Before you learn about how to get rid of chipmunks, you need to know whether the creatures bugging your mind are real chipmunks or squirrels. Although most people think (and believe) that they are the same, they aren’t. They are completely different – with different behavior, habits, and even physical appearance. It’s important to get your facts straight before you find out about various riddance methods for whatever creatures roaming in your property.
Chipmunks vs Squirrels
Both of them are parts of the squirrel family; thus, the physical resemblance. However, several differentiating factors set them apart. When it comes to size, squirrels are bigger. Most chipmunks are less than a foot in length, while some squirrels can be over two feet in length. When it comes to weight, both are also different. Adult chipmunks are quite small – not more than 6 oz. Adult squirrels are undoubtedly heavier, able to reach a pound or even 2 pounds.
There are two major variants of the chipmunks – at least in America alone: the Eastern Chipmunk and the Western Chipmunk. Eastern Chipmunk is afoot in length, weighs up to 5 oz, has two facial brownish stripes, has 5 dark stripes on the back, and found within Midwest to eastern America. The Western Chipmunk is 6 inches to 11 inches in length with a long tail, weighs up only 2 oz, has various fur colors (brown, white, reddish, and gray) with stripes, and found in western America and also Canada.
Chipmunks are harmless. However, when they are hosting infected tick or flea (or if they have been bitten), they can become a disease carrier. The possible diseases they transmit are the plague, Colorado Tick fever, rabies, or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. If you want to handle them, at least wear protective clothes. But they won’t get near you in general as they would run off when they spot you. Chipmunks create damages and chaos in the garden and your property. They would dig holes for burrows and they like to eat up any kind of plants.
Chipmunk Prevention and Exclusion
The most humane way on how to get rid of chipmunks is to prevent them from being interested in your garden. There are some ways to do so:
- Surround your home or the garden with the plant-free gravel separator or border
- Make sure that your garden is free from trim back plantings, rock piles, or woodpiles. These items are great for chipmunks as they can find food or shelter. Remove all of these things
- Place footers (the L-shape ones) around your house’s foundation – or any foundation. You should also place them around the retaining walls, porches, and sidewalks so chipmunks won’t be able to burrow
- It is a good idea to plant flower bulbs in bulb cages or right beneath a plastic or wire screen ground cover. Choose mesh with 1 x 1 inch. It should be big enough to enable the plants to grow and sprout, and yet it is small enough to prevent the chipmunks from digging.
Some ways have been proven to keep away pest or rodents – and they can also be quite effective to deal with the chipmunk’s control, such as:
- Never leave any food outside, including birdseed and pet foods. If you do want to leave them outdoor, keep them in special containers that are rodent-proof. Yes, there are such things and you can purchase those containers to control rodent infestation
- Cut off plantings, shrubs, or trees to continuously run from the wooden spots to the house. This will attract chipmunks from coming in. If you find such a continuous path, cut it off.
- Manage the piles (such as firewood or other types of piles). Keep them away from your house so the chipmunks won’t burrow under the pile – and which can lead to burrow themselves under the house’s foundation. This can be an effective method on how to get rid of chipmunks under the deck.
- You can also put ¼ inch of mesh hardware cloth surrounding your gardens and also flowers. It would make the chipmunks stay at bay
How to Get Rid of Chipmunks In The Garden?
If you want to know how to get rid of chipmunks without harming or hurting them, one way to do so it to trap them. But be advised that there are different kinds of traps out there. Some are pretty harmless, while some may lead to the animals hurt themselves. Second, you should also know the local recommendation and laws of relocating the chipmunks within your local community as not all relocation attempts may be considered legal.
If you want to trap the chipmunks, choose the one with small and narrow wire mesh. The trap can be small, around 10 inches to 20 inches in length. Small wire mesh means that the creatures can’t escape. You can place the trap undercover as it is more convincing. To improve the success rate, apply peanut butter – right on the trigger plate. Make sure to check the trap regularly. Once it has trapped the chipmunk, release it immediately. Choose a place within a minimum of 5 miles from home – or as specified and allowed by your local law.
Bird Feeder Management
If you like to feed the birds, use the bird feeder instead of sprinkling the seeds on the ground. Remember, chipmunks are ground feeders and they like eating the seeds. If you sprinkle the seeds directly on the ground, you have turned your property an ideal place for chipmunks to get the food. That’s why the bird feeder is recommended.
And even if you already have the bird feeder, you still need to manage it properly. Chipmunks are still interested in coming to your property if they find tons of spilled seeds. Here are some methods to manage it:
- Clean the (spilled) seeds up regularly
- You can also choose seeds that squirrels and chipmunks aren’t interested in, like thistle
- Place the bird feeders at least 15 feet away from any existing structure – 30 feet would be maximum
- Find out other standard steps or procedures that would keep squirrels and chipmunks away from the bird feeders
Chipmunks Smell Repellent
What smells do chipmunks hate? You need to keep in mind that chipmunks have a super-strong sense of smell – which is quite different from humans. They can’t stand certain strong smells like eucalyptus, cinnamon, citrus, or peppermint. They also really hate garlic and its strong scent. You can take advantage of it. Simply choose the oil that you want and then mix it with little water. Spray the solution around the house and also on your plants and flowers. You should use a large batch of the mixture and you have different types of oils for alternate use, for instance, you have peppermint oil solution, eucalyptus oil mix, garlic smell mixture, etc. For garlic, you can always take a few cloves, crush them, and then boil them. Let the solution cools off and then strain it. It is truly an expensive way on how to get rid of chipmunks without hurting them.
If you want to try an even stronger scent, you can learn about how to get rid of chipmunks with cayenne pepper. The method is just the same, but cayenne pepper has a super stronger scent – way stronger than the garlic. You can pick some cayenne peppers, crush them, and boil them. The method is similar to preparing the garlic solution. You may want to use gloves when preparing this mix. You don’t want to feel the heat all day long – even after you have washed your hands again and again.
You also can make your repellent that is pretty safe for the environment and re-application process. Simply mix a gallon of water with 3 oz of Epsom salt and a teaspoon of Lysol. This homemade repellent is pretty effective and also safe when compared to chemical fumigants. Just make sure that you follow the proper direction when using the Lysol.
A word of advice: You probably have seen the mothballs claimed to successfully ward off the chipmunks. However, month balls repellents are highly toxic. Their similar appearance to candy can be dangerous for kids and pets. Your pets and kids can mistake the balls for candy. The last thing you want is to have them swallow the balls. Not to mention that they are also dangerous for the chipmunks. If you can find an alternative solution, it’s better to use them instead of using the mothballs.
Some homeowners may turn to commercial products with chemical contents of methyl nonyl ketone crystals, nicotine sulfate, Bittrex, polybutene, or thiram. It is up to them. But if you want to use the same products, make sure to apply them to plants that won’t be eaten by humans. If you use the products for your veggie plants or herbs, the substance may be ingested and it isn’t safe (or healthy) your safety.
Many homeowners think that chipmunks are only attracted to a certain type of plant and avoid other types. In reality, it’s not always true. These creatures are attracted to all kinds of plants in general, so there is no point in planting one type and not planting the others. However, if you have the patience and the extra efforts, you can reset their mind. With this method, they won’t see your garden as something appealing or interesting anymore.
So, how do you manage it?
- Buy a certain type of plant that is meant to trap or as a bait for the chipmunks
- You should plant this one far away from the other plants that you like
- Spray the bait plant with the scent that they despise, such as peppermint or eucalyptus or garlic
- Wait and simply observe when the chipmunks come. Once they get close to the plant, they will realize that it is a trap
- Rinse the plant and repeat it. The chipmunks will have an instinct reprogramming process. In the future, they won’t be interested in invading your garden back.
Be advised that this method on how to get rid of chipmunks will take time – and also patience. But you will see a rewarding outcome in the end. And you can do it without harming them or using any chemical substance that can put humans and the environment in danger.
Try these methods and see how they work for you. These various ways on how to get rid of chipmunks should be able to help you manage your issue and ward off the pesky creatures away.