You may have already seen those little rodent rushing through your backyard or neighboring forests. Or you have seen them in Hollywood movies. Walt Disney presented his animated chipmunk duo, Chip and Dale, back in 1943, for the first time in Hollywood history. And after 15 years, Ross Bagdasarian Sr. By singing their musical hit “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late).” has won animation movie lovers’ heart around the world with three chipmunk brothers named Alvin, Theodore and Simon.
Chipmunks are small sized, stripe-on-the-skin and big-tail rodents, known for their burrowing habits and love of nuts. It is mostly found in North America, only the Siberian chipmunk which can be located originally in Asia. There are 21 species of a chipmunk in North America, and historic archives represent that chipmunks were well entrenched in American Indian Lore.
They are one of the furriest and cute and harmless looking species among the backyard wildlife. Well, it’s cute until they start to chew your landscaping and garden. So, tiny and cute looking doesn’t always mean innocent. Luckily, in this blog post, you will be able to know how to get rid of chipmunks using a few types of useful traps, or how you can prevent them with some natural techniques, once and for all.
Some Key Facts About Chipmunks
You may wonder what do chipmunks eat? Well, chipmunks are omnivores, eating on several types of foods that are grown mostly on the ground. They eat nut and seeds, grains and corns, berries and plant roots, mushroom, insect. Etc., even pet food that is not kept in rodent-proof storage containers. Their foods are more varied during the warmer months, during which time they store nuts and seeds in their nests to eat in the winter.
Normally they create two types of burrows. Shallow burrows in which they seek shelter during the day, and deeper and more intricate burrows where they nest, store food and spend most of the winter months sleeping. Oh, by the way, they need around 15 hours of sleep a day.
Chipmunks usually don’t go more than one-third Km away from their burrows. Chipmunks are active during the day in spring, summer, and fall.
Though homeowners hardly see these rodents during winter, chipmunks usually do not hibernate. They sometimes do though, but they tend to evade cold weathers. But to avoid issues with chipmunks, you should contact Critter Control at the first sign of movement, regardless of the season.
How Can Chipmunk Be Harmful?
All over the North American range, chipmunks are treated as minor agricultural pests. But mostly it causes inconvenience or annoyance to people. When chipmunks exist in big numbers they can occur structural damage by digging various places in your home under patios, stairs, retention walls, or foundations.
if they get into your attic or wall voids, there is the hazard of their chewing. Their front teeth never stop growing so they are continuously chewing something to keep those teeth from overgrowing. This means there is a chance they will chew on wires inside your walls, which is a fire risk.
They chew on things like pipes, insulation, and personal items such as clothing, papers, boxes, and furniture as well. Chipmunks and tree squirrels cause significant harm to maple sugar tubing lines In New England, by gnawing the tubes.
The common chipmunk damage involves an average financial loss of about $200. Many Property owners report that chipmunks are pretty damaging when it comes to their burrowing activities around structures.
Behavior and damage patterns are almost similar among all species of native chipmunks. Therefore, damage control recommendations are similar for all species.
Some Of The Best Chipmunk Repellent
Effectively repelling chipmunks and keeping them away requires an active repelling plan. Here are some:
- Liquid Spray Repellents
- Granular Repellents
- Electronic Repellents
How To Get Rid Of Ground Squirrels And Chipmunks?
If shooting is legal in your place, you may use a small-gauge shotgun or a .22-caliber rifle with birdshot or C.B. cap loads. Chipmunks tend to be very nervous, confused, fast and alert, so they could make difficult targets for you. The best time to try shooting is on bright sunny days during the early morning.
But if you don’t have access to a gun or shooting is illegal in your area, then you may try following tricks to eliminate chipmunks or ground squirrels.
Using Chipmunk Traps
1 Get a live animal trap
Put some grains, seeds or nuts around the trap to lure the chipmunks into the trap. Then release the chipmunks from the trap according to your local municipality animal control policy.
2 Get a bucket half-filled with water and place outside
Lean a wooden plank against the side of the bucket. Scatter some nuts on the plank, in the water and on the grass around the bucket. The chipmunks will walk on the plank to eat the seeds, fall into the bucket and drown.
Then dispose of the dead chipmunks according to your local town or city animal control agency. Always put on gloves when handling dead animals, and always wash your hands afterward. They can be infested with fleas, mites and other hostile viruses.
3 Put out mousetraps to get rid of chipmunk
Spread a mix of peanut butter and oatmeal on the trap. Since this will kill the chipmunks, the method is fast and saves them pain. Again, dispose of the animals according to the rules of your town or city.
Baited with seeds or nuts, poisons are useful for killing chipmunks, and it covers large areas too. You should place the poison near its nest and along its ways. Poisonous baits should be used during the spring and at the beginning of the summer when chipmunk feed on seeds. As poisons may pose a hazard to other animals or small kids, put them straight into the hole, rather than spreading poisons on the ground with high grasses because the rodents will barely notice them. Do not forget to thoroughly read the label directions of each product and carefully follow them in order not to harm humans and non-target animals.
Removing bird feeders
Either move them somewhere where chipmunks can’t access them or take them away. You have to select the suitable technique to get rid of chipmunks and if you have a lot of bird feeders, this is likely one of the things that attract them, so get rid of them first. But if you really want to keep your bird feeders at the place but prevent chipmunks from accessing them, then use cone-shaped metal baffles.
You can even use some petroleum jelly on the metal components and this is going to improve the usefulness of the method. And you also can use thistle seeds, this is likely to prevent the rodents from feeding on the bird feeders.
How To Get Rid Of It Without Poisoning Or Killing It?
The most effective approaches to getting rid of chipmunks, experts suggest killing the rodents by fumigating, trapping, and poisoning. But still, there are some options handy that are less extreme and more humane. We have listed some of those below:
1 Leave mothballs
Place some mothballs everywhere in your house, near your plantings, and around chipmunk holes. Mothballs won’t remove chipmunks, but they will push the rodent back to the border of your yard and away from your garden. Be cautious as they are toxic.
2 Use items that chipmunks hate to smell
Try sprinkling blood meal around the roots of your plants. You can place some un-chewed sticks of perfumed gum as well close to chipmunk holes.
3 Let your pets roam outdoors
Place your dog or cat in the yard, that will actively scare the chipmunks away.
4 Use pepper spray or hot sauce on the outsides of your plants
Or you can spray cayenne pepper on your plants. Doing this will keep the chipmunks from chewing on your garden.
Note that capsaicin, one of the major chemical in cayenne is poisonous to bees and other beneficial pollinators, so if your garden depends on these pollinators, then use something else other than hot pepper spray.
How To Identify Chipmunk Poop And Clean It?
There are many animals that have similar feces like rats, mice, squirrels, voles, and bats. But, the poop can change due to their health and diet. Usually, in appearance, chipmunk droppings are closely related to the mouse poop. But, the size of poop is usually larger than the rats or mice poop. It is generally hard than the mice’s. It is dark in color, and similar in shape to large grains of small beans or rice.
When you start the cleaning procedure, make sure you do not stir up dust by sweeping or vacuuming up the chipmunk urine or poop.
- Wear one-time-use plastic gloves while cleaning.
- Spray on the poop with a sanitizer or a mixture of bleach and water and let soak it for a few minutes. When using a store-bought disinfectant, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label for dilution and disinfection period.
- Then use a toilet tissue paper to pick up the urine and droppings and dispose of the waste in the garbage.
- After removing the poop, you need to sanitize items that possibly contaminated by the poop.
- Then clean and disinfect the entire area. If it’s on the floor of the room, then mop the floor properly.
- Steam clean or shampoo if it’s on the carpets.
- Wash any bedding and clothing with laundry detergent in hot water if exposed to the poop.
- Lastly, take off gloves, and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water.
Chipmunks may spread diseases like plague, hantavirus, and salmonella. Plague is a bacterial infection that affects the immune system. It is typically transmitted via the bites of fleas carried by infected rodents. Chipmunks spread both plague and salmonella exactly in the same way. This disease causes severe gastrointestinal discomfort and joint pain.
Finally, hantavirus directly attacks the lungs. People contract hantavirus through close contact with rodent urine or poop. If left untreated for a long time, all of these three illnesses can be deadly to a human being. Hence, the biggest concern arises from a chipmunk’s bite since its saliva can transfer disease quickly. You need to see a doctor to run an examination of any bitten area of skin, and proper treatment may be necessary without any delay. So, if you suspect that you are exposed to any symptoms of these diseases, consult a doctor as soon as possible.