes, there are better treatments out there. But if you really want to use frogs for your pest problems, you should focus on their less developed versions.
Tadpoles are better mosquito killers. Firstly, even though most tadpoles have an exclusive diet of algae and plants, a study from Sri Lanka found that these predeveloped frogs do have the capacity to feast on mosquito larvae.
However, you have to use specific tadpoles that can gorge on insects most of the time. Species like the Polypedates cruciger and the Ramanella and Hoplobatrachus genera have predatory young that can feed on entire groups of larvae. You can also raise Spadefoot toads. Their tadpoles have been specifically documented to actually vacuum the water for the same food source.
Australian Museum’s article further talks about healthy tadpole populations in an area. Even though adult frogs won’t be able to keep mosquito numbers down, their tadpoles can do it if they can reach thousands for every hectare. That might mean keeping about 10 of them for every square meter. So if you get the numbers right, you could get good results.
Another reason why tadpoles are great is because of food competition. With tadpoles, mosquito larvae will have a tough competitor for algae and bacteria. And since they're tinnier with less speed and mobility, tadpoles can steal food away and potentially starve them out.
So do frogs eat mosquitoes? If there’s anything that you’ve learned today, it’s that frogs eat a plethora of insects, and mosquitoes are definitely one of them. However, don’t let this fact fool you. The process of using tadpoles and frogs is slow, and there are possibilities that you might not get the results that you want from this method. You’re better off with mosquito remedies and treatments that actually work.