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How do I keep chipmunks away from garden vegetables, fruits, and flowers?
Hardiness Zone: 5b
By golfgarden from Troy, NY
I have the same problem. They have chewed off my rutabagas and broccoli to just the stems and dug out my calla lilies. I just dusted mine with cayenne pepper. I have heard this works and will not hurt your plants at all. Good luck
How can I stop the chipmunks from eating my impatiens in my flower boxes?
By Nancy Jane
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Does anyone have suggestions for keeping chipmunks out of my flowers? They're eating the flowers from my Impatiens, and biting the stems of several other flowering plants. I've tried Liquid Fence, but it's very expensive and has to be reapplied often. I've also tried Shake Away (also pricey) but it's difficult to apply to pots and flowerbeds. Maybe someone has a homemade remedy? Thanks.
Marilyn from Waukesha, WI
Deterring Chipmunk With Barriers
Once a plant vulnerable to chippie attack is in the ground, cover it with a piece of screening or fencing. Ordinary window screen or fence with a mesh of up to 1 by 2 inches will suffice. Place the screening on top of the plant, securing it with stones. The plant may be slightly squashed but will recover in a few days. On bigger plants place the screen flat on the ground around the base (fencing which is heavier, may not need to be secured). The screening discourages the chipmunks from coming near the plant. Leave it in place for about a week, until your scent dissipates and the plant has established itself.
Aggravating Chipmunk With Repellents
Repel the Chipmunk by Bad Taste: The ones that work on rabbits should work on chipmunks.
Repel the Chipmunk by Bad Smell: Remembering that the chipmunk will bother our bulbs and new plantings as much because they detect the human smell and consider it an invasion of its territory. Recent research suggests that spraying bulbs with anti-transpirant spray in some way masks the human scent on them and the chipmunk overlooks them. Another way to mask that smell is to add another smell that will repel the critters. Garlic Barrier is a repellent made up mostly of garlic juice. If you spray your bulbs and the roots of new plantings vulnerable to chippies with this spray, you are likely to have few problems.
Repel the Chipmunk with a Burning Sensation: Hot Pepperwax
Repel the Chipmunk With Models of Predators: The owl is a predator of chipmunk
Repel the Chipmunk With A Pet Dog or Cat: If you have a pet dog or cat that is allowed to hang out outside during the day, you are likely to see few chipmunks. Both animals, especially the males, will "mark" their territory with a smelling liquid that every chipmunk will avoid. While a cat might sometimes catch a chipmunk, the value of the pets is more on the side of simply making the chipmunk nervous enough to go somewhere else. Chipmunks are not without some courage. One reader's Siamese cat started with good intentions until the first chipmunk stopped and fought back. She hasn't bothered one for 10 years. That is why we recommend trying a number of different repelling tactics to be successful in causing the chipmunk population to go down.
Trap the Chipmunk to Dispatch It
Traps are about the only effective control for chipmunks. Use a 5x5x15 inch box trap that is baited with peanuts or other nut meats. The HavAHart trap is very good. One reader caught 35 in one summer using this trap. Just throw some peanuts in the back, behind the trigger and wait for the sound of the front closing. Keep the trap in the shade, particularly if you are working during the day. The heat from the sun pounding on the metal trap all day can do one of these critters in and that would be cruel. Experts tell us we should not release them in the woods because there is already a colony of wild chipmunks there and these could bring disease and a shortage of food to the resident chippies.
Please be advised the box trap is a humane way of catching any wild animal. However, the point of catching a critter is not to transport the critter to a new area. The trap is designed to kill the animal after it is caught in a humane manner. If you find this procedure to be something you do not wish to do, it is perfectly okay. Your recourse is to find another way of controlling the chipmunks in your yard, or maybe learning to live with them.
Fumigate the Chipmunk in its Hole
Since chipmunks live in the same burrow for several years they are vulnerable to killing them with gas. You can try fumigating the Chipmunks first. Injecting poisonous smoke into the tunnels may kill the pests where they sit or drive them out to be killed on the surface. In either case, the smoke will reveal all the tunnel exits, when you can seal off quickly.
The Exhaust Method: This requires a gasoline powered mower or tiller. Obtain a length of flexible metal exhaust hose from an auto supply store. Make sure it is of sufficient diameter to fit your motor's exhaust pipe. Start your motor. Expose a main tunnel and insert one end of the hose into it, then tamp soil around it to seal it. Then apply a few drops of oil just inside the other end, put on gloves, and affix this to the motor's hot exhaust pipe. Allow the motor to idle for 15 to 30 minutes. Quickly seal any tunnel openings that allow smoke to escape. The carbon monoxide should kill any Chipmunks trapped below.
The Flare Method: A simpler method is to open the tunnel and shove a lighted highway flare into the hole, then seal all the entrances as above. The noxious sulfur fumes will drive the Chipmunks into the open, where they can be killed with a shovel.
Commercial gas cartridges or "bombs" are also available. Some of these are toxic, some are not. Read the package labels carefully. Some of these fumigants, such as highly toxic aluminum phosphide, are best left to professional pest control experts. In any case, never fumigate soil in areas that lie close to occupied buildings, as the poisonous gases may seep into the basement or crawl spaces.
I've always fed my chipmunks peanuts and they never touch my flowers, which grow all around the house and my trees. Give them something they would prefer and live in peace with them. It's their world, too. (07/13/2007)
As long as you aren't bothered by the smell, mothballs are a very effective deterrent at keeping them out of particular areas. The others are also correct chipmunks have large burrows and aren't likely to move easily. (07/13/2007)
Use red hot pepper powder, or flakes, sprinkle on and around the plants, I use it for squirrels and it works. You can get small containers at grocery store, or if you have nursery near by they have very large containers for something like 15 to 20 bucks and it lasts forever, because you don't need that much. Has to be replaced after a rain. (07/14/2007)
There was an article in the Kansas City paper that states that 75% of trapped and relocated chipmunks die, as they have no home and don't know the new land at all. And the stress is deadly, as well. Live in peace with them, it's their world too. (07/30/2007)
Hot pepper doesn't work, neither does garlic. We have figured out via film that a chipmunk will eat red hot cherry pepper plants. Some of our plants had hot cherry peppers on them. The chipmunk took the hot peppers too. We've lost two plantings, of about 20 Hot Pepper plants, 6 Eggplants, and 1 Basil plant, so far. The chipmunk ate all but the the Basil. The critter chopped it off just above the ground and left the rest. The chipmunk will climb screening too. To stop them you must screen then cover the top with bird netting.
We set up a camera and caught the whole thing on film after we screened and bird netted. It ran back and forth, round and round, up and down, then left. It's come back twice, and did the same thing before leaving. We hope the chipmunks move on now. For now just waiting and watching. So far, so good.
I have learned that "used kitty litter" works to deter chipmunks away. It's not the most beautiful looking thing in the world but they don't like the smell of the urine (ammonia) and they stay at bay. (07/22/2008)
Lori from Middleville, MI
Since they can inflict quite a lot of damage and now there are three of them, I would recommend calling your local Department of Natural Resources for advice and information on how to relocate your ground hogs. They may recommend live-trapping the ground hogs and releasing them several miles away. There is also a granular product sold under the name of Shake Away that is supposed to act as a deterrent to ground hogs and other small animals. It contains the scent of predator urine (in this case, fox urine) and is supposed to be organic, safe for pets and odor-free to humans. I've never used it, but it's worth a try. You can purchase it online at www.critter-repellent.com . This same product is said to work for chipmunks, too. Placing dog or cat hair discreetly around your pots may help deter the chipmunks. Live-trapping is another option, but make sure you release them in an area where they won't become someone else's problem. If you have a kitty, teach them to bask in the sun on your patio on a tether. The chipmunks in my neighborhood eat seeds, corn and nuts from a tray beneath my birdfeeders. My birdfeeders are located on the opposite side of my house away from most of my gardens. This fact, along with strategically placing my cats on patrolling tethers, has worked well for me.
Sprinkle human hair around inside your pots. Maybe go to your local beauty shop and see if they will give you some fresh cut hair. As for the ones under the deck, maybe a trap or an exterminator. (06/13/2006)
I've heard that critters hate the smell of ammonia. (06/13/2006)
Mothballs can be a small rodent deterrent also. However, they can be harmful for pets.(06/13/2006)
I just read online a couple of days ago that you should sprinkle bloodmeal around your plants to avoid squirrels so that might work for chipmunks, too. It is a good fertilizer, too. (06/13/2006)
First forget the moth ball myth. They don't work period. What I did was buy a Have a Heart Trap at my local hardware store. Set it in the morning with sunflower seeds and check it during the day. I catch about one chipmunk a day. I then take the critter for a ride of about 10 miles and release it in the woods. A lot less chipmunks around lately. (06/14/2006)
I read in June's Southern Living that chili pepper works, too. (05/25/2007)