Chipmunks may look cute and harmless, but they can wreak havoc on your backyard. They are burrowing animals and will disrupt roots underneath your plants and lawn. They love to eat plants from your garden, including any flower bulbs you may have planted. If you like feeding the birds, forget about it if you have a chipmunk problem. They eat pretty much any type of bird seed.
If you want to keep your lawn healthy, it is important to keep your chipmunk problem in check. There are several different ways you can do this, from natural deterrents to small animal traps.
Live Animal Traps
A small, live animal trap is one good way to capture chipmunks and remove them to…well…anywhere that is not your lawn. Put bait in the animal trap, like peanuts or sunflower seeds, to encourage the animal to enter the trap. The door will slam shut when the chipmunk goes for the bait. Make sure to look into any local laws regarding the re-release of small animals.
If you would rather not go out and buy an animal trap, you can make your own. Fill a bucket halfway with water and make a ramp up to it with a plank or similarly shaped material. Put sunflower seed or other bait that appeals to chipmunks leading up the plank and into the water. The chipmunks will climb up the plank, fall in the water, and drown. Make sure to look into local laws regarding disposal of small, dead animals.
You can catch more than mice with mouse traps that you may already have lying around the house. Use peanut butter and oatmeal as the bait. This method will also kill the chipmunk but this method is swift. Once again, remember to check into local laws regarding the disposal of rodents. You can also consider using a humane mouse trap which captures the animal so that you can release it outside your house.
Chipmunks are not huge fans of the smell of peppermint or blood meal. Sprinkling blood meal around your plants, or placing unchewed sticks of gum near any noticeable chipmunk burrows should help shoo them away.
Protect Your Plants
Chipmunks are not a fan of spicy things such as cayenne pepper. Mix water and hot sauce in a spray bottle and spray it on your plants. This will keep chipmunks away. However, it will also keep bees and other pollinating insects away, so use an alternative on plants that rely on insect pollination.
Release the Hounds
If you have any pets, letting them play outside will help keep chipmunks away. This is especially true of dogs and cats, both of which can easily frighten away (or even attack) chipmunks. Also, chipmunks and other rodents will notice their scent and stay away.
It is possible to prevent chipmunks from coming back to your yard by making a few changes to your landscaping. Prevention is much easier than trapping or scaring them away. By putting an L-shaped footer around foundations, sidewalks, retaining walls, and porches, you can prevent chipmunks from burrowing. If they cannot burrow, they are unlikely to stick around for very long. Rock piles and stacked wood also provide hiding places and food for chipmunks, so make sure to eliminate these from your lawn. Putting gravel around your yard without adding plants, can also help keep chipmunks at bay.
If you are trying to keep chipmunks from digging at your planted flower bulbs, add a layer of wire or plastic screening with small 1in x 1in openings. This will allow the plant to sprout without letting chipmunks get to them. You can also choose to plant bulbs that do not attract chipmunks, such as Allium or daffodils.
There are also a few methods of prevention that will double as rodent and pest proofing in addition to deterring chipmunks. Adding hardware cloth around the borders of gardens is extremely effective. Make sure any firewood piles are kept away from the home and garden. Make sure to leave all bird seed and pet food inside. Alternatively, purchase rodent-proof containers for outdoor storage. Make sure to keep your plants trimmed away from any surrounding wooded areas.
Chipmunks are clever, but with these tips and tricks, you can easily outsmart them.