Let me just say, chipmunks are absolutely adorable!! At least that is what we thought too until a few years ago. At the time, we posted about a highly effective method of chipmunk removal after losing a front yard worth of plant to theses pests – the Munk Dunk. We inadvertently used it again earlier this summer when I found 3 chipmunks floating in a 5 gallon bucket that had been overlooked and filled with rainwater. As heartless as it may be, it is an effective method.
That said, we have had several more losses to chipmunks in the past few years, including, but not limited to a 3 foot tall rosemary bush. We have been trying other methods to protect our garden over the past several years. Here are the results.
Why Chipmunks are Pests
Chipmunks are cute as all get out and so photographic its hard not to grab the camera when they pose right outside our windows! However, they are extremely destructive and damaging to foundations, walkways, driveways, landscaping plants, lawns and gardens. They can dig extensive tunnel systems up to 30 feet long! Not only does this damage root systems but tunnels under concrete slabs can crack and wall foundations shift. We have seen mole like tunnels in our back yard, seen extensive root damage to our shrubs and we are thinking that subsiding soil from tunnel collapses caused our patio to crack. There is a tunnel under the roses at the edge of the patio and tunnels in the surrounding soil below the beds retaining wall.
The Munk Dunk
The Munk Dunk consists of a 5 gallon bucket filled with water, seeds for floating on top and a ramp. Harsh, but very effective. For more detailed information and instructions, see our post on the Munk Dunk here.
Rat Traps for Chipmunks
Hands down, this has been the best method to get rid of chipmunks for us. We originally tried baiting a large rat trap with peanut butter and placing it near the suspected tunnel entrances. This was ineffective. A friend mentioned the following method that we have since used them with great success for the past two summers. In areas with a lot of activity, place two Tomcat snap traps side by side up against a wall. Chipmunks tend to run next to large walls for protection. They can easily jump the first trap but will spring the second trap. They kill instantly. We feel that they are the most effective and most humane of the kill methods of chipmunk removal. We have not used any sort of bait with these traps.
You will need TWO Tomcat snap traps. They can be found in hardware stores or online at eBay.com. (affiliate link)
No Kill Traps
We debated as to whether or not to use no kill traps and relocating any of the resulting inhabitants. As chipmunks are territorial, we decided on the Tomcat trap approach. If using, these traps may be baited with nut or seed based products such as peanut butter or sunflower butter.
Landscape Changes to Get Rid of Chipmunks
The best way of not having to set traps is to try to discourage chipmunks from setting up shop in the first place. Chipmunks love large shrubs and foundation walls to provide protection for their activities. By removing large shrubs and lush ground-cover from foundation walls and retaining walls, it becomes suddenly a much more dangerous would for chipmunks.
Encouraging natural predators of chipmunks is another way to keep the population under control. In our subdivision, every time we see a rise in the chipmunk population, there is a corresponding rise in the number of hawks circling the area. Building an owl box for your garden is another way of encouraging natural predators. Having backyard chickens is perhaps our favorite means of discouraging chipmunks. We used to have a great time watching our hens chase away the chipmunks and squirrels from our back yard.
We have also been using our Chipmunk Repellent and are currently working on developing an All Purpose Gardening Repellent Spray. Recipe coming soon.
What methods do you use to get rid of chipmunks in your garden? Leave a comment below!