From your yard and patio to your roof and gardens, there are a number of destructive rodents that can cause problems – but one rodent most people overlook is the chipmunk. Despite their cuddly and cute appearance, chipmunks can spread not so cute dangerous diseases to humans. These tiny, striped pests hailing from North America and Asia are omnivores that devour everything from beneficial insects to buds, bulbs, and other garden fixtures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that chipmunks spread serious maladies like tularemia and plague, both of which have potentially serious consequences for humans. Another serious consequence is the fact that they can build underground burrows which can destabilize the foundation of your house. The good news is that you can discourage and learn how to get rid of chipmunks if you make some smart decisions. Let’s get started with simple, natural deterrent methods and proceed to stricter—yet still humane—methods if need be to send the little guys packing before there’s a chipmunk infestation in and around your house.
How To Get Rid Of Chipmunks Using Home Remedies, Humanely, And Properly For Good!
Before You Start:
- Make sure chipmunks are the actual pest:
L: Squirrel, R: Chipmunk
Knowing what chipmunks look like will help you choose the right removal option. If you want to know how to get rid of chipmunks, ensure that you know the proper identification. In terms of size, they are small rodents that range between 5 1/2″—6 1/2″ in length.
Chipmunks are also brown in colour with dark stripes that go down their sides and back, as well as a white stripe that goes down the middle of their back. This unique pigmentation and stripes provide them with camouflage for the areas they naturally inhabit.
Chipmunks Versus Squirrels
Both of these species are members of the squirrel family. When you know what to look for, however, their size differences will be obvious.
- Size: In general, the chipmunks don’t even grow to a foot long. Squirrels are definitely bigger, with some species measuring up to (or even more than) two feet long in length.
- Weight: These very light mammals often weigh less than six ounces when fully mature compared to squirrels who are slightly larger, heavier and weigh between one and two pounds when grown.
- Follow the law:
Different cities have different laws about trapping and relocating wild animals, so double-check your localities wildlife ordinances first before using traps to get rid of the chipmunks running loose in your lawn.
- Signs you have a chipmunk problem:
Chipmunks tend to be fast and quiet, making them harder to spot.
In fact, most people have a chipmunk problem in their yard and do not even know it. Here are some methods to identify a chipmunk infestation.
- Noticed tiny footprints in the yard? If you’ve got a chipmunk problem, you can easily identify chipmunk footprints in your yard. In terms of footprint identification – chipmunks have four toes on the front feet and five toes on the hind feet. Keep a lookout for prints in the dirt around the sides of your home, garden or garden shed.
- Saw any damage in the garden or flower beds? – Does it look as though something has been chewing away on your plants, flowers and fruits? You may have a chipmunk problem. Oftentimes, chipmunks love to burrow in gardens and flower beds, so keep an eye out for damage to your gardens.
- Evidence of cracked sidewalks and issues with the house foundation? – This could be a true sign that chipmunks are building tunnels underneath your walkways and home. If you spot signs of chipmunks tunneling around your home, you’ll need to take care of the pest problem immediately to prevent structural damage.
- Did you hear a high-pitched chirping sound? – Think you have a chipmunk inside your home? Try to listen for high-pitched chirping noises that sound like “chip chip”.
In any case of evidence of chipmunk invasion, make it easy for them to escape (see steps below). You don’t want these rodents to be inside your house any more than you want them to outside!
How To Get Rid Of Chipmunks: A Step By Step Guide
While these rodents are cute, they can also be destructive and dangerous to your home. Learn how to get rid of chipmunks humanely, because the best option for you as a homeowner—and for the chipmunks—is for them to be caught, removed, and re-homed in an area farther away from people. Here are the number of options.
Step 1: Repel chipmunks from your yard using sound, not smell.
Make use of ultrasonic sound devices that do this online for less than $50.
Ultrasonic sound is undetectable to the human ear but helps to keep rodents like chipmunks out of your yard and garden.
Step 2: Remove factors around your home that attract chipmunks
Chipmunks will munch on some types of plants, bulbs, and birdseed.
If you notice that there are certain things around your yard that the chipmunks prefer to feed on, remove them asap and don’t just put them out of reach. Get rid of it.
Step 3: Take protective measures when planting your garden
The Humane Society strongly suggests surrounding the area with a gravel barrier devoid of plants and using a wire or plastic ground cover to protect your garden bulbs from chipmunks.
Step 4: Use these products to fix a chipmunk infestation
Even after doing all the steps above, or if you just want to get rid of them asap, use these traps and sprays to get rid of these rodents:
Ultrasonic devices: As mentioned above, The Garden Secrets Compact Solar Ultrasonic Animal Repellent is an ultrasonic device that gets rid of chipmunks for good using sound.
Live traps: Traps such as the Kensizer Small Animal Humane Live Cage can catch these rodents without harming them so you can humanely get them out of your yard.
Granular repellent: Granular repellent like Havahart Critter Ridder 3146 Animal Repellent is non-lethal repellent for chipmunks but can help keep them out of your yard by repelling them with both its taste and smell.
Repellent spray: One great method to get rid of chipmunks is to spray your yard with a repellent such as Ortho Animal B Gon All Purpose Animal Repellent Ready-to-Use Spray which makes use of a scent that is offensive to chipmunks and other pests – so this is a bonus and a keeper for future use!
Step 5: When to call a professional to get rid of chipmunks
If you find yourself in a place where you STILL cannot figure out how to get rid of chipmunks in your yard, it is time to call a professional.
It can be difficult to get rid of chipmunks on your own especially if it’s your first time. So just leave it to a pro who will be able to catch and re-home the chipmunks in your yard much faster than you could do on your own.
Without any real training or experience or if you are short on time and want the chipmunks out as soon as possible, get some professional help NOW!
What Is A Home Remedy To Get Rid Of Chipmunks?
Preventing these cute rodents from making a nest in your yard is far easier than having to one day remove them. But even if you’ve done the prevention methods, you still need to continue to use the following prevention methods. Why? The second you notice a chipmunk problem, understand that they will come back so resolve the issue at hand and prevent it from happening again in the future.
Try A Rodent Repellent
One good news is that there are plenty of rodent repellents on the market that you can always keep in hand to spray anytime, anywhere. In addition to sprays and repellents sold at retailers, you can develop your own homemade repellent easily if you own a blender! According to Gardening Know How, one common homemade repellent is pureed garlic, hot peppers, or a combination of both.”
Build A Fence
Excluding these rodents from your yard in the first place is the best way to prevent a problem. Use hardware cloth or wire mesh, to develop a perimeter around individual plants, your garden, or your entire property.
A simple privacy fence around your yard won’t likely keep out chipmunks because these aren’t usually dug into the ground very deeply and also often have cracks and spaces through which these furry rodents can pass. Your fence should be at least eight inches rooted down so they can’t burrow underneath.
Seal Your Home
These cute rodents don’t necessarily want to come inside your home, but their small size really makes it easy for them to venture inside – and create a mess!
They rummage around for food and can cause a mess without even finding the type of food they need to survive – so both humans and chipmunks lose in this situation!
Keep these timebombs out and take the initiative towards properly sealing your home.
If you have cracks or spaces between your windows and doors, seal them with rubber or plastic – don’t just tape it shut because they can chew through these holes.
Tiny holes in your siding are also a potential issue since a chipmunk can fit into a space as small as two inches wide.
Use caulk, or any expandable construction foam, or concrete to cover up any cracks or holes that you see on the outside of your house.
These rodents can also fit into natural openings like vents, chimneys and pipes so cover these openings with some type of mesh or other breathable materials which will still get rid of the air or potentially harmful gasses but remain functioning with the mesh wire which allows gases to pass through but not a chipmunk.
Use Your Pets
Especially if you’re already noticing chipmunks in your yard,letting your pet outside could be an easy way to control the chipmunk population.
Chipmunks are the perfect size for cats and dogs to chase after and catch for fun, so even if your pets aren’t interested in hunting, their very presence could serve to scare the chipmunks off.
Cats in particular have been known to present their owners with their catch, both alive and dead. This could be an even worse nightmare to deal with if they end up bringing the chipmunks inside – so be careful.
Plant Bulbs Inside Wire Cages
If your garden has become a victim to these rodents, take action by planting your bulbs within wire cages or use planting cubes.
This little trick should prevent chipmunks from eating the bulbs and keep them from entering your garden. Another option that’s simple as heck: simply plant flowers that won’t attract chipmunks.
According to Longfield Gardens, “not all flower bulbs are appealing to chipmunks and squirrels.” Plants they typically avoid include “daffodils, alliums, scilla, hyacinths, muscari, fritillaria, camassia, chionodoxa, galanthus and leucojum.”
Remove Wood Piles
The Humane Society also recommends getting rid of all wood or rock piles from around the property. These rock piles give cover and safety for chipmunks, making them a quick place for chipmunks to call home.
Prune And Clean Up Trees and Bushes
To stop chipmunks from overtaking your property, make sure to regularly prune trees and bushes in the yard. Any tree limbs or shrubbery that comes in contact with your roof should be trimmed back. This action will make it harder for them to climb on top of the house. In addition, the bottom layer of shrubs and bushes should be trimmed to stop chipmunks from burrowing underneath. Once chipmunks feel they can no longer safely enter their burrows under shrubs, they will soon move on to a safer location.
Install An L-shaped Footer Under A Patio, Deck or Walkway
The Humane Society strongly suggests installing an L-shaped footer near your home to prevent rodents from burrowing in and around the property. This L shaped fence can also be used in the yard and in the gardens. The wire meshed fence is extended out into an “L” shape on the ground or beneath the ground.
What Smell Gets Rid of Chipmunks?
- Natural repellents: Ask your barber or hairstylist for a bag of hair clippings and spread these around your garden as if you’re sprinkling salt! The human smell of hair scares chipmunks and other pests away! The smell of hair is perfectly harmless—in fact, the nitrogen in human hair breaks down slowly and may offer your plants a natural fertilizer boost, according to a study at Mississippi State University that was published in the journal HortTechnology.
- Liquid repellents: Ask your guests to stay away while you purchase a non-toxic commercial product like Rodent Defense Spray (available on Amazon) or make a DIY solution of one quart of water boiled with two tablespoons of cayenne and, once cool, add two tablespoons of olive oil. Store this solution of liquid repellent in a labeled spray bottle and shake well before spraying directly on infested chipmunk areas. Reapplication and patience are crucial to prevent chipmunks, as it may take a bit of time (and favorable weather conditions) for chipmunks to come into direct contact with the distasteful stuff. One gardening tip to use during fall: Protect vulnerable tulip bulbs by dipping them into a liquid repellent prior to planting.
- Dry repellents: Dry products are better than liquid sprays because they are longer-lasting and will help prevent chipmunk burrowing. Develop barriers to access by sprinkling granular repellents (these are dry) in key areas. Use a dry repellent like Shake Away (available on Amazon)—which doesn’t kill chipmunks or other pests—in attics, near house foundations, around flower beds, and along garden paths. Or simply sprinkle a healthy sprinkle of cayenne pepper on affected areas – make sure you don’t have pets though.
How Do You Get Chipmunks?
If you’re wondering how you got chipmunks in your home in the first place, know that your garden property becomes even more enticing to chipmunks than any other factor.
This type of terrain suits their preferences, and some of the same foods that grow in gardens feed right into this furry rodent’s menu. They like to munch on the seeds and fruits of many trees and shrubs. Another dangerously enticing fact is that chipmunks are omnivorous, so their diet also includes insects, small reptiles, amphibians, and young birds and eggs – all found in gardens!
If you’re wondering why these chipmunks are found near your home, then examine the features of the land. Chipmunks love to dig their burrows in a variety of locations such as gardens, woodlands, lawns, parks, woodpiles, and brushy areas.
Notice if where you stay features similar terrain, you may discover one or more burrows. Despite chipmunks being skilled climbers, you’ll see them often scurrying on the ground near their burrows more. These pests will build burrows in wooded and rural areas as well as man-made and developed settings because it is common for one to create a shallow burrow for daytime rests while foraging and a deeper, more spacious burrow for winter hibernation and food storage.
Their burrow is the center of life, and this mammal rarely journeys more than one-third of a mile from its home.
A large breeding ground of chipmunks will lead to them expanding into other areas, which may be your home because a chipmunk will always seek a habitat that offers cover. In terms of states, Chipmunks are found in the largest population from Canada to Mexico with the eastern and western species found in their respective halves of the U.S.
These furry rodents prefer to spend their time in forests, tree lines, and along fences. However, these striped mammals are adaptable and have been found in a wide variety of environments.
If you live near a location that is a natural habitat for chipmunks, they can end up in your yard while hunting for food. Chipmunks spend the majority of their days searching for and storing food. They then spend the rest of their time burrowing, eating, and mating. If you have plants, flower bulbs, or bird feeders in your yard, chipmunks are most likely there because food is easy to find.
How To Check for Chipmunks And Chipmunk Holes
If you have a chipmunk infestation, you will see their classic holes throughout your yard. These easy to notice holes lead to burrows where chipmunks store much of the food they collect. The holes are tunnels that chipmunks create that can be unsightly and sabotage your efforts to maintain a beautiful yard. In addition, it is difficult to enjoy moving around and playing in a yard that is riddled with holes and diseases in the worst-case situation.
As you explore the answers to your question of how to get rid of chipmunks, you will find that you have a number of options. Once you know what chipmunks look like, the next step is to know when to look for them. Chipmunks are most active during the day and can regularly be spotted mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Commence your search for these rodents during a time of day when you know they are most likely to be active.
You can higher your chances of spotting a chipmunk by finding the burrows in your yard. Chipmunks are possessive of their burrows and will vocalize with a chip chip noise to let you know if you are getting too close. Burrows are small holes in the ground and can usually be spotted near walkways.
It is not common to have a chipmunk problem inside your house because chipmunks prefer to stay outside but do occasionally find their way indoors. The Humane Society suggests that any chipmunk that is in your home does not want to be there and simply wants to get out of there asap!
Can Chipmunks Transmit Disease to Humans?
When bitten by or hosting an infected flea or tick, these cute looking rodents become a carrier of not so cute disease.
These illnesses include:
- Rabies: As a potentially fatal virus to all mammals, rabies strikes the nervous system – though symptoms might not occur for weeks.
- Colorado Tick Fever: Similar to the flu and fairly mild in humans.
- Plague: May result in flu-like symptoms or lead to pneumonia. A doctor’s care is required.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Known for flu-like reactions and a skin rash that may spread across the body.
The greatest concern comes from a chipmunk’s bite, as its saliva can transfer disease. Any bitten area of skin should be checked by a doctor, and treatment will likely be needed.
How To Keep Chipmunks Out Of Your Home For Good
These furry rodents do not make a habit of infesting homes but chipmunks can inadvertently find their way into your house. To learn how to get rid of chipmunks forever by keeping them out of your home, check out our step-by-step guide above, the home remedies, and the smells to keep chipmunks out.
The bottom line is that chipmunks look for food and shelter outside but the Humane Society points out that the best way to get a chipmunk out of your home is to give it a path to escape. Otherwise, you can always set a live trap or call in a professional.