How to Get Rid of Chipmunks Humanely and Inexpensively
by Reader Contributors
Are chipmunks a problem for your yard? You don’t want them hurt but you want them gone. Our frugal readers give some helpful tips for the humane removal of chipmunks from your yard.
Dear Dollar Stretcher,
Chipmunks and their burrows are destroying my Midwest yard. How do I humanely (and inexpensively!) rid my yard of these cute little pests?
How to Get Rid of Chipmunks Humanely?
We asked our frugal readers for suggestions on humanely getting rid of chipmunks that are destroying your yard. Here are some of the affordable suggestions they sent in for us to share.
Catch and Release Chipmunks
We were invaded by chipmunks that were destroying the foundation of our cement porch. We tried every remedy including flooding the boroughs, red pepper spray, and fox and coyote urine. We also tried smoke bombs and every other remedy the hardware store had.
The only thing that worked is small squirrel traps. We catch them and release them at the local nature preserve. We were up to 34 last year. The traps are humane if you check them frequently. Bate them with peanuts. They never seem to catch on that their brothers are missing, and they don’t seem to be bothered by human scent. Please use caution as we caught a baby skunk in one of the traps. The traps have reduced the population.
Also treat your lawn for grubs. This will also cut down on the population.
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Bloodmeal May Work for Getting Rid of Chipmunks
I encountered this problem at a client’s house that had a bed of Pachysandra that was being destroyed by chipmunks. After doing a little research, I found a suggestion in one of my garden problem solver books.
Try Blood Meal. You can buy this at any feed store or garden center. It is dried blood, a by-product of meat production. Apparently chipmunks just don’t like the smell, although it doesn’t give off an odor in your yard. And the bonus is that it’s loaded with nitrogen and your plants will love it! Just sprinkle it around where they are doing the most damage.
Chipmunks Don’t Like Chestnuts
Chipmunks and squirrels do not like chestnuts. Therefore, place these around and they will go away.
How to Get Rid of Chipmunks with the Heat of Cayenne
Sprinkle cayenne pepper around whatever it is they’re eating. Generally if they’re living somewhere, there’s a food source nearby. All mammals feel the heat of cayenne, and it won’t bother the birds.
Try Baby Powder and Cayenne Pepper to Get Rid of Chipmunks
As a landscape designer in North Idaho, I deal with “wildlife pests” every day. The most effective deterrent I’ve found is a combination of “red” or “cayenne” pepper and baby powder. Mix the ingredients one to one and spray or sprinkle around the problem areas and the critters scram. A dry atomizer works well for this or an empty can with lots of tiny holes poked in the bottom. You can sprinkle the mixture on flowers, veggies or trees. Wildlife tends to chomp on things with mild odors and avoids stuff with strong odors.
An Expert Gives Advice on How to Get Rid of Chipmunks
As a NJ State licensed wildlife rehabilitator (rescues, raises and releases orphaned/injured wildlife), I’m often asked how to humanely live with or remove various types of wildlife. For chipmunks, this is my best advice:
Situations and Solutions:
A chipmunk accidentally gets in the house:
- If the chipmunk is active and visible, open doors and windows to the outside.
- Close off all entrances to interior/other rooms.
- Set up rough boards at a 45 degree angle up to the windows for the chipmunk to climb up.
- Use an open blanket, held out in front of you, as a visual barrier. Slowly herd the chipmunk towards an exit. If the chipmunk climbs the blanket, gently roll it up and remove it to the outdoors.
It is almost impossible to relocate an entire chipmunk colony. Individuals can be live trapped with a humane trap baited with peanut butter, but should be released in the general area of capture in case of nursing young.
Chipmunks have made dens in inappropriate areas:
- Make an “L” shaped footer of 1/4″ to 1/2″ hardware cloth. Sink it 1′ into the ground, with 6″-8″ facing away from structure to be protected.
- Use repellents with a capsaisin or bitters base such as Scram, Ro-Pel and Get Away sprayed on inedible items chipmunks gnaw on. They are commercially available at pet and garden centers.
- Plant bulbs in a “cage” of 1″ x 1″ wire to prevent chipmunks from digging them up. Or soak them in Thiram 42-S before planting.
Try Juicy Fruit to Get Rid of Chipmunks
Chipmunks are cute, but they sometimes can be a pain as well. Our exterminator has told us that one way to get rid of them is to put Juicy Fruit gum pieces in their burrows. Do not chew the gum. In fact, do not let it touch human hands. Take the gum out of the wrapper, a few pieces will do, with gloves on. Place the pieces near the burrows, and the chipmunks will be disgusted at the scent. Remember, they should not sense that a human has put the gum there.
Reviewed August 2020
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