We've got a mini-invasion taking place in my backyard, and my dog Lucy is not the slightest bit pleased about it. She has no idea whatsoever that "Bufo Americanus" is the fancy name for the simple American Toad, a toad that can be found throughout the Midwest. Every night for the past couple of weeks, Lucy goes out on what my wife Amy and I call "toad patrol."

We call it "toad patrol" because that's easier to say than "every night my dog goes out on what my wife Amy and I call oh-my-God-there-are-little-green-chirpy-things-that-hop-all-over-the-place-but-my-humans-won't-let-me-eat-them-and-it's-freaking-me-out-patrol."

Amy Jacobsen, for Townsquare Media
Amy Jacobsen, for Townsquare Media

Seriously, they are everywhere. Or, it's just one toad, capable of shape-shifting and incredible speeds. I don't really know. I'm going with the "lots of them" theory. And, like many people, since I didn't invite them, or pay for them, my first thoughts were on how to get rid of them. It turns out, you shouldn't want to get rid of them.

According to GardeningKnowHow.com:

Attracting toads is the dream of many gardeners. Having toads in the garden is very beneficial as they naturally prey on insects, slugs and snails, up to 10,000 in a single summer. Having a resident toad keeps the pest population down and reduces the need for harsh pesticides or labor intensive natural controls.

However, my dog and the toads might not be the best mix, according to OffTheGridNews.com:

As long as frogs and toads can quickly escape to safety, they can usually coexist safely with household cats and dogs. Pets are a danger to these animals, however, and some toads can be a danger to your pets as well. These toads, such as the common American Toad and invasive Cane Toad, have poisonous glands behind their ears that excrete venom that can be deadly if ingested by inquisitive dogs and cats. For the health and well being of both pets and frogs, it’s best to keep them separated as much as possible.

And, no less an authority than BirdsAndBlooms.com goes back to the insect-removal benefits:

Toads are strictly carnivorous. They feed on beetles, slugs, crickets, flies, ants and other invertebrates. Larger toad species even eat small rodents and snakes. All toads will try to eat anything they can pull into their mouths and swallow. When it comes to natural pest control, you can’t do much better than a healthy toad population on your property.

Plus, as you'll see, toads are fun for the whole family: