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Tree Frogs Causing Problems In Cumberland County

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EASTOVER, N.C. (AP) — Desperate times call for desperate measures.

And these are desperate times in Cumberland County, where tree frogs are eating, croaking, mating and soiling homes in record numbers.

``We use a wet-and-dry vacuum and suck them and release them. I've really decimated my population here quite a bit,'' said Lynn Sippel, who has lived in Eastover since 1981.

The frogs appeared stunned but otherwise unhurt after being slurped into the vacuum cleaner. Sippel lets them go in woods near Interstate 95, away from people's homes.

That appears to be the only solution that residents have found.

Nancy Anderson, an agent with the Cumberland County Cooperative Extension Service, said she has received many complaints about frogs this summer. But she has little to suggest. She consulted other agents and could not find a treatment.

``There's nothing you can do,'' she said. ``Keep them around because they're going to be eating a lot of the mosquitoes, and with all this rain we're going to probably have more mosquitoes.''

It wasn't until last year's excessive rain that the frogs came out en masse, Sippel said.

By day, the frogs hide under shutters and in the vinyl siding of people's homes. They come out shortly after sunset.

Ronnie Hogue of the Aqua-Rama pet shop said he pulled 36 frogs off one house in 10 minutes on Saturday night. The captured frogs were put in terrariums.

``There's a ton of them out there. I mean tons,'' Hogue said. ``It would be no problem to catch two or three hundred in one night just on one house.''

Sippel is experiencing the same problem.

``They were in my siding really bad, and there's frog poop everywhere around here,'' she said. ``They were on my windows. They were in the windows. Even when it gets where you can open the windows they were getting inside.''

Last year, Sippel had to postpone painting her house because every time she and her husband cleaned it, the frogs soiled it again.

At first, Sippel thought the frogs were cute. But now she worries that they are damaging the walls of her recently built sunroom.

Their croaking gets aggravating, too, said Sharon Palm, one of Sippel's neighbors. Their chorus gets so loud that Gary Sippel, Lynn's husband, could not use his phone outside recently.

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