Containing cane toads takes community help, so after the success of last year’s community surveillance event, the Peri-urban Environmental Biosecurity Network (PEBN) will host the ‘Toad at the Hive’ blitz again this February.
Backyard beekeepers and community members in peri-urban areas of the Hunter, Greater Sydney, South-East, and North Coast regions are asked to keep a look out for cane toads and report their findings. Cane toads love to eat bees, so beekeepers can assist by looking out for them around backyard hives.
When is the event?
The Toad at the Hive observation event will run throughout the month of February, 2022.
In the summer months when cane toads are more active and the nights are warm, bees cluster at the front of hives for ventilation. At night they will sit at the entrance of the hives and feast on bees.
How to participate
- Register at https://forms.office.com/r/cBFQ1tzgMJ
- Download the free FeralScan app or report online at dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/sighting.
- Observe your hives around 9.30pm or later as this is when toads search for food. Use a torch (a red beam is best as bees may fly at white light). Wear your protective gear if you are more comfortable.
- Report it! If you see a toad, it is important NOT to kill it as it may be a native toad or frog. Take a photo and use the FeralScan app or NSW DPI online form to report your sighting.
You don’t need to have beehives to get involved! You can look in your own backyard, open areas, or local waterways (freshwater).
Even if you don’t find any toads, we want to know!
How to report
If you prefer not to use an app you can report online at dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/sighting or call the Invasive Species Unit on 1800 680 244. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tips and resources
- Where to look: Hives are particularly vulnerable if located near fresh water or in yards where toads can shelter during the day. As night encroaches, they move out from their sheltered position to find food – this may also be the leftovers at the dog or cat bowl!
- When to look: After dark is best as toads are more active at night. While checking hives be cautious with the torchlight as bees will sometimes fly at the light and may sting.
- How many nights should you observe: The time you can commit is up to you, just a night here or there or several nights throughout the month if you wish.
- Cane toad or native frog? Learn about the differences between native Australian frogs and cane toads at all life-stages to help you to make a positive ID when you are out toad-busting.
- What does a cane toad look like? Download the Cane toad Factsheet.
- Have you heard a cane toad calling? Listen below
(Cane toad call courtesy Nature Sound)
Watch this video on how to catch and report a suspect toad via the FeralScan app.
Cane toads can cause devastating impacts on our communities, native wildlife and ecosystems due to their ability to spread to new areas, use limited natural resources and to poison animals that try to eat them.
Cane toads are poisonous internally and externally and have no natural enemies and are dangerous to native animals and our domestic pets. By taking part in this community surveillance activity, you are helping to protect the environment from the impact of exotic pests.
Your participation will help in the management of toad populations to lessen the impacts they cause. The data collected from reporting will help in identifying the presence or absence of cane toads in certain areas. The more people out looking the better chance of finding them quickly before they can establish.
For a summary on how to participate in this blitz download the Toad at the Hive brochure.
The ‘Toad at the Hive’ observation event is a collaboration between NSW DPI, Local Land Services ‘Every Bit Counts’ program and recreational beekeeper associations.
- The cane toad origin and management in NSW – NSW DPI website https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/vertebrate-pests/nia/key-new-incursions-species/new-incursions/cane-toad
- What is ToadScan and recording toad activity: https://www.feralscan.org.au/toadscan/default.aspx
- Image on banner: Cane toads attacking bees at hive (Bufo marinus) Queensland, Australia. Credit-©-Mark-Payne-Gill-naturepl.com