Are you trying to get rid of chipmunks around your home and backyard?
While cute, chipmunks are huge pests that can cause major damage to your garden, vehicle, house, yard, and more. Between chewed-up wires in your car, uprooted plants outside, and damaged wood on your home’s exterior, chipmunks are a pain.
Chipmunks are part of the Sciuridae family, otherwise known as the squirrel family. They are smaller than squirrels and are on the ground much more because they mostly travel, feed, and live on the ground and in underground burrows.
Chipmunks eat fruit, seeds, nuts, and even small birds and their eggs, which leads to a lot of damage as they dig to reach their food source. In addition, they may dig underneath decks, patios, retaining walls, house foundations, and other outdoor structures, which can cause many problems. Chipmunks prefer to live outside in their underground burrows, but they will enter our homes to look for food if given a chance.
If you live in an area with chipmunks, it’s critical that you know how to prevent chipmunk problems and identify chipmunk infestations.
Keep reading to learn more about:
- How To Get Rid of Chipmunks
- How To Keep Chipmunks Out of Your Yard
- How To Identify Chipmunks
- Signs & Causes of a Chipmunk Infestation
If trying to get rid of chipmunks on your own becomes too challenging, we recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive. These exterminators have some of the best-trained professionals that can use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods.
For Terminix quotes, you can reach them at 866-577-5051 or with this form.
For quotes from Orkin, call 866-701-4556, or fill out this form.
For a free quote from Aptive, call 855-521-7075 or visit the company’s website.
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table of Contents
How To Get Rid of Chipmunks
- Use cayenne pepper to your advantage. Hot peppers, like cayenne pepper, are utterly unpalatable to chipmunks. To keep chipmunks away, you can spray your plants with cayenne pepper or hot sauce. However, keep in mind that this may prevent pollinators from pollinating your plants because cayenne pepper is toxic to bees.
- Use blood meal or commercial deer repellent to repel chipmunks. This is an excellent alternative to cayenne pepper if you’re concerned about your plants not being pollinated. Thiram, which is a fungicide and animal repellent) is in many repellents and can be effective against chipmunks.
- Clean up your garden. Eliminate possible food sources by picking up fallen fruit and nuts. Prune plants, especially the ones around your home’s foundation and borderlines, to prevent chipmunks from making your home their home. Clean up any branches that fall, especially from berry bushes or fruit trees.
- Remove any woodpiles and rocks. Chipmunks may use these piles as hiding places for their burrow, and they may dig underneath them.
- Use an electronic repellent to get rid of chipmunks. An electronic repellent uses water to blast chipmunks or ultrasonic vibrations to scare them away, forcing them to relocate.
- Use mothballs to target and kill chipmunks. Mothballs are poisonous to chipmunks and will easily kill unwanted guests. Mothballs are great because they are easy to use and an affordable option. However, mothballs should never be used if you have children or pets around because they easily mistake them for food. If you are an all adult household, you can use mothballs, but we recommend wearing gloves and not breathing in the odor of the mothballs because they’re made from toxic chemicals.
- Buy or make a liquid repellent. Amazon and other stores sell many non-toxic, commercial liquid repellents that can easily repel chipmunks. You can also make a DIY solution of one quart of boiled water combined with two tablespoons of cayenne pepper. Once this solution cools, add two tablespoons of olive oil and pour into a spray bottle. Then spray onto infested areas. Take time to reapply this solution regularly.
- DIY your own chipmunk repellent. Try inflating beach balls and have them bounce around your backyard in the wind, or try hanging CDs from your trees. Anything that moves on its own, especially unexpectedly, is likely to scare away the shy, fearful chipmunk.
- Use humane traps or live traps to trap chipmunks. You can purchase a humane catch and release trap. Once you place the trap in your yard, add bait, such as peanut butter or sunflower seeds to attract chipmunks. Then, rehome the chipmunks several miles away from your home. Please note that different areas have different laws about trapping and relocating wildlife, so please read up on local ordinances before attempting to trap them.
- Utilize a natural repellent, like human hair. The smell of humans scares chipmunks, so try using old hair clippings scattered around your yard to repel them. The nitrogen in human hair will even become a natural fertilizer for your plants.
If you’re having difficulty controlling your chipmunk problem, contact your local pest control professional to have chipmunk control measures started so that you can be rid of your critter problem.
How to Keep Chipmunks Out of Your Yard
Prevention is always preferable, so how can you keep chipmunks out of your yard?
- Use a “predator” to scare chipmunks away. Using a motion-activated owl can prevent chipmunks from entering your yard out of fear. There are also spray products available that are made from the urine of predator animals, such as cats or foxes. This smell will disturb chipmunks and make them stay away out of fear.
- Set up a fence or rocky border. Chipmunks are excellent climbers, but fences with small holes can help to prevent their entry into your yard. Your fence should also be buried at least six inches underground so that the chipmunks won’t dig underneath the fence. Netting the top and sides of the fence can also increase how difficult it is for chipmunks to enter your property.
- Keep your yard tidy and pruned. Remove all fallen fruits and nuts to prevent chipmunks from having an easy source of food. Maintaining your landscaping will also prevent easy burrowing sites and food sources from being formed on your property.
- Regularly check your home and outdoor structures, like a shed, for entry points. This is good practice for preventing many types of pests, especially rodents. Check for holes in your walls, window screens, or gaps between the door and wall. Use a caulking or sealing product to repair those holes and cracks and replace damaged window screens to minimize your risk of pests infiltrating your home.
- Rethink your birdseed and bird feeder. Birdseed is an attractive food source for chipmunks. If you decide to keep the birdseed, make sure that your bird feeder is high off the ground and a good distance away from fences or other structures that a chipmunk may climb onto. Do not spread birdseed on the ground as this is likely to attract many pests, including chipmunks and raccoons. Likewise, avoid leaving pet food outside as chipmunks and other wildlife will be attracted to it.
- Grow plants that naturally offend chipmunks. Daffodils are stunning flowers that are toxic to chipmunks and other wildlife pests, like moles. Onions, hyacinths, and French marigold are just a few of the other plants out there that chipmunks dislike, primarily due to their strong scents. Please remember that some of these plants may be dangerous to pets, so we recommend consulting with your veterinarian before planting these natural repellents.
Set up a fence or rocky border.
Chipmunks are excellent climbers, but fences with small holes can help to prevent their entry into your yard.
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How To Identify Chipmunks
Chipmunks are members of the squirrel family, which includes squirrels, woodchucks, marmots, prairie dogs, and more. Chipmunks are frequently mistaken for squirrels, but there are some primary differences between squirrels and chipmunks.
Unlike squirrels who live in the holes left in trees by woodpeckers or other pests, chipmunks prefer to live in burrows on the ground, where they create complicated tunnel systems with food storage areas. Areas with stumps and logs are also preferable to chipmunks.
Chipmunks have a tan body with iconic black or dark brown stripes that run down their back and side. Their underbellies are lighter in color, and they typically have light brown feet. In contrast, squirrels are grayish with a prominent, fluffy tail. Chipmunk tails are much flatter and will even lay on the ground when they are sitting. In terms of size, chipmunks are eight to ten inches, which is much smaller than squirrels, who tend to be 18 to 20 inches long.
Not only do chipmunks have a much smaller build, different habitat, and coloring than squirrels, but they are omnivores, whereas squirrels primarily eat fruits and nuts. Chipmunks will eat birds’ eggs, snails, salamanders, and even small snakes. During the winter, they also go into torpor, a state of sleep that alternates with groggy states where they eat, which is why they create food storage areas in their burrows.
Signs & Causes of a Chipmunk Infestation
Chipmunks can be attracted to our homes and yards for many reasons.
Common things that may attract chipmunks to your home consist of:
- Flower bulbs or plant bulbs (plant these deeper in your soil to prevent them from being dug up)
- Birdseed (clean up all spilled seed and place high off the ground)
- Grown plants, flowers, and fruit trees
- Firewood and leaf debris piles, which chipmunks may burrow beneath
- Trees and plants that extend into a wooded area outside your property (i.e., no gravel border or fence between a wooded area and your yard)
Signs of a chipmunk infestation:
- Damaged garden or flower beds
- Chewing marks on your flowers, plants, and fruits
- Cracked sidewalks or cracks in your home’s foundation, which may indicate chipmunk activity under your home and sidewalks
- Chirping sounds
- Damaged car wiring (rodents, like chipmunks, often seek out shelter in outside cars)
- Tiny footprints in your yard (chipmunks have four toes on their front feet and five toes on their hind feet)
- Spotting chipmunks in your yard or around your home
- Sudden flea problem (chipmunks can carry and spread fleas onto your property)
- Burrows (these are difficult to identify because chipmunks spread the excavated dirt around and away from the burrow to hide the burrow’s entrance, but you may notice structural damage or tunneling that indicates burrows are present.)
Final Thoughts on Chipmunks
They may be cute, small animals, but chipmunks are a massive pest to homeowners, especially gardeners. If you’re experiencing dug-up flower beds or plant bulbs, damaged car wiring, or other signs of a chipmunk infestation, don’t hesitate to call an exterminator or purchase chipmunk repellents to deal with the problem.
Like many small rodents, chipmunks are fast breeders and will quickly expand the problem. They may disappear during the winter, but they will soon come out of hiding in the spring, and the problems will resume.
Don’t wait for the problem to get out of hand. Act today to get rid of the chipmunks plaguing your yard.