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  Refugia Lures

Bamboo, at least - to 1-inch inner diameter, can be used for refugia lures (provides retreat and nesting site) for coqui frogs. Cut the bamboo between nodes (8-10 inches in length), to make a cylinder with one open end. Drill a 1-inch hole along the side, about 4 inches from the closed end (Fig. 1). The hole will serve as an entrance/exit for the frog. Use black plastic to partially cover the open end of the bamboo cylinder to provide some protection for the frogs seeking refuge while allowing rain to collect in the bamboo, making it more attractive to the frog. The lures should be attached 3 to 5 ft above the ground on trees or stakes in infested areas (where frogs are calling). According to Dr Larry Woolbright, an expert with coqui frogs, these lures can be preferred refuge sites or homes for the frogs.

Figure 1. Bamboo refugia

(note that the drilled entrance hole is unobstructed and the frogs can freely come and go)


PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipe, to 1-inch diameter, can also be used to make refugia lures for coqui frogs. Field trials indicate that the frogs prefer PVC to bamboo. A Tee-joint at the top of a straight piece (about 8 inches long) makes it even more attractive to the frogs (Fig. 2). As with the bamboo lures, affix the PVC lure about 3 to 5 ft above the ground. The lures are more effective after weathering by exposure to the sun and rain to dissipate the PVC odor. Lure efficiency in tests at Lava Tree State Monument park has been 28 to 30%.


Figure 2. PVC pipe refugia

(note that all three openings in the PVC pipe lures are unobstructed and the frogs can freely come and go)


Although the frogs can freely come and go from the lures, they rarely try to escape, especially when tending a clutch of eggs, and can be easily captured. These are meant to LURE the frogs into using either the bamboo or PVC shelter instead of plants, trees or rock walls to lay their eggs (like a birdhouse).  The frogs are not "trapped", so check the lures during the day at least every 2 weeks (eggs hatch in 14 days) (Fig. 3); remove any adults that have taken up residence, as well as any eggs you find, into a plastic bag or similar container and apply any one of the following treatments: 1) fill the container with hot, soapy water (at least 113 degrees F for 3 min.), 2) freeze for at least 3 hours, or 3) thoroughly spray eggs and adults with 16% citric acid solution (1.3 lb citric acid per 1 gallon of water, or use premixed solutions available in garden shops). Make sure the frogs are dead before disposal to avoid accidentally infesting dump sites.


Figure 3. PVC refugia with brooding adult male and eggs

By destroying the egg clutch as well as the adult frog, you will be reducing the population of coqui frogs in the area. This method is suitable for situations where other methods of control are not feasible (citric acid spray, clearing vegetation and other habitat modification) but will not eliminate an established population of coqui frogs. In a densely vegetated area, there are ample natural nesting sites, so lures may not be as appealing to the coqui frogs.  With a light infestation (less than 10), the frogs may not want to travel far to locate the nearest PVC or bamboo lure.



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