Let’s get this straight―chipmunks aren’t a danger to humans. The five-inch long furballs don’t have a single aggressive bone in their body. However, they do tend to cause lots of destruction and chaos when left loose. From chewed wires, uprooted plants, stolen berries to empty bird feeders―chipmunks can make a gardeners life miserable. Plus, their droppings, leftover food, and constant burrowing can make a big mess.
Therefore, if you have a significant population of these guys tearing up your property, it becomes inevitable for you to start finding out ways to get rid of chipmunks. In our experience, the best strategy is to come up with a proper plan. You need to take steps that combine preventative measures and repellents to keep the cute rodents at bay.
So what’s the plan? Here’s what you have to do to get rid of chipmunks:
Phase One: Identification
Are you sure that you’ve got a chipmunk problem?
You don’t want to be the person who chases after non-existent chipmunks. So it’s important for you to identify the infestation before you take the next step.
Here are a few things to examine:
False Identity: It’s easy to get confused between chipmunks and squirrels. So it’s important for you to make sure that the mammal you’re after is a chipmunk. You can do this by looking at their size (chipmunks are smaller) and the brown stripe that covers a chipmunk’s back. (See also Chipmunks vs Ground Squirrels)
The Trail: Chipmunks aren’t the tidiest of creatures. So you’re bound to find a trail of seed shells, footprints, and droppings.
Home Base: These ground-dwellers typically live in complex burrows do you should be able to find quite a few 2-3 inch holes in your yard that serve as various entry into their tunnel network. You’re also going to find their loot of berries and acorns hoarded somewhere.
Once you’ve figured out which rodent is invading your lawn, you should move to the next step.
Phase Two: Prevention
The Humane Society believes that exclusion and prevention are the safest way to get rid of chipmunks. It ensures that neither you nor they get hurt in the process.
Let’s look at how you can make this work:
1. Tidy Up: Chipmunks are fond of gardens and areas which have big rocks and hideaway nooks. That’s because spaces like these ensure that they’ll get food and shelter throughout the year. So the most effective strategy would be to deprive them of these bounties. Here’s what you can do:
- Pick up fallen fruits and seeds from your garden.
- Remove boulders, vines, and overgrown shrubs where the chipmunks may live.
- Place your bird feeders high-off the ground.
- Clear ground and pathways frequently.
2. Fencing: Another strategy is to create a fence around the house and vegetative patches. The right tactics can work as ‘keep out’ signs for the small creatures. These are the best ones we could find:
- Minimize their burrowing habit by placing L-shaped footers near the foundation of your house. You can build them around the patios, porches and retaining walls too.
- Place mesh wires or plastic screens beneath the plants. It’ll stop the chipmunks from uprooting the plants.
- Make a plant-free boundary line made entirely of gravel.
- Close entry points in the garden to prevent the chipmunks from coming inside.
What if the chipmunks still stick around? Then it’s time to take drastic measures against the sneaky pest.
Phase Three: Best Tactics to Get Rid of Chipmunks
Despite all your precautions, some chipmunks might still linger around the garden. The only way to resolve the issue is through strict actions.
Let’s look at the most effective ways to keep the chipmunks away:
1. Repellants: Chipmunk-centric repellants haven’t reached the market yet. However, many gardening hacks include natural and chemical repellents that seem to do the trick. Here are our top picks:
- You can plant natural repellants like garlic, onions, and dandelions in the garden.
- Spray non-toxic commercial repellants on inedible plants. Preferably those that contain bitrex, thiram, or ammonium agents.
- Using commercial repellents for squirrels can help too. Naphthalene mothballs sometimes work.
2. Set Traps: You can chase after chipmunks because they are smaller and faster than you. However, chipmunks can be lured into traps. You can do this by setting up a cage to catch the mischievous mammals when they’re scavenging for food. Here’s what you need to do:
- Build/buy a small trap made up of mesh wire to catch the chipmunk.
- Put bait (e.g. berries or acorns) inside the trap to attract the chipmunk.
- Place the trap near the garden, shrubs or burrows to ensure that the critter sees it.
- Keep checking the trap to see if the plan worked.
- Relocate your mini-trespasser once it gets caught.
3. Pest Control: If everything fails, then you’ll have to call in the professionals. The pest control people will know the most effective ways to tackle the problem. They’ll also teach you how to get rid of the chipmunks before the problem persists. However, choose this option as your last resort. Or better yet, contact the local wildlife authorities to see if they can relocate the chipmunks.
Let’s Sum It Up…
In a nutshell, getting rid of chipmunks isn’t as challenging as it looks. You just need to identify their hidey-hole, fence the garden, and then set up traps. Soon enough, the chipmunks will realize that they’re unwelcome in your home. Once that happens, they’ll start leaving themselves. Or you can relocate them via the clever ‘bait and trap’ strategy.
Have you ever dealt with a chipmunk invasion? Share your story to help our readers out.