7 Effective Chipmunk Traps for a Pest-Free Garden

While there are many ways to rid your garden of chipmunks, the use of chipmunk traps stands out as the most viable. But to apply this method successfully, certain things need consideration. Let’s unravel this together.

Distinguishing Chipmunks from Squirrels

Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) in New York Botanical Garden's Rock Garden
Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Is it a chipmunk or a squirrel causing havoc? Chipmunks are smaller, and the damage they cause is usually less extensive. Their distinctive light-colored stripes above and below their eyes, as well as distinct line and color patterns running along their backs, make them stand out. It’s also notable that chipmunks’ tails remain horizontal when running, unlike squirrels’ tails which stick straight up.

Common Signs of Chipmunk Presence

Eastern chipmunk at the entrance of its burrow
EIC, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you haven’t witnessed the little creatures in action yet, here’s what you should look out for:

  • Garden damage—damaged seed beds for example.
  • Missing items—pet food, grass seed and seedlings, young birds, and bird eggs.
  • Burrows—look out for entrances under stone walls, foundations, or next to brush piles.

Why Choose Chipmunk Traps?

Chipmunk feeding on crumbs

There are several approaches to dealing with chipmunks, but let’s assess why chipmunk traps tip the scale:

  • Shooting—difficult due to their small size and rapid movement.
  • Exclusion—hardware cloth spread is costly, unsightly, and demands consistent relocation.
  • Poisons—unpleasant odors and difficulty in retrieval outweigh the benefits.
  • Gas cartridges—pose a potential fire hazard.
  • Fumigation—poses risk near occupied buildings due to the toxic gas generated.

Among the alternatives available, live chipmunk traps emerge as the safest, most cost-effective, and humane way of dealing with these backyard nuisances.

Types of Chipmunk Traps

Havahart-style Trap

If you are inclined towards a humane solution, consider the Havahart-style trap. These allow for live capture and subsequent relocation of the critters.

Rat Snap Traps

On the other hand, if your primary objective is simply to eliminate the pest, Rat Snap Traps might be your pick. However, make sure these traps are placed out of reach of children or pets for safety’s sake.

Trap Baits And Post-Capture Tips

Chipmunk feeding on a plant

Choosing the right bait is key. Try using bird seeds, slices of apple, unroasted peanuts, cereals, grains, or sunflower seeds. Post-capture, avoid physical contact with the chipmunks—cute as they may appear, some species carry ticks, fleas, and can spread diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and plague.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top