General Chipmunk Facts
Chipmunk Classification - Genera:
- Tamias (eastern chipmunk - sp. Tamias striatus)
- Neotamias (mostly western chipmunks - 23 existing species)
- Eutamias (Siberian chipmunk - sp. Eutamias sibiricus)
Average Size: 2-6" long with a 3" tail; less than 1 lb in weight
Average Lifespan in the Wild: 2-3 years
Identifying Features: Shades of brown/yellow/grey fur with white and black stripes down the back
- One tiny chipmunk can gather up to 165 acorns in one day.
- Chipmunks have pouches inside of their cheeks in which they store food when foraging.
- The main entrance of a chipmunk burrow can extend up to 20 feet in length.
- A group of chipmunks is called a scurry.
Identify Areas of Damage
Knowing where your chipmunks are spending most of their time and identifying their damage will help you choose the best repelling solution.
Common chipmunk activities include:
- gnawing wood in your attic
- eating holes in your plants
- digging up bulbs or seedlings
- knocking over bird feeders
- living under home foundations
- burrowing under lawns or structures
Choose the Best Chipmunk Repellent
Once you've identified an area of damage, use the information below to choose the repellent that best fits your needs. When using repellents for heavy chipmunk infestations, it's important to employ multiple methods to give you the best chance of getting rid of chipmunks long-term.
Best For: Creating a repellent barrier around indoor or outdoor areas where chipmunks travel or take shelter, such as:
- crawl spaces
- mulch beds
- brush covering
- house perimeters
TIPS: Granular repellents work best when applied to level surfaces. They can be used in any climate and tend to last longer than liquids. Granules are great for preventing chipmunks from burrowing underneath homes and damaging foundations. Simply sprinkle the granules around the outside walls to prevent digging.
Best For: Frightening persistent chipmunks with sudden bursts of water to condition them to stay away from virtually any area, such as:
- vegetable gardens
- mulch beds
- pool areas
- koi ponds
- property entryways
- garbage cans
TIPS: Electronic repellents continue to grow in popularity as they are great solutions for controlling a wide variety of animals and have the ability to be placed anywhere in the yard. However, electronics rely on sight to activate. Therefore, dialing in the right setting is key to seeing small animals like chipmunks. Electronics alone are not recommended to obtain complete chipmunk control, but they are great additions to a regimen using liquid or granular repellents.
Apply as Directed
Animal repellents are only effective if the user thoroughly understands and follows the directions for use. Below are critical points to keep in mind when using repellents:
- Reapplication is necessary to maintain full repellency. Use a calendar to maintain a regular application schedule.
- Setup is crucial to the success of electronic repellents. To sense animals like chipmunks, the detection system should be set to the highest sensitivity, and the sensor should be aimed in the direction chipmunks are approaching.
Removing sources of food, water and shelter will help to deter future chipmunks and should be part of an integrated control plan. Take steps to make your yard less attractive to chipmunks by:
- cleaning up leftover food/pet food
- clearing fallen berries, nuts, birdseed, etc.
- removing birdbaths and other sources of water
- clearing wood or brush piles where chipmunks may take cover, especially those adjacent to your home
- sealing off any possible entryways or cracks in your home's foundation
- placing bird feeders at 15-30 feet from structures so spilled seed doesn't lure in chipmunks
TIP: Replace your birdseed with a kind chipmunks aren’t fond of, such as thistle.
- With chipmunks constantly preening, a repellent that works as a taste deterrent will be most effective. Look for repellents with pepper-based ingredients that are proven to deter chipmunks in this way.
- Be patient! Although granular and electronic repellents are effective immediately, it may take several interactions with the repellent for the animal to associate the unpleasant scent and irritation with the repellent - and ultimately with the protection area. Successfully repelling an animal relies heavily on the animal's interaction with the repellent. In some cases, more repellent may be needed OR some may need to be applied in a different location to gain the interaction that will ultimately repel the animal.
- Chipmunks commonly cause damage to homes and their foundations. Landscaping should not be planted continuously against your house as it provides ample ground cover near your home's foundation. As a further preventative step, apply mesh or caulking in foundation openings to ensure that chipmunks stay out.