Capturing and killing them won't be a humane thing to do. Chipmunks live in the woods so that they can protect themselves from their predators. And when they find a residential area safe enough to populate in, they tend to build their nests underground.
Basically, chipmunks live alone and they often build long tunnels which connect one another. In case of any danger from their predators, chipmunks look for places where they won't be at risk of getting eaten. And hence, either due to being scared of becoming prey, or out of starvation (unable to find food themselves), they invite themselves inside your home.
They find safe places around your home to make their new burrows inside the walls and ceilings. Apart from raiding your pantry for food, they can even chew on your wooden furniture and electrical wires around the house.
How to Catch a Chipmunk in the House
If you happen to research over the Internet, you'll find various methods. However, some of these methods can harm them in the process. We don't want to harm or kill them; just catch them properly and release them into the wild. What we need to do here is divide the task into 2 separate categories - catch chipmunks and keep them away for good.
Catch the Chipmunk
You can either purchase or rent a small animal trap to catch the pesky rodent. Read the instructions that came with the trap to understand how it works. To set the trap, we need a bait that will lure the chipmunk in. Use nuts and seeds, dip them in peanut butter or marshmallow crème, and place inside the trap.
Place the trap where you often find the chipmunk and wait for it to get trapped. Once you have the rodent trapped, you need to take it away from your house and set it free into the wild. Travel few miles out into the woods (if there are woods in your area or take the chipmunk to an animal shelter) and release one end of the trap for the rodent to run away.
Keep Chipmunks Away from Home
Now catching and releasing a chipmunk doesn't solve your problem. If a chipmunk came inside your house once, it can visit again. Which is why, you need to know how to keep them away from your home. There are couple of ways you can ensure a chipmunk-free surrounding.
If you've noticed that a chipmunk was inside your pantry or around the areas where you keep food, sprinkle some cayenne pepper. The heat of the pepper will work its magic. The same effect is produced by chestnuts and a mixture cayenne pepper and baby powder. You can leave chestnuts around your house and see that no chipmunk will ever go near it.
If you feel that there may be more chipmunks in your area, or there are young chipmunks around, do call animal shelter to help you with this problem. You don't want to catch and release the mother into the wild and leave the young to fend for themselves.
And if you do use the animal trap, do leave it out with bait for few weeks. You never know where these rodents may be hiding. A good way to be sure is to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.