Hello fellow readers,
Chipmunks are darn cute but often the most frustrating garden pest; even more so than deer. Primarily because there’s no effective spray or fencing to keep them out. Barbara from Succasunna NJ writes, “They were digging holes all around my patio. By spraying Critter Ridder once-a-week now I only see a few occasionally.” Made of black and chili pepper derivatives, Critter Ridder is organic gardening compliant. Bravo Barbara, at least the critters that have a yen for spicy food will remain healthy. Chipmunks tunnel to eat roots which is why topical sprays aren’t terribly effective.
Penn State University says typically there are two to four chipmunks per acre, though as many as ten per acre can hunker down if there’s enough food and cover. My rock wall may be the capital of several acres as there seems to be armies of them scurrying around. Worrisome as they can cause structural damage. They live about three years, breed twice a year, and have two to five young who then have their own young’uns within a year. You do the math…
As they build their 20 to 30-foot multi-tunnel abodes, they stuff the dirt into their cheeks then deposit it elsewhere, hence no mounds at their entry hole. How stealth. This same cheek stuffing strategy is how they carry their stash of seeds, bulbs, tender roots, and root vegetables into their homes to dine on through the winter. Chipmunks eat insects and slugs too. But before you put a check in the ‘what they’re good for column’, they eat eggs and baby birds too.
There’s snap traps, poisonous bates, and live traps to relocate them; though I’ve heard by moving them even 10 miles away they are likely to return. Then there’s the issue of who will be the lucky recipient of your transport.
Someone suggested juicy fruit gum. Unwrapped (using gloves to keep free of human scent) and tossed in their holes. The theory is they eat the gum which buggers up their innards. Not very humane I know. But neither is eating roots causing plants to suffocate, poor dears. The punchline is my chipmunks like juicy fruit gum and it seems invited their friends to join the party. Maybe they’ll croak from rotting teeth.
Of all the techniques, a quarter-cup of castor oil (the original stinky kind) mixed with a gallon of warm water and a couple of drops of dish detergent to saturate the ground near the holes sounds like the most promising way to evict them. They hate the smell and bitter taste. Work your way out so as not to encourage them to hunker down near your foundation. Or, you can always adopt a cat or invite a garden snake (maybe not a rattlesnake). Garden Dilemmas? Askmarystone@gmail.com
… you may get a chuckle reading a previous garden dilemma thanks to chippers- Tomato Carnage
You can see why Ann, a kind animal lover, opted to move the chipmunks taking over her beautiful garden. Photo by Ann DeCamp Photography
Thumbnail chipmunk photo compliments of Pixabay