No homeowner wants to deal with a chipmunk infestation. Though dealing with any household pest is difficult, they are in a league of their own. Let’s discuss today how to get rid of chipmunks in the following guide!
Why Should You Get Rid of Chipmunks?
Not only can these furry creatures wreak havoc on your yard and garden, they’re also likely to make their homes in your walls and attic. If left to do as they please, chipmunks can cause enough damage to ruin the structural safety of your home.
So what can you do if you’re struggling with a chipmunk infestation? The key is to act right away. Use the following prevention and removal techniques to get rid of chipmunks – and keep them away for good.
Basic Facts About Chipmunks
A lot of people confuse chipmunks with squirrels. And while both furry rodents belong to the same family, they’re very difficult animals.
- The most significant difference between chipmunks and squirrels is their eating habits.
- Chipmunks are omnivores, eating both plant and animal material.
- For this reason, many people refer to them as “the janitors of the squirrel family.”
Squirrels and chipmunks almost look the same but have many differences.
- The former are larger, with some species growing to or even more than two feet long.
- Most chipmunks don’t grow to a foot long.
- Since most species of chipmunks are smaller, they are lighter and often weigh less than six ounces when fully mature.
- Squirrels are more massive and can weigh between one and two pounds when fully grown.
Before we dive into the best pest control techniques to remove chipmunks from your property, it’s important to understand what they’re doing there in the first place.
Chipmunks are, for the most part, native only to North America. Just one species is found outside the continent (in Asia and slowly spreading to Europe). In North America, chipmunks live just about anywhere with trees.
Trees are the chipmunk’s natural habitat, yet surviving isolated in the forest is much more difficult than surviving near humans.
- Chipmunks that live near human populations have far easier access to food, often scavenging garbage, bird seed, and leftover pet food from people’s homes.
As ground-dwelling creatures, chipmunks burrow for shelter.
- When living near humans, they often burrow underneath houses and other structures for increased protection.
- This is the same reason they invade attics and walls. These spaces are safer, easier to access, and closer to food sources than their traditional burrows.
Common Species of Chipmunks
The Eastern Chipmunk can reach up to a foot in length that includes the tail.
- It can weigh two to five ounces.
- It has rusty red to brown fur on its lower body and two pale and five dark stripes on its back.
- The face has two brownish lines.
- You mostly find it Midwest to the Eastern United States.
Western chipmunk measures 6”-11” long, including the tail.
- It can weigh up to two ounces.
- Western chipmunks fur have gray, brown, reddish, and white with stripes.
- These chipmunks can be found in Canada and the western United States.
Chipmunks are omnivores.
- They feed on both plant and animal material.
- While this is nice in the sense that they’ll help dispose of dead animals and insects, it also means they’re more difficult to remove from your home.
Some of the favorite foods of chipmunks include:
- flower bulbs,
- pet food,
- garbage, and much more.
Basically, anything that’s left lying around is fair game for chipmunks.
Chipmunks are similar to rabbits as far as breeding goes. In other words, they breed like crazy. If you see one chipmunk on your property, chances are a lot more are on their way.
The Lifecycle of a Chipmunk
The gestation period for chipmunks is only 31 days.
- Each litter of chipmunks usually contains 4 or 5 young.
- Luckily, most chipmunks only mate once a year, during the springtime.
- In special cases, when the weather stays particularly warm well into fall, chipmunks will mate a second time.
- The litter will leave the chipmunk burrows only when it is ready to live on its own.
Some litters even wait until they have reached about 2/3 of their adult size before they explore their environment.
- Chipmunks are ready to breed in the first year.
- The lifespan of these animals is three years.
The First Season
The first season occurs near springtime as the chipmunks leave the burrows. The litters are born in April or May.
The Second Season
The second breeding season happens during summer usually during July and August. The females give birth in early fall.
Chipmunks don’t carry diseases that can spread to humans themselves. Like squirrels, rodents and mice, they play host to dangerous flies, lice, and ticks. Not only can these insects cause bites, but they can also carry disease that can be spread to humans. Getting bit by a tick, for instance, can cause Lyme disease.
How to Get Rid of Chipmunks
Photo Credit: Environmental Pest Management
A chipmunk infestation can cause serious problems. These animals eagerly destroy yards, gardens, and homes in pursuit of food.
They often make their homes in the walls and attics of houses. Their constant scampering isn’t only annoying, it can also result in damaged electrical wires.
And that’s not to mention damages caused by their burrowing. Burrows built under your home can easily ruin its structural integrity.
You need to get rid of chipmunks fast if they’re a problem at your home. Here’s how!
How to Prevent Chipmunks
The key to getting rid of chipmunks is preventing their arrival at your property in the first place. So if chipmunks are common in your local area, get started on keeping chipmunks off your turf by following the next steps as soon as possible:
- Food – The key to preventing and controlling a chipmunk infestation is picking up and removing any potential food sources. This includes things like berries, nuts, fruits, and seed as well as pet food and compost/garbage.
- Shelter – Don’t offer shelter to chipmunks. Clean up and remove piles of debris from your yard that gives them a comfortable place to live.
- Mesh & Caulking – In areas with an abundance of chipmunks, it pays to install mesh and caulking along the foundation of your home. Don’t give chipmunks an easy route to enter your home.
- Bird Feeders – Invest in types of birdseed that chipmunks don’t like. One best way to get rid of chipmunks is a thistle. Install your bird feeders and water stations as far from your home as possible so you don’t give curious chipmunks a reason to get too close.
- Fencing – If you want to protect certain areas of your yard or garden, consider installing fences around flower beds and so on.
- Ultrasonic devices – These devices successfully repel many pests, and it works well for chipmunks as well. Just make sure you install the equipment in open spaces. However, chipmunks can tune out the noise if they listen to it for long periods.
How to Get Rid of Chipmunks with Traps
It’s important to check your local laws regarding killing chipmunks as some areas restrict killing these animals with certain methods.
Your first option for killing chipmunks is with a lethal trap. The most commonly used is a rat trap.
- While cheap and effective, these traps tend to leave a repulsive mess behind.
- Unless your chipmunk infestation is severe, trapping chipmunks using live traps is usually a better plan.
How to Get Rid of Chipmunks with Fumigates
Your other option to get rid chipmunks is with fumigates or poison.
It’s tough to come by poisons specifically designed for killing chipmunks, though many other pest control poisons will do the job.
Killing chipmunks with poison often lead to secondary kills.
- After the chipmunk dies, birds, domestic cats, and other animals then feed on the carcass. They themselves ingest the poison, often leading to their deaths.
Using poison to kill chipmunks is outlawed in many areas of the country.
Removing Chipmunks from Your Property Humanely
Photo Credit: Bob Vila
Looking to remove chipmunks non-lethally? Then a non-lethal trap is your best choice.
- Non-lethal traps are more expensive than lethal traps.
- They are also less effective in the sense that they don’t eliminate the chipmunk problem. They relocate it.
With that said, live chipmunk traps can still be very effective if you pair them with the best chipmunk preventative techniques.
Keep your property free of food and shelter to deter chipmunks. As we said, preventing entry to your home with mesh and caulking will also deter these critters.
Chipmunk repellents are another way to keep these household pests at bay. Most of these repellents use scents that chipmunks don’t like.
- You can mix cayenne pepper and water in a spray bottle and then spray the mixture whenever you see chipmunks in your area.
- There are also plants and essential oils that chipmunks cannot withstand.
- The smell of peppermint, citrus, cinnamon, and eucalyptus can deter them from invading your home or property.
Unfortunately, chipmunks quickly become accustomed to most repellents.
- If you choose to use repellents to get rid of chipmunks, you must make sure to switch up the product you’re using on a regular basis.
- This will ensure that the chipmunks don’t get used to the repellent you’re using.
Professional Chipmunk Removal
Sometimes, you just can’t get rid of chipmunks on your own, despite your best DIY efforts. If this is the case, it’s time to call in a chipmunk removal professional.
- Be sure to hire a pest control service with specific experience in chipmunk removal.
- The removal of the critters requires special techniques which some pest control companies might not be up to date on.
What to Expect
Surveying your property is the first thing a pest control company will do. They’ll identify the nature of your problem (are the chipmunks just feeding or do they live on the property as well?) and then create a plan of attack.
- Chipmunk extermination begins with getting rid of the chipmunks.
- Professionals use a mix of lethal and non-lethal techniques depending on the specifics of your infestation.
- Once the chipmunks are removed from your property, your pest control company will design a long-term preventative plan for you to use.
- This plan will ensure that chipmunks don’t find a reason to return to your property.
- Some pest control companies encourage using repellents as part of this plan.
Hiring a professional for chipmunk removal will cost more than trying to do it yourself. At the same time, it’s much more effective. Depending on the severity of your problem, hiring the pros can save you a ton of money on damages down the line.
So how much can you expect to pay for chipmunk removal? It depends on your local area but it will likely cost several hundred dollars.
Find the Best Pro
Don’t just hire the first pest control service you hear about. Do your research to find the best one for your chipmunk infestation. You’re paying a lot of money so you want to make sure the service you hire is effective.
- Finding the best pro starts with looking for a company experienced in chipmunk removal.
- If the company you’re looking at doesn’t have experience with these pests, it’s best to look elsewhere.
Because chipmunks are incredibly crafty creatures, you need a pest control company that knows how to deal with them specifically.
Your Chipmunk-Free Home
Chipmunks are loud and obnoxious, especially when they’re living in your walls. Start your extermination and removal efforts at the first sign of an infestation. Following the tips above will help you get rid of chipmunks from your home in no time at all.