Tag Archives: chipmunk trapping

Deterrents for Chipmunks and Ground Squirrels

Chipmunk in a tree

Chipmunk in a tree

Chipmunks and ground squirrels (which look very similar and are often confused with being the same animal) might look adorable (especially when they’re portrayed in a cute animated movie) but make no mistake, they can wreak havoc on your yard and garden. If you’re looking for ways to deter them from making your property their home, read on.

Thanks to urban sprawl, chipmunks have adapted suburbia even though they prefer timber borders. Chipmunks are known to dig elaborate tunnels under flower beds, shrubs, trees, wood or rock piles and even porches and sidewalks. Ground squirrels favor open grasslands: think cemeteries, golf courses, and well-manicured lawns and create tunnels as well. And these tunnels are no joke. Some are as long as 20 to 30 feet with multiple points of entry, which makes it difficult to serve a permanent eviction notice.

Since it is much more difficult to get rid of chipmunks and ground squirrels once they move in, your best bet is prevent them from even considering it.

• This should be obvious, but do NOT feed them! If you feed them, they won’t want to ever leave.
• Clean up any spills from bird feeders quickly. Bird seed piled up on the ground is like a top-notch buffet to a ground squirrel or chipmunk.
• Put welded wire around deck openings and elevated sheds to prevent the critters from gaining entry.
• Install chimney caps. Yes, they can and will move into your chimney.
• These creatures are easily scared, so objects like inflatable beach balls, or plastic bags on sticks that will blow in the wind will frighten them away (until they get used to them).
• If you find a den, put lighting in it. Christmas lights, flood lamps, and bright flashlights work well. The best bet is to leave them on 24/7, but if you can’t, leave them on at night so their sleep is interrupted and unpleasant.
• Noise! Put an alarm clock, radio, or even a noisy toy in or next to their den. Again, 24/7 is best, but if that’s not possible then play it at night.
• If they make a den in your chimney, do NOT smoke them out. Place a radio in there and leave it on or lower a light down in it instead.

Ground Squirrel

Ground Squirrel

The best way to check if you have thoroughly evicted the pesky critters is to place loosely balled up newspaper at any of the entrances. Check it periodically over the course of several days and if you see it hasn’t been disturbed then you have successfully booted them out! The loose newspaper is important because if there are young ones inside the den, you do not want them trapped.

How To Identify Chipmunk Damage

chipmunk damageChipmunks might be cute, (the cutest in the rodent family depending on who you ask) but they can also be naughty little critters! While most of the damage they do is merely bothersome, these little creatures can be quite destructive, especially when burrowing near a home’s foundation.  Chipmunks, like most rodents, reproduce rapidly and a large chipmunk population that is burrowing along, under, or near a patio, sidewalk, retaining wall, or other structure can cause it to collapse. More often than not though, chipmunks dig up gardens, feed on flower bulbs and fruit seeds, and gnaw on bark.

It is easy to mistake chipmunk damage for other small animals like squirrels. Look closely at the tracks; chipmunk tracks show four toes on the feet and five toes on the rear (front and hind feet are generally reversed). You can also identify chipmunks by their excrement. Chipmunk scat is about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in size and is a round pellet shape. You will usually find it in very small piles of four to six pieces.

If you think you may have a chipmunk problem, these are some signs of chipmunk damage:

  • Seed piles under bird feeders
  • Uprooted bulbs
  • Holes in your garden or yard from digging
  • Chipmunk tracks
  • Chipmunk scat
  • Structural or foundational damage from chipmunk burrows

Keeping Chipmunks Out of Your Home This Summer

Of all the wildlife found in the Chicago area, chipmunks are one of the most abundant animals and they can be found virtually anywhere due to their small size and burrowing abilities.  For the most part, chipmunks are not a problem but they can become a problem if they invade your home or burrow too close to structural elements such as porches or patios.  It is important for homeowners to keep an eye out for chipmunks on their property and make sure they stay under control.

Chipmunk Behaviors

Chipmunks are small rodents that are only 5 to 6 inches long with dark and tan stripes down its back and the sides of its face.  They are known for their burrowing and often hide their burrows near objects or buildings such as tree stumps, brush piles, and houses.  The entrance to chipmunk burrows has a diameter of about 2 inches with no mounds of dirt around it because chipmunks carry the dirt away from the burrow in their cheek pouches.

Chipmunks live on a diet made up of grains, nuts, berries, seeds, and insects and they will climb trees for nuts, fruits, and seeds. They spend the year gathering food to store in their burrows and by storing seeds they help promote new plant growth.

Chipmunk Control

Chipmunks typically become a problem for homeowners when they gather in large numbers on a property or make their way inside a home or garage.  Too many chipmunks in your yard can cause problems with their burrowing because they like to build their burrows near other objects such as patios, decks, stairs, and retention walls which can lead to structural damage.  They can also be a nuisance by eating flowers, seeds, and pet food that is not properly sealed.

In addition to causing problems in the yard, chipmunks can also cause a range of problems inside the home.  Chipmunks can make their way inside wall cavities, attics, or crawlspaces where they destroy drywall and chew on wires which increases the risk of fire.  They can also destroy property with fecal contamination and they give off a strong odor when they die.

The best method of chipmunk control is prevention but if an infestation does occur, the most effective way to remove them is with live trapping by a certified professional.  To keep chipmunks out of your home, close off any possible entry points with hardware cloth, caulking, or steel wool.  Remember that chipmunks can fit through very tiny spaces when looking for entry points.

As soon as you suspect you may have a chipmunk infestation, call us immediately at 847-464-1861 for removal. We are trained professionals and equipped to deal with chipmunk exclusion and removal, including humane live animal trapping (never poisons!). We will remove the chipmunks and fix any property damage they may have caused. Click to read more about chipmunk removal services from Attic Solutions.