Notice one chipmunk, two chipmunks, or the scurry of chipmunks come to your backyard regularly? It may be cute when we only see it on television. But there is no way to find them cute when they are bringing troubles into our house. Because despite of its size, they can literally destroy your nicely taken care garden or backyard. In this article, we will discuss the effective ways to keep out chipmunk from your yard. You also need to know what the things that attract the chipmunk are. Later, we will classify it in natural way and using repellent. But first and foremost, let’s try to know better about this little puffy-tail animal.
Knowing More about Chipmunk
Similar with its cousin, squirrel, and chipmunk comes in smaller size. It comes from Scuirudae family. There are three categories of chipmunk, from Eastern (Tamias Striatus), western (Neotamias), and Siberian (Eutamias). Considering these categories, it’s no surprise that chipmunk can be easily spotted in United States and Canada . According to Smithsonian Institution, North America is the home for 21 species of chipmunk . Chipmunk reproduce twice a year, during spring and summer. In one cycle, it can give birth 5 babies. Baby chipmunk can stay on their own after 8 weeks.
The most known characters are how much chipmunk loves nuts and always interested digging the ground. You can identify it easily by its color, shade of brown or yellow fur down the back. To communicate, chipmunk uses its loud chirps as an expression. The meaning of the chirps can be universal, from “love” call from the female, territory, dominance, or danger. Kenneth Schmidt, biologist from Texas Tech University categorized three chipmunk voices; which are the chip, the deeper chuck, and the startle call.
What Attract the Chipmunk?
Chipmunk is omnivores and loves eating seeds, grains, plant roots, insect, mushroom, corn, and berries. Realize something? Most of the foods of chipmunk can be easily found at your backyard. Especially before winter hibernation period, chipmunk will try its best to stock up the foods inside the burrow. Yes, exactly like in the movies. But due to global warming, a new study from Fordham University has found that chipmunk tend to live outside during winter.
The outstanding capability of chipmunk is digging the ground. Usually it digs burrows that is not too exposed, to protect them from predators. Chipmunk is very active during daytime, except in winter. It will stay inside the deep burrow during winter to do hibernation pattern, such as lower body temperature and deep sleep.
Dry rock walls and wood are favorite place for chipmunk. Actually the presence of chipmunk can be a beneficial for the ecosystem . But sometimes it tends to dig the ground and breaks the pattern of plants. Actually it doesn’t eat tree, but spreads the mycorrhizal fungi that is important for the tree. Bird nest is another thing that can attract the chipmunk. Later you can read the effective ways to keep chipmunk out of your yard.
The supply of water also be one of the things that chipmunk looks for. If chipmunk doesn’t get enough water, it will look the surrounding to find water, or fruit that contains water. Don’t be surprised if one day your fruit or vegetable with rich water content like tomatoes are eaten by chipmunk. If this occurs, make sure that you give enough supply of water around your backyard or garden.
Identify the Trouble
It’s not difficult to identify the trouble caused by chipmunk. It can dig burrow up to 9 feet underneath the ground, so you can spot these:
- Holes in lawn means that chipmunk digs burrow for their “basecamp”
- Mess around the bird house.
- Particular tiny prints (5 and 4 toes)
- Eaten plants
- Burrows under porch
- Half-eaten fruits
Effective Ways to Keep Chipmunk Out of Your Yard Naturally
Once you know the roots of trouble, you can do these effective ways to keep chipmunk out of your yard naturally. Choose the one that is most appropriate with your situation.
1. Chipmunk Trap
Purchase small cage traps in the size of chipmunk or squirrel. Don’t forget to use glove before placing the trap. Pick chipmunk’s favorite foods as the bait, like peanuts or fruits and put it behind the trigger. Place it on the ground which most likely be the place of chipmunk’s activity. Check the trap frequently. Never put it under the sunlight. Make sure once the chipmunk has been trapped, you relocate it as soon as possible, away from your home.
2. L-Shaped Barrier
This barrier will be the border for the chipmunk to crawl the space. Make sure that the mesh of this barrier is planted below the ground. Cover it with soil and grass .
3. Bucket Trap
You can also easily make bucket trap to keep chipmunk out of your yard. Fill half of the bucket with water. Lean a wood against the side of bucket for the chipmunk. Scatter chipmunk’s favorite seeds on the wood, water, and the grass around the bucket. This trap will attract the chipmunk to walk on the wood and fall into the bucket. Once the chipmunk falls into the trap, relocate it as soon as possible.
4. Electric Water Sprayer
Purchase the electric water sprayer to keep chipmunk out of your yard. This tool works based on motion sensor. When there is a movement around the sprayer, it will spray water and surprised the unwanted guest. It is portable and easy to use. You can place it anywhere in your backyard.
5. Move Bird Feeders
The bird feeders should be high and far from your yard, to make sure that chipmunk won’t give you a visit. The further the bird feeders are, away from the building, the more unlikely chipmunk will make a mess with the bird foods. Pick up the mess that has been made by the chipmunk. You can also use another method to change the appearance of the seeds. There are a lot of seeds that attract the chipmunk, and sunflower seed is one of the most interesting.
6. No In-Line Plants
You can also consider to plant flower beneath a wire or plastic. Use 1 x 1 inch mesh so that the plant can grow but safe from digging by the chipmunk. Instead of planting your flower in one symmetrical line, try the zig-zag or random line. Sometimes the trees or plants grow continuously to your hard or home. This could be the “road” for chipmunk to enter your area. If this happens, remove the tree branch to prevent chipmunk from coming.
7. Minimize Ground Cover
Woodpiles can be comfortable shelter for chipmunk. Near these things, chipmunk will dig narrow and deep burrow as their home. Minimize the ground cover around your yard so that they won’t do the destructive acts. Wood or rock piles can be the cover for chipmunk’s burrows. Make sure that you throw unused wood cover around the yard. Also look out to the wood elements inside the house, like firewood.
8. Pets Playing Outside
Do you have pets like cats or dogs? Take them to play outside in your yard or garden. Let them roam on your surrounding will keep chipmunk out of your yard naturally.
9. Use Mesh
Mesh fencing is the cheapest yet effective way to keep chipmunk out of your yard. Use galvanized wire mess to keep out the chipmunks. Remember, chipmunk is ground feeder that is smart enough to detect the foods scattered on the ground.
10. Set the Mothballs
Mothballs can also be effective stuff to keep chipmunk out of your yard. Place it near the hole on the lawn. Mothballs will make the chipmunk sets the distance with your landscape. But please do it carefully because some of the mothballs contain toxic like Naphtalene.
11. Put Particular Smelly Stuffs
Chipmunk doesn’t like strong and fragrant smells. You can try to put gum sticks near their burrow. Consider buying products on the rack that have particular smell and disliked by the chipmunk.
12. Choose the Plants
The prevention strategy can also be applied when you choose what to plant in your yard. Plant bulbs that is not interesting to the chipmunk, such as Daffodils or Allium. Remember this, chipmunk hates the smell of Daffodils . So it can be the proper strategy to plant your favorite Tulip flowers inside the Daffodils.
13. Keep Food Items Stored
If you have the habit to store food items outdoor, change the way you keep it. Place it in sealed bag or rodent-proof containers to prevent the chipmunk from entering.
14. Pureed Garlic
Garlic can work as one of chipmunk’s repellents. Place the pureed garlic in one cup of hot soapy water. Wait until the water cools down. Add 1 tablespoon of castor oil, and place it into a spray bottle. Later you can spray it on the plants that you think interesting to the chipmunk.
15. Pepper Spray
You can use your homemade pepper or hot sauce surface to your plants. Spray it regularly to prevent chipmunk from digging the lawn. But please take a note that other insects may not tolerate the active chemical content within pepper or hot sauce. Cayenne powder can also be one of natural repellents to keep chipmunk out of your yard.
Consider Chipmunk Repellent
Other than 15 effective ways to keep chipmunk out of your yard stated above, you can also use chipmunk repellent. Commercial products that work as chipmunk repellent may be your choice, just choose the one that suits you the most. Otherwise, you can make it by yourself. Mix one gallon of water with salt and one teaspoon of Lysol. You can spray it anywhere in the yard.
What to Do When Chipmunk Gets into the House?
Actually there is no way the chipmunk wants to get into your house. It must happened accidentally. If this happen, open all the doors and windows to make it easier for chipmunk to escape. If necessary, place a wooden plank into your window as the bridge for chipmunk. Whenever possible, bring them to the outside door using towel. You can also grab chipmunk gently with your hand and release it outside. If the chipmunk gets trapped in the attic, search where the initial way in for the chipmunk was. If it’s from the branch of trees outside, cut it to prevent more chipmunks finding their way in.
Is Chipmunk Disease-Carrier Rodent?
As wild rodent, there is one possibility that chipmunk be the disease-carrier. Of course not every chipmunk brings disease on them, but you can prevent the infection of disease by minimizing contact with chipmunk. Though cute, tell your children to leave the chipmunk alone and never do physical contact with them. We can’t deny that the infection of disease also comes from the interaction from animal to human. In worst case, chipmunk may be the carrier for diseases like Rabies, Parasites, and infection from the bite .
There are numerous alternatives that you can try, aside from 15 ways to keep out chipmunk from your yard explained above. By following these steps, you can eliminate and get rid of chipmunk. But if nothing works out, try to give chipmunk shelter far from your home. Actually the basic roots of why chipmunk appears in your yard is due to its need to get food. We can’t give up by not planting anything in the yard or building one tall barrier to get rid of chipmunk. Instead, you can try to give them foods away from your house or garden. If chipmunk has easy food source, they won’t consider to take the risk of entering your yard. They don’t want interaction with humans or pets.
For the conclusion, please do remember that harming chipmunk may be dangerous. Using poison may seems to be effective and fast solution, but you must understand and consult with local agency on how to treat dead chipmunk . It will be a trouble if you have no idea on how to handle them. The other least favorite solution is using gun to keep out chipmunk from your yard. Before deciding to shoot the chipmunk, make sure that you know the rules of using gun. Considering that chipmunk is not that harmful, shooting them should not be considered as one of the solutions to keep out chipmunk from your yard.