Chipmunks are cute, furry little animals that are generally found in forests or other wooded areas.
From time to time, they will make their way to residential areas. When they do this, they will take up shelter in gardens, around stone walls, and even under walkways and patios.
Having chipmunks around is generally not the biggest deal but they can do minor, annoying damage if they are around long enough.
If near a garden or other plant, they will injure or eat those plants when they harvest nuts or fruits.
Chipmunks also tend to dig and burrow underneath not only gardens but porches and sidewalks as well. The good news is that there hasn’t been a case of a chipmunk doing any kind of structural damage underneath the sidewalk.
Keep Them Away From Sidewalks
There are a few easy suggestions for keeping chipmunks away from a patio or sidewalk.
They can burrow under there to find shelter and sometimes will make their residence under these concrete structures. They generally don’t cause damage but can definitely be an annoyance.
Try using an L-shaped footer. If they have left the concrete, this will keep them from being able to burrow back in.
The L-shaped footer works for keeping them from burrowing around porches, sidewalks, foundations, and even retaining walls.
Another trick is to move any rock or wood piles as well as trim back any plantings that can provide either cover or a food source for the chipmunks.
As with any other kind of animal, they will leave the area if they feel threatened or do not have a reliable food source.
If you have concerns about the chipmunks returning to the area, make sure to surround any openings with a gravel border that is plant-free.
Cutting off access is the most important part of keeping chipmunks away.
For garden spaces, make sure to plant flower bulbs either in a plastic screen ground cover, under a wire of some sort, or in specialized bulb cages. They should be large enough to give the plants room to sprout but not so large as to allow space for the chipmunks to dig.
Remove Clutter and Food Sources
One of the things that may attract chipmunks to burrow in a sidewalk or patio space is that they have found a livable space on your property. This could be in the form of a shed or garage.
This is especially the case if you have left bags of bird or pet food out. Make sure that you place any food items, such as the aforementioned pet food, in a sealed container that is rodent-proof.
Cutting off their food source is an excellent way to rid your life of chipmunks.
Much the same as mice and rats, they also tend to hide out on the perimeter and in small spaces.
Try to reduce the clutter in your shed or garage as this only gives them more options for hiding and making a home. Reduce clutter and seal everything in tight containers.
Additionally, if you can swing a purchase of a storage container for any firewood, that is also recommended. Rodents will hide in wood piles as it offers protection from the elements as well as potential predators.
How to Repel Chipmunks
Unfortunately, there are not currently any repellents that are specifically designed to get rid of chipmunks. There are others that can be used but have created controversy because the repellents will kill the chipmunks.
The Missouri Department of Conservation actually recommends against using repellents or fumigants. This is because they are not believed to be consistently effective and there is no chipmunk-specific repellent on the market today.
Generally speaking, however, it is believed that any kind of repellent that will get rid of squirrels should get rid of chipmunks. There are a few other remedies that may do the trick.
The first is to try some thiram applied to any bark, stems, or bulbs of nearby plants. The chipmunks do not like the smell and it should be enough to keep them from coming back again.
Keep in mind that it may take a few applications to fully do the job so remain diligent.
Use mothballs or flakes of naphthalene to do the job. Place them around openings or gaps in the sidewalk and around any garden area that you would like to protect.
As with the thiram, it will take some time to establish a pattern and let the chipmunks know that the mothballs will remain. This should give them enough cause to start looking for a new home.
You can also try to put together a homemade remedy.
Start with a gallon of water, then add three ounces of Epsom salt and a teaspoon of Lysol. This concoction should be potent enough when sprayed around the impacted areas to keep chipmunks from returning.
Trap and Release
There is, of course, the possibility to trap the chipmunks (if you’re looking for a non-lethal removal option) and release them back into the wild.
Make sure to check with any local ordinances first. There may be rules about trapping and releasing to follow or the local municipalities may have tips for trapping as well.
All of these can be helpful in the process of getting rid of those unwanted critters.
There are some basic tips to follow if you plan on trapping and releasing.
Start by getting a small trap that is 10 to 20 inches in length. Make sure that it has small wire mesh to prevent any escape attempts the chipmunk will make.
Put the trap (or traps) in areas that are known for their chipmunk activity. If you see them coming in and out from underneath the sidewalk, put it in an area where the chipmunk may walk into it.
The closer to the burrow, the better; if you can pinpoint an area that is undercover, the odds of capture are even better.
When baiting, it is important to do so in a way where the chipmunks cannot get it from outside of the trap.
A good idea is to apply peanut butter directly to the trap’s trigger. This should provide the best results and not allow the chipmunk an opportunity for escape.
Check the traps on a consistent basis. When you have finally caught the chipmunk in question, it is time to relocate the animal.
Make sure to go at least five miles away from your home or whatever the local ordinances dictate. This will ensure that they do not return back to your property in the future.
Chipmunks are generally harmless to have around unless you have a garden or plants that you care for.
If not and they are primarily taking up residence under a sidewalk or patio, it is up to you whether or not to deal with them.
There are plenty of humane ways to keep the chipmunks away so that you can enjoy a space free of them.
There are other lethal ways as well but those are generally not favored and could actually violate local laws.
When in doubt, check your local ordinances first to ensure that no laws are being broken in the removal of the chipmunks.