Papamoa frog invasion

Green and Golden Bell Frogs have surfaced in Papamoa and Te Puke. Photo: Melanie Wilton.

Over the past few week, Papamoa residents have been receiving late night visitors and hearing what sounds like dirt bikes roaring around a small track at night. Others thought it could be power tools.

On investigating, the culprits were found to be tiny, green, hopping and clinging to windows and ranch slider doors.

It’s that time of the year again, when Papamoa and Te Puke residents rediscover the joy of frogs, meaning they live in a healthy environment.

 

Young frogs have been hopping from the Papamoa waterways to local gardens in search of an insect smorgasbord. Frogs are natural insect killers, eating up mosquito larvae, flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, wasps, ants, worms and cabbage white butterflies.

 

Night-time insects are attracted to outside and internal house lights, which in turn attract the frogs to feast on the insects.

 

The Papamoa frogs are the Green and Golden Bell Frog, formerly known as Litoria aurea and recently changed to Ranoidea aurea. They were originally introduced from Australia in around 1875 by the acclimatisation societies. Frogs are disappearing around the world, and the Green and Golden Bell frog in Australia is classified as “vulnerable” by the IUCN and is a threatened species. They are not, however, an endangered species in New Zealand.

 

A single female frog can lay between 3000-10,000 eggs, most of which will die as they are eaten by dragonfly and damselfly larvae, kingfishers, herons and shags. The young frogs appearing now were probably laid as eggs around two-to-three months ago.

Frogs are important indicators of a healthy environment. If they start to decline in numbers then it means something is wrong with the environment which if left unabated may have direct consequences on human health. So, having frogs in a neighbourhood is a really positive sign.

If frogs come inside a house then they can be simply released into the garden. They will happily live for a couple of years away from water in a garden conducting their natural service of pest control. Then they will migrate one early summer to a water body and breed.

Tadpoles are good for the waterways too, as they eat bacteria, algae and detritus – so they keep the waterways clean.

For those who don’t want frogs, they should probably not use outside lights, make sure the windows and the doors are shut and put a draught excluder under the door to stop them coming in.

There has been an increase in the number frogs in Papamoa over the last couple of years because of the hot, wet weather and because there are plenty of garden ponds and pools in the area.

Papamoa’s ‘plague’ should only last a week or so, until all the young frogs have moved on to a more desirable habitat.

So, should you find a frog climbing your ranch slider please release it gently into your garden.

 

 

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