Even though chipmunks are cute, they can be destructive and annoying in your yard and plants to the point where you want to keep them away. Chipmunks eat fruits, nuts, and flower seeds that people have grown.
They dig tunnels that can damage your pavement and give them access to your house and other buildings. They also leave holes all over your yard that could hurt your ankles. They aren’t mean to people, but like other rodents, they carry a number of diseases.
Chipmunks are the smallest of the squirrel family, but they are easy to tell apart from squirrels. Squirrels are much bigger than chipmunks. They can be brown or gray, and their tails are long and thick.
Chipmunks have dark, vertical lines on their backs and around their eyes that make them easy to spot. The tail is shorter and flatter, and it looks more like a brush. The Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus), which is the only species in the eastern half of the United States and is 5 to 7 inches long, is the biggest.
If you find holes in your yard, you might be surprised to learn that only two or three animals might be living there. This number can go up to ten or more if they have a safe place to live and a lot of food.
Keep in mind that each chipmunk digs more than one hole to get into its den. If there are too many holes, there may be too many chipmunks. Look for these signs if you think chipmunks are taking over your plants.
Once chipmunks dig holes and start looking for food, it’s hard to get rid of them in a humane way. Unless your property is flooded, the best thing to do is change your planting to make it less appealing for them to raid your gardens and flowerbeds. Here are eight things you can do to stop chipmunks from causing damage.
Sand and gravel are hard to dig through. Filling chipmunk holes with these things can slow them down or even get rid of them for good if you keep at it. If you choose gravel, choose a size that is no bigger than 1/4 inch in diameter and put as much grit as you can into each hole.
The tunnels are long and complicated (up to 30 feet), and the chipmunk who lives there will try to dig new openings. The caves are about 3 feet underground, and there are no mounds to help you figure out where they are.
Look for holes near the base of trees, stumps, retaining walls, rock piles, walkways, flower beds, and building foundations. Fill every hole you find and look for new ones every day. By putting a gravel line around outdoor sheds, digging and tunneling will be harder to do.
Make sure all the openings in sheds are sealed or screened, and that doors and windows can be shut tight.
Place bird feeders at least 30 feet from buildings, and put a tray under each feeder to catch seed that falls. Try giving a different kind of seed. Chipmunks like black oil sunflower seeds, but they don’t like thistle.
Make sure that the lids on the containers of animal feed are tight. You can use bungee cords or a brick or big stone to hold the lid down.
For color and blooms in the spring, you might want to put daffodil and allium bulbs. There are many kinds of spring flowers that chipmunks don’t like to eat.
Chipmunks can eat seeds, pinecones, acorns, and other wild foods in the fall, but feeding and looking for food starts in the spring. Be ready to take steps to protect your crop early on.
Hardware cloth keeps people from digging and keeps people from getting to your plants. It can also be used to cover bulbs and flowerbeds. You can cage your plants in 1/4-inch cloth or use it to cover a flower bed with a layer of soil.
If chipmunks are eating your tomatoes and blueberries, put bird netting around a wire cage or set of stakes to protect your harvest. Put the net six inches into the ground around the plant to stop the mouse from digging under it. Cover the plant from top to bottom.
Chipmunks won’t eat things that have cayenne pepper or garlic on them. Apple cider vinegar or peppermint oil sprayed on your fruits and veggies will also keep pests from eating them.
They can also be scared away by smell. Chipmunks don’t like the smells of citrus, garlic, peppermint, cinnamon, and eucalyptus. People don’t like the smell of coffee, so sprinkle used grounds in places where you don’t want them to go.
Chipmunks avoid places where there is animal urine or waste because they are afraid of being eaten. It’s not a good idea to use cat litter because it could spread bacteria, but walking your dog through chipmunk area for his or her daily walk might help.
Even though you might not be able to buy repellents made just for chipmunks, you can find products made to keep squirrels away at nurseries and stores with garden areas.
Most of these sprays won’t hurt your landscape, but most of them are made from predator urine and can smell bad. Bloodmeal comes in a powder form that can be used to keep chipmunks away from plants.
There are a number of gadgets that use ultrasonic waves to keep animals out of your yard and gardens. These can be anything from lights that turn on when animals move to water jets or devices that make noise and vibrations to scare the animals away.
These items can be very complicated, giving off flashing lights, predator sounds, and impulse waves, among other things. There are solar-powered outdoor units, but no one knows how well they work yet.
Garden raiders also adjust to changes in their surroundings, especially when the deterrent loses its element of surprise.
Scarecrows and statues of predators are examples of static things that won’t work for more than a day or two. Instead of leaving ultrasonic devices on all the time, you might want to use them on a plan.
Chipmunks are food for hawks, owls, eagles, raccoons, weasels, foxes, coyotes, and snakes, among other animals and birds.
Chipmunks can be hunted by both tame and wild cats. Some of these animals might not be welcome in your yard, but having a hawk, fox, or safe snake around can help cut down on chipmunks.
Chipmunks are very aware of their surroundings and will not make a home where they can’t hide and feel safe. You can get rid of rock piles and wood piles that look like good places to hide.
Cover the stacked wood and mow or weed-eat the grass and weeds under fences and around buildings and other outdoor structures.
When you plant a hedge or a row of trees or shrubs that connects your property to the woods next to it, you create a safe way to get to your yard and crops. Keep a green space open between your land and the wooded area next door.
Keep your grounds clear of weeds and tall grass where chipmunks can hide and eat your flowers and crops.
Chipmunks can be caught in live traps that let you move the animal. Keep in mind that chipmunks don’t hibernate. Even though they aren’t as busy in the winter, they don’t sleep for months and wake up every few days to eat the huge stash of food they worked all summer and fall to gather and store.
If you catch a chipmunk in the fall and take it away from its food stash, it doesn’t have a good chance of surviving.
A stressed animal can also hurt itself if it is caught. If catching is the only thing you can do, try to do it early in the season and move the chipmunk at least two miles away from where you are.
Keeping chipmunks out of your yard and plants will be a never-ending job if you don’t take steps to stop them from living there in the first place.
You can get rid of the current population by catching them alive and letting them go. However, as long as there is enough shelter and food, the next generation will move in.
Unless you lose a lot of land or crops, the best thing to do is to keep the population under control by making changes that make them less likely to stay.
If a chipmunk gets into your house or makes a nest in your garage, you may need to call a professional to get rid of it safely.
These small animals can chew through wires in homes and things like trucks and four-wheelers that are used outside. Nests can be made out of shredded insulation, chair cushions, and other things that are easy to get to.
Tunneling can cause cracks in patios and sidewalks and weaken retaining walls.
When there is a lot of damage, it’s usually a sign that a professional wildlife removal service can solve the problem faster and better.
Chipmunks can live for about three years on their own in the wild. People can keep them as pets for up to eight years.
During the winter, cnipmunks stay in underground dens and sleep most of the time. Every few days, though, they wake up to eat from their large food stores. The animals’ heart rates slow down, but they don’t really sleep. In March or April, they come out of the ground.
Chipmunks spend most of their time on the ground, but they can climb well and look for nuts and berries in trees. They dive straight out of trees and can sometimes be seen running on top of fences.