Chipmunks are small animals that belong to the squirrel family. There are around twenty-five different species of chipmunks. Most of us imagine chipmunks to be cute and cuddly and wouldn't dream that they could be destructive pests. But those who have a garden or love gardening know how destructive chipmunks can be. They can eat entire flower beds, feed on seedlings and bird seeds, and even gnaw on the bark of a shrub. If you have kept pet food and bird feeders outside, these cutie pies will feast on them too!
A unique feature of chipmunks is that they stuff food in their cheek pouches and carry it to their burrows. They can also make burrows in your patios or driveways. In short, they will eat up all those things which are meant to flourish your garden. One good thing is that they hibernate during the winters, so your garden is safe at least then! Nevertheless, the moment spring arrives, they are sure cause a lot of trouble.
How to Get Rid of Chipmunks
Now, you must have realized that getting rid of chipmunks is of paramount importance if one wants to have a nice and green garden. Firstly, get rid of any food morsels or any rotten fruits in the yard so that they find no easy food sources. Check for cracks and holes leading them to enter your house. Seal them up with cement, or you'll see the whole family residing there in no time. Try these other simple steps too.
Humane Traps: Humane traps are the most effective way of chipmunk removal. You get them at any hardware store or you can buy them online. Set the trap in your yard or anywhere as they are safe around children and pets. However, if there are any burrows around your yard, it is best to set it near the burrow. Lure them with peanut butter or sunflower seeds inside the trap. But remember, it is illegal to free the animal anywhere on the road or even in a public park, so once you have caught it, call up the animal rescuer to take it away. Do not use rat traps as these will kill them, whereas humane traps won't harm them at all. Do check the laws to ensure that you are not violating any law.
Repellents: Moth balls are said to be effective repellents, so use them liberally. These will keep chipmunks and also other insect/bugs/animals also at bay. But the most effective chipmunk repellent is said to be their predator's urine, like fox urine, which is available in the market. Blood meal and un-chewed gum sticks can be kept around plants and their burrows. Castor oil and ammonia soap could be some more options.
Pets: Though this is not a conventional remedy, keeping pets to drive away the chipmunks is sure to work. If you have a pet cat or dog, let it roam in your garden. You can even set up owl boxes to attract their predators in your yard. It will certainly frighten the chipmunks into leaving your garden! If not real, you can buy some solar or battery-operated rotating birds. Also, anything that makes a sudden startling noise can be useful.
Plant Spray: Plant sprays always work as an effective pest control method. It is good to avoid chemical pesticides as these will not only harm the plants, but also the rodents. For a homemade chemical-free pesticide, make a solution of hot peppers and water, and spray it on the plants. Chipmunks do not like the smell of hot peppers, and thus, will be driven out of your garden. You can use hot sauce also. You can try planting some unattractive plants, like narcissus flowers, which will keep them away. Daffodils are also a good option to maintain beauty in your garden and drive these animals away at the same time.
Fence: If you love chipmunks and do not want to chase them away, but also want to protect the plants, put a fence around your plants. Wire fences will serve the purpose. Do not use a razor wire fence, as it will hurt the chipmunk. For protecting flower beds, you can use hardware cloth. Chipmunks won't be able to surpass the hardware cloth. They love the shade and places to hide, so if you can clean and cut shrubs regularly, it would prove helpful.
Bucket Trap: A warning though, this method is quite effective but can be cruel to the animal. If you are desperate to eliminate them, fill half the bucket with water and place a wooden plank (any piece of wood will do) leading to the bucket. Spread some sunflower seeds on the plank and inside the bucket. The chipmunk is sure to get tempted by the seeds, and in the attempt to eat them, will slip and fall into the water. They will try to swim for hours and then eventually drown. It's always better to take steps that don't harm them. Also, in some places, it is illegal to kill them so do make sure of that.
You can distract them by feeding them at the other end of the garden where they can cause no damage. In this way, you will protect your precious garden, and you can also enjoy watching them. There are some other damaging ways like rat traps or poison, but we don't think anyone would like to hurt or kill these heartwarming animals! So get rid of chipmunks the easy way - without hurting them!