When we think about destructive or frustrating lawn pests, visions of cute, furry rodents aren’t the first things on our minds. However, they definitely should be — tiny animals like chipmunks can wreak havoc on our lawns, gardens, and landscaping.
You don’t need us to describe chipmunks for you — they’re present in practically every state — but you’re probably only just discovering how destructive they can be. From their destabilizing tunnels and myriad of diseases to their endless appetite for plants, flower bulbs, and insects, they can be some of the most frustrating wild animals to take hold of your lawn.
If you’re one of thousands of Americans trying to manage your chipmunk population, look no further! We’re going into weeds on everything you need to know, including how to get rid of chipmunks, why it’s important, and plenty of FAQs to repel chipmunks fast.
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Why get rid of chipmunks?
Before we get into the thick of things, let’s set the record straight — despite their cute appearances, rampant chipmunk activity must be controlled at all costs. Even just a few too many can disrupt the balance of your yard, and potentially cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.
- Chipmunks carry diseases. Lyme disease is one of the most common of these, as chipmunks carry large amounts of ticks. Depending on your location and the types of chipmunks in your area (like the western chipmunk), the ticks they supply may also spread illnesses like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Colorado tick fever. Keep in mind that chipmunks bite when backed into a corner, so physical injury isn’t out of the question.
- Chipmunks can destroy your home’s foundations. Although their tunnel entrances may be hard to see, their large network of interconnecting burrows can destabilize your foundation and its structural support. This will also make your lawn look unsightly, potentially killing large amounts of grass.
- Chipmunks eat just about anything, including the bulbs in your well-manicured landscape. Plant bulbs and roots are some of their first targets and beneficial insects like worms and centipedes. The plants chipmunks prefer the most include those with lots of seeds and berries. However, chipmunks aren’t opposed to eating tame bird seed, wild bird food, pet food, and other snacks.
- Chipmunk tunnels can be dangerous while out and about, regardless of your age. Falling through underground burrows, even while shallow, could twist your ankle or lead to sprains. And nobody wants that!
If you’re already struggling with a chipmunk problem, you’re likely all too aware of these problems — and potentially many more. Thankfully, it’s not difficult to get rid of chipmunks when partnered with the right tools and techniques.
Here’s what you need to know.
How to prevent or deter chipmunks
You have three major options to get rid of chipmunks around your yard: trapping chipmunks, chipmunk repellents, and killing chipmunks (as a last resort).
Let’s dive in.
Trap and release method
The first, easiest, and most logical way to remove chipmunks is with catch and release via live traps. Just purchase a live trap from your local hardware store (like the Tomahawk E40), bait the mechanism with peanut butter or sunflower seeds, then wait for the pest to appear.
Keep in mind that chipmunks need to be released at least five miles away from your home. Any closer than that, and the pest might find its way back to your property.
Chipmunk removal products
There are all sorts of ways to repel chipmunks that may be congregating around your home. Here are just a few of the most effective ideas:
- Liquid products like Bobbex-R are a great way to repel chipmunks and other small rodents.
- Sprinkling granules like Bonide Repels-All may deter chipmunks from your property.
- You can use electronic devices like the Hosolo to frighten chipmunks away from your home.
- Chipmunks hate vinegar, cayenne pepper, and other taste-aversion repellents.
- Install an owl box, prowler owl, or holographic owl to deter chipmunk activity (and other small rodents).
- Remove wood piles that may attract chipmunks, and get rid of rock piles around the house.
- Spread predator urine around your home’s foundation to discourage any further activity.
If you find that none of these solutions are successful at repelling chipmunks, it may be time to consider other options.
It’s preferable to get rid of chipmunks in the safest, cleanest, and humanest way possible. However, you may not be able to manage a more severe chipmunk problem without the use of more robust methods.
Some homeowners have used the bucket method to kill chipmunks that are causing enormous amounts of damage to their lawns. However, it may not be as humane as other methods on the market, including rodent repellents and even snap traps.
Here’s how it works:
- Purchase a five-gallon bucket (available at most garden stores).
- Fill it with four gallons of water.
- Spread sunflower seeds across the top of the water.
- Once the floating seeds have covered the top of the water, they will begin attracting chipmunks.
- Install a ramp or wooden board to help chipmunks find the bucket.
The bucket method is a last resort when getting rid of chipmunks. This is our least preferred method and should only be used if nothing else has worked. As always, be sure to check local laws to ensure you’re staying within guidelines — chipmunks are protected in many US states.
Still have some questions about how to get rid of chipmunks? We’ve got plenty of answers. Check out this list of FAQs to kick-start the process:
What will keep a chipmunk away?
You can repel chipmunks through natural repellents like cayenne pepper, bulb cages, or wire mesh fence installed around your flower beds.
You can also get rid of attractant factors that may be growing the chipmunk’s population. Do what you can to remove wood piles, rock piles, and other food sources, then try reducing their access to nearby bird feeders.
How do you get rid of nuisance chipmunks?
If you already have a chipmunk infestation around your house, look for ways to limit their activities. You can try to catch chipmunks humanely via live traps like Havahart. Otherwise, remove factors that may be attracting a chipmunk problem (see the tips above).
Advanced infestations may require the help of a professional pest control service. These experts can install a vetted chipmunk trap and mitigate their presence through exclusionary methods.
What can I pour down chipmunk holes to get rid of them?
It’s best not to pour any toxic chemicals down chipmunk burrows — both for the good of your lawn and your family’s health. Instead, try a brand of anti-rodent spray like Bonide Repels-All, strong fumes like Giant Destroyer smoke bombs, or take the natural approach of cayenne pepper. If you really want to cover up chipmunk tunnel entrances, try filling their holes with gravel or another coarse aggregate.