Chipmunks are cute critters that are members of the squirrel family. Most chipmunks in the United States are the Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus). They are around five to six inches long and weigh about three ounces. In general, chipmunks will be found in wooded areas, but they can still thrive in suburban and rural areas and parks within cities. While adorable, chipmunks can be a significant pest, and their burrowing can cause substantial damage to stairs, foundations, retention walls, and patios.
So, if you’ve found chipmunks on your property or are noticing chipmunk damage, what can you do to rid your garden and home of chipmunk activity?
Keep reading to learn more about the following topics on keeping chipmunks away from your home:
- Top 10 Ways to Keep Chipmunks Away
- Top 5 Natural Solutions
- What Attracts Chipmunks
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
Top 10 Ways to Keep Chipmunks Away
Using multiple methods is recommended when it comes to chipmunk control because chipmunks can be persistent critters that need repeated efforts to manage. There are a handful of ways that you can handle your chipmunk problem, but the most common methods are the following:
- Exclusion (physically preventing chipmunks from coming onto your property)
- Habitat modification
- Chipmunk repellents
Our top tips to repel chipmunks and take care of your chipmunk problem include:
- Disrupt chipmunk burrowing and chipmunk holes. Chipmunks are persistent diggers and burrowers who can dig underneath your fences or in your garden or flowerbeds. Solutions for this include placing hardware cloth underneath your flower bulbs to prevent chipmunks from digging up your flower bulbs. If you’re unable to place hardware cloth, try digging a trench of at least six inches around your flowerbed. Then, place hardware cloth in the trench and shovel dirt back in, effectively making a fence.
- Cover your flowerbeds. Use wire mesh to completely cover around and over your garden and flowerbeds. You can build a screen door on one side to allow you to come in and out to take care of your flowers and vegetables. This protection will keep your flowerbeds safe from pests, like chipmunks, squirrels, and birds.
- Place chipmunk traps. You can use any type of trap that is effective against rodents since they are similar in size. To effectively use a trap, you’ll need to identify the trail chipmunks are using. Chipmunks are most active during the early morning and in the evening, so watch the chipmunks for a few days to identify where chipmunks are traveling on your property. Place rodent traps on your property with food, such as peanut butter, in them and leave them unset for the first few days until you notice chipmunks comfortably helping themselves to the food. Set them and start catching chipmunks once they are comfortable around the traps. If you choose a trap that kills chipmunks, be prepared to safely dispose of the dead chipmunks. If you choose a live trap, then make sure you relocate them far, far away from your home so that they cannot find their way back to your property.
- Use decoys around your property. Chipmunks have many natural predators, including coyotes, foxes, owls, and hawks. As a result, you can use a variety of predator decoys to frighten chipmunks away from your property. The key to using predator decoys is that you need to regularly move chipmunks around your property so that the chipmunks don’t catch on to your trick. If you use hawk or owl decoys, place them high where these predators naturally hang out. If you use fox and coyote decoys, place them on overhanging branches or inside bushes with their noses peeking out. This will fool chipmunks into thinking they are about to be ambushed. Make sure you switch your decoys up quickly and constantly move them around to keep frightening chipmunks away. Alternatively, you can set up owl boxes to attract real owls to your property to scare off rodents and chipmunks. Please keep in mind that if you have small pets, real owls could go after them, so consider your situation before setting up an owl box.
- Use mothballs against chipmunks. Please note that mothballs are extremely toxic to children, pets, and other animals. We only recommend mothballs as a last resort due to the highly toxic chemicals, and only if you do not have kids or pets in the area.
- Spray a chipmunk repellent around your home and garden. Offensive odors strongly repel chipmunks, and there are many products on the market that you can spray on their food sources and around your garden and yard to keep repelling chipmunks. We recommend trying the Bonide repellent spray, which uses essential oils and chemicals to repel chipmunks and squirrels. The essential oil smell makes the smell pleasant to humans but is pungent and effective against chipmunks. You will need to reapply this product every couple of days, as it only lasts for a short period. If it rains, you will also need to reapply it immediately.
- Shooting chipmunks. We don’t recommend this method because there are many regulations about where you can and can’t fire a gun. It’s also extremely difficult to hit a chipmunk because chipmunks are incredibly fast and small. In the process, you may end up with many holes in your trees, ground, or worse. Overall, we recommend skipping over this method. Even if you can kill chipmunks by shooting them, it will take a significant amount of time, effort, and clean-up for this method to be effective. Ultimately, habitat modification and repellents will be a much better method for getting rid of these little critters.
- Spread blood meal or commercial deer repellent around your yard. If you’re worried about other products harming your plants, try using a commercial deer repellent or blood meal to repel chipmunks.
- Use a liquid repellent against chipmunks. Many stores, like Amazon, sell non-toxic, commercial liquid repellents that can ward off chipmunks. To keep this method effective, you will need to reapply regularly, especially after rainfall and snowfall.
- Purchase an ultrasonic repellent to scare chipmunks off. Ultrasonic repellents emit a high-pitched noise that will scare chipmunks and many other pests away from your property. We recommend moving this around your yard and turning the ultrasonic repellent off occasionally so that the noise is not consistent and the chipmunks do not get used to it. Most of these devices are solar powered so that you don’t have to worry about them dying or needing an electrical cord to be plugged in.
Top 5 Natural Solutions
If you’re looking for a natural solution to rid your home of chipmunks, look no farther than the following ideas:
- Keep up with landscaping. Chipmunks love wooded areas. If possible, trim all wooded areas back from your house so that outside trees do not touch your home and property. If you have trees on your property, trim the branches so that there are at least 15 feet between the branches of adjacent trees so that chipmunks cannot jump between the branches. In addition, regularly clean up fallen fruits and nuts so that chipmunks aren’t using this as a food source. Remove woodpiles and rocks because chipmunks will use them to hide their burrows.
- Make a DIY essential oil chipmunk repellent. Chipmunks are repelled by many types of essential oils, such as citrus, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender, so you can mix a couple of drops of essential oils into a spray bottle filled with water to make your DIY chipmunk repellent. Add a little dish soap to this mixture, then spray around your yard and garden.
- Remove chipmunk attractants. Chipmunks are primarily after food on your property, so make sure that you make it difficult for them to find food sources by removing them from your property. Birdseed, unprotected crops and flowers, and more are all things that can attract chipmunks to your property. Ensure that your bird feeder is secure and only birds can get into it. Protect your flowerbeds and crops with netting.
- Use cayenne pepper to repel chipmunks. Cayenne pepper is highly offensive to chipmunks and will turn them away from eating your garden. Sprinkle cayenne pepper around your crops and in areas where you find chipmunk trails to discourage chipmunks from hanging around. Cinnamon can also be an effective way against chipmunks.
- Plant flowers that chipmunks hate. Chipmunks, voles, rodents, and many other pests hate the taste of daffodils. So, a great long-term repellent against chipmunks is planting daffodils amongst your flowers to discourage chipmunks from eating your flowers.
Chipmunks love wooded areas.
If possible, trim all wooded areas back from your house so that outside trees do not touch your home and property.
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What Attracts Chipmunks?
In short, chipmunks are attracted to your property for food, water, and shelter. Unfortunately, chipmunks are omnivores, so they’ll eat practically anything, from acorns to berries, earthworms, bird eggs, insects, fruits, mushrooms, roots, berries, seeds, tomatoes, flower bulbs, and even baby mice.
If you leave your garbage can open or not secured, chipmunks will happily feast on the contents, so ensure you secure your trash can before implementing other chipmunk control methods. Also, make sure that you don’t leave leftovers outside or pet food around for chipmunks to find because they will use this as a food source. We recommend never spreading birdseed on the ground because this will attract chipmunks and other pests.
Chipmunks will also drink water out of water features and bird baths, so you may want to cover these or remove them to discourage pests from using these as a water source.
In addition to this, chipmunks are amazing climbers. However, they prefer to spend their time on the ground, preferably in covered areas where they can hide from predators. You’ll often see chipmunks hiding in shrubs, lines of bushes, log piles, loose debris, and piles of rocks or brick. If you have piles of debris, wood, or rocks on your property, we recommend removing these and cleaning up fallen leaves, fruits, and nuts to discourage chipmunks from hanging around your yard.
As a homeowner, it’s frustrating to have your garden and yard torn apart by chipmunks, so don’t wait to act. Chipmunks are cute critters, but they are significant pests that can quickly make a huge infestation in your yard or garden. If you notice chipmunks in your yard, act quickly because chipmunks can breed rapidly and quickly create a problem. We recommend using multiple methods to repel and deter chipmunks from coming onto your property for the best results.
However, if your chipmunk problem is not getting better, we recommend reaching out to your local pest control professional for help dealing with these small rodents.