Many of us imagine chipmunks as adorable little creatures with overflowing cheek pouches and big black eyes. However, these rodents do severe damage to our lawns and gardens, even more so when in large numbers and left unchecked. Knowing how to get rid of chipmunks becomes necessary for keeping your plants happy and healthy.
It is just as crucial to ensure that those removal strategies are as humane as they are useful.The reason why getting rid of chipmunks is so necessary revolves around their burrowing habits. Even though structural damage is uncommon, extreme cases show issues from digging beneath patios and decks.
The most frequent problem, however, comes from these cute little critters digging up flower beds in an attempt to store and bury their haul of nuts and fruits. The last thing anyone wants after spending countless hours cultivating the perfect garden is to have it ripped apart and strewn across the ground.
Using harsh chemicals and snap traps are far from appealing. Luckily, you have many different ways to get rid of chipmunks naturally that are just as easy to set up.
- Getting Rid of Chipmunks Humanely
- Prevent Chipmunk Damage with Barriers
- Place Mothballs as Critter Repellent
- More Ways to Get Rid of Chipmunks Naturally
- Use Ultrasonic Repellers to Shoo Away Pests
- Create a Trap with Buckets
- Remove Wood Piles to Deter Critters
- Try an Epsom Salt Repellent
- How to Get Rid of Chipmunks with Ammonia
- Add Thiram to Bulbs to Deter Creatures
- Removing Chipmunks in Your Yard
- Relocate Chipmunks Using Live Traps
- How to Get Rid of Chipmunks with Scents
- Best Bait for Getting Rid of Chipmunks
- Keep Pet and Bird Food Away
- Use Hair Clippings to Frighten Chipmunks
- More Tips for How to Get Rid of Chipmunks
Getting Rid of Chipmunks Humanely
In North America, there are approximately 25 different species of chipmunks. The variations consist of hair color, size, and other notable physical characteristics. What all chipmunks seem to agree on are their diets, which consist mostly of fruits, seeds, nuts, and flower bulbs. Below is a list of some of the different types of chipmunks you may encounter.
Even though chipmunks have certain foods they gravitate more toward, they are not particularly picky creatures. As omnivores, they sustain themselves off of vegetation like grass shoots and fruits but also require protein from food sources like insects and bird eggs.
This necessity leads to a wide array of foods that are far from off-limits to these literal home wreckers and provides insight into the many steps to take when deterring them.
Prevent Chipmunk Damage with Barriers
One of the simplest ways to deter chipmunks is by setting up a barrier to keep them out. Regular fences along the perimeter of your property do little to dissuade chipmunks since they quickly burrow beneath the earth to invade your lawn. The best way to keep these pests out of your yard is to use a wire mesh fence.
This process also blocks out other burrowing pests like voles. The mesh or hardware cloth you select must have no more than ¼ inch in between the spaces.
Any larger and the chipmunks either get caught in the gaps or easily slip through to your garden. Bury the fence at least eight inches deep into the soil as well, so that the chipmunk cannot dig underneath the fence to get to where it wants to go.
Place Mothballs as Critter Repellent
Another popular deterrent for chipmunk activity is using mothballs. These little deodorizers contain a chemical pesticide that typically repels moth larvae and keeps them from damaging clothing.
Just as mothballs keep away unwanted insects, the strong scent of naphthalene, a primary ingredient in mothballs, drives away chipmunks. To use this approach, place these objects in strategic locations throughout the garden.
They also work when trying to expel these tiny creatures from attics and cellars by placing them at known entry points. If you have small children or pets, however, take caution not to leave them anywhere they might easily access them, even out in the yard.
More Ways to Get Rid of Chipmunks Naturally
Finding organic ways to repel these small animals without harming them is just one way to live harmoniously with nature. A great way to do this requires changing up the specimens in your garden, at least to some extent. Those bright and colorful dandelions may look stunning against the greenery, but they are magnets for chipmunks.
These plants are some examples of plants and flowers chipmunks tend to shy away from in gardens. Several factors contribute to their loathing of individual plants over another, with taste, smell, and toxicity is the most prominent.
While these plants tend to be much more resistant to chipmunks, though you may occasionally run into one rogue rodent who doesn’t mind a challenge. Take care when planting flowers like foxglove, if you have pets, small children, or other animals that wander into your yard. These types of plants are not only poisonous to little creatures but most animals.
Use Ultrasonic Repellers to Shoo Away Pests
If planting vegetation chipmunks hate doesn’t do the trick, then trying another sensory technique might help. Rather than appealing to the taste and smell of the creatures, or repelling them, ultrasonic devices use sound to turn animals away.
These electronic creations transmit a signal beyond the range of human hearing that other creatures like rodents can’t stand. This solution does much more than irritate the chipmunk into finding a new home.
It disrupts their ability to communicate with one another, making them more susceptible to predators. As a result, the small pests seek out a new domain to call home. Some of these handy devices even come with motion sensors and can be found online or in your local hardware store.
Create a Trap with Buckets
Making your very own chipmunk and rat trap is simpler than you think and requires supplies you may already have on hand. The key is to lure them where they cannot jump out of and then release them to another location. For this step, a regular bucket does the trick.
Add seeds or another form of bait to the bottom of a large bucket. Make sure the size is large enough to prevent the chipmunk from jumping over the sides but isn’t so deep that it’ll hurt it when it falls in either.
Place oil along the inside walls of the bucket to make it even more difficult for the animal to escape. Finally, lean a plank of wood against the container to allow the chipmunk access to the bait. Check the trap periodically to release the animal as quickly as possible.
Remove Wood Piles to Deter Critters
If you live in heavily wooded areas, it’s only natural to find all manner of creatures in your yard. However, some situations prompt these same animals to enter your property much more easily than others, especially if you give them too many hiding spaces to work with in the first place.
One thing homeowners do is leave wood piles in the yard as temperatures start to drop. This cluster of logs, as well as old stumps, is the perfect shelter for chipmunks to burrow under, even more so as they prepare for long winter hibernation.
Moving these wood piles away from home and into areas like cellars, garages, or storage sheds, is one way to limit the rise in critter populations. Storing them in a plastic sealable bin is even better, as doing so keeps them dry. This practice also deters other pests like spiders and helps to get rid of field mice seeking shelter, as well.
Try an Epsom Salt Repellent
Making chipmunk repellents from common household ingredients is another way to prevent these pesky creatures from disturbing your yard. One recipe calls for Lysol, which pushes the chipmunks away with its smell, and Epsom salts that nourish the soil.
Mix these ingredients in a large bucket of water and transfer to a spray bottle. Spray the area surrounding your plants, but do not spray them directly. Apply this chipmunk control repellent around the borders of gardens and patios to keep pests out.
How to Get Rid of Chipmunks with Ammonia
Chipmunks are naturally skittish. I mean, who wouldn’t be when you’re at the bottom of the food chain?
This fear works to your advantage when trying to deter chipmunks from the foundation of your home by using ammonia.Ammonia simulates urine smell for most animals, which signals predator to the tiny chipmunk trying to find a safe space to rest his head.
By leaving out towels soaked in ammonia, this frightens the creature into thinking there is a predator nearby and tells him to run while he still can. Don’t forget to swap these out and clean up old towels every few days, though.
Add Thiram to Bulbs to Deter Creatures
Conventional pest control uses an ingredient known as thiram in their repellents. This agent does not affect birds, which means you won’t have to sacrifice seeing these beautiful creatures to keep smaller rodents from traipsing around in your garden, though you should only apply it to plants and flowers that you don’t intend to eat.
Spray the thiram over plant bulbs, their stems, and bark. Follow this pest control procedure at least once a week, or whenever it rains, to keep the components of the repellent working. Some products that use this repellent include Ziram and Daconil.
Removing Chipmunks in Your Yard
Another way to handle your chipmunk problem is by using a popular spice from your pantry. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a hot and spicy ingredient that chipmunks hate to smell and taste. It’s also the perfect way to keep squirrels out of plants and gardens.
To make this recipe, bring the water to a boil, then stir in the cayenne pepper. Add the spicy mixture to a spray bottle and shake well. Apply the solution to areas where chipmunks frequent, spraying once every two weeks to keep them away for good.
Relocate Chipmunks Using Live Traps
Capturing these little guys is sometimes the only resolution for getting rid of them. Setting up a live trap that is humane and allows you to release them in a separate location is ideal. However, check with local laws in your areas about relocating them, since every state has different restrictions.
Use gloves when preparing the traps so that your scent does not scare the animal away from the area.When setting up your chipmunk trap, it’s essential to start with more than one.
Since it’s likely you’re dealing with numerous chipmunks at once, as they tend to live in small families, you’ll want to have a few cages set up for each of them. Place these traps near the entrance of chipmunk burrows with bait that entices them into the cage. Check these often to ensure the trapped animal is released back into the wild in a timely fashion.
How to Get Rid of Chipmunks with Scents
One way to keep these pesky creatures out of your garden is by adding fragrances they can’t stand. Overpowering scents like peppermint disrupt the chipmunk’s sense of smell, which they use for two fundamental reasons.
These small rodents require their olfactory senses to scope out the area for predators to ensure their safety before scavenging for food. The second reason involves finding the food itself, which is too easily obstructed by strong odors.
There are a few different ways to incorporate this technique into your chipmunk removal regimen. One option is to grow some of the plants that chipmunks despise in the same garden as your ornamental flowers.
Plants like mint and garlic make lovely ground cover plants for taller shrubs and floral pieces. Adding a few drops of essential oils around the area also works well to keep out unwanted pests.
Best Bait for Getting Rid of Chipmunks
If you’re trying a live trap and still finding it challenging to capture the tiny creatures, try different types of bait to entice your quarry. Though chipmunks may not be picky eaters, they do prefer some treats over others. Using these increases the effectiveness of your trap, whether utilizing a bucket method or professional device.
Like people, all chipmunks have a unique taste that rarely falls into one single category. When baiting a trap, it’s crucial to try different bait to determine which one works best. Though the top two suggestions are typically peanut butter and sunflower seeds, even fruit and bird seed have been used to attract chipmunks.
Keep Pet and Bird Food Away
One big draw for chipmunks is having a food source readily available for them. Because they consume a wide variety of items in their diet, nothing is safe when it comes to leaving out bowls and feeders. If you leave your pet food outdoors, this attracts chipmunks looking for a dose of protein, not to mention a bounty of other unwanted pests.
Use a sealable food storage container when the food is not being eaten and have a scheduled time to feed pets outdoors instead of giving them free rein throughout the day. After a certain amount of time, remove the bowl to limit the emergence of other animals looking for an easy meal.
Another potential source of nutrients for chipmunks comes from bird feeders. Choosing one that is squirrel-proof generally does the trick, since they use wires and poles that are difficult for little paws to walk along. When finding the perfect location for your feeder, place it at least seven feet away from any areas where chipmunks might be able to climb down or jump onto the container.
Use Hair Clippings to Frighten Chipmunks
We admit this sounds a little strange, yet the successes with this plan of attack speak for themselves. Chipmunks tend to stay away from humans out of fear, so the very scent of one drives them away. Using old hair clippings, whether from home or after a trip to your barber, is an excellent way to leave behind your scent without continually remaining in the area.
Sprinkle a little bit of the pieces around your yard or garden, and leave them there. Beyond the benefits of keeping away pests, this tactic also offers rewards for your soil. Hair contains nitrogen, which is a chemical commonly found in fertilizers to help plants develop and grow.
More Tips for How to Get Rid of Chipmunks
All these tips work wonderfully when you know for sure you have a chipmunk problem. However, identifying whether these garden issues stem from chipmunks or another creature increases your success rate. These last few tips help you pinpoint the signs and advise on when is the best time to call in a professional.
How do I identify signs of an infestation?
Because chipmunks tend to shy away from humans, you may not ever see one in your yard, even if you do have a few wreaking havoc on your property. Without seeing these creatures, evidence of their presence remains as long as you know what signs to look for.
The most common signals of chipmunks are holes peppered throughout your lawn.Other indications of these animals overtaking your property include slight structural damage to patios or problems around the home’s foundation.
You may also notice piles of shelled seeds at the base of bird feeders or dug up plants chipmunks have harvested for food. Even tiny little footprints might remain in their wake, with four fingers on the front paws and five on the back.
When should I call in a professional?
While many of us prefer to handle these problems on our own, and no one likes getting an exterminator involved, sometimes calling in a professional is the only way to go. This is increasingly true when the chipmunks enter your home or cause serious issues in the foundation.
If populations increase to the point of destroying property, then calling for help from a professional is likely your only option. Likewise, if the creatures enter your home, it sparks any number of health concerns. Chipmunks potentially carry fleas, which in turn transmit viruses like Lyme’s disease.
Similar to squirrels, they may also be carriers of rodent-borne illnesses and rabies. If they make their way inside, and you cannot handle the problem after using the above methods, call an exterminator as soon as possible.
We hope you enjoyed learning everything there is to know about getting rid of chipmunks. Whether it comes down to expelling these adorable, yet pesky creatures from your yard altogether, or implementing a few preventative measures, these strategies help you achieve a pest-free lawn in no time.
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