Chipmunks are such cute little critters; scampering from place to place collecting seeds and chirping gaily as they fastidiously save for the long winter ahead. The most famous of all of them are Chip & Dale, who drive poor Donald Duck crazy with their non-stop shenanigans. When I witness the damage these little rodents can do to customer’s yard and gardens I feel for poor Donald.
One or two chipmunks are not a problem, but 5-10 around the house are too much! Ohio State University indicates that 10 chipmunks per acre is considered an infestation, and if you see three, there are probably 10! Holes dug all over, collapsing stone walls and steps, and a decreasing yield of flowering bulbs due to their omnivorous appetite gets these not so charming miscreants on my list. I have seen more than a few homes where over population has given yards the look of a whack-a-mole game, and coming home after a hard day’s work, only to hear the alarming chirp of multiple chipmunks running up gutters is not the “welcome home” sound I yearn to hear.
I was always under the impression that chipmunks were a protected species. This puzzled me because there is certainly no shortage of them. Chipmunks are part of the squirrel family and are one of the most successful and abundant creatures in North America. In researching this article, I found that Chipmunks are not protected under any federal law, but may be protected under state law. I dug a little further and could find nothing that indicated they were protected by Massachusetts law. So to be doubly sure I contacted Mass. Wildlife and spoke to a field agent who confirmed that chipmunks are not protected! It is open season on chipmunks 365 days per year just as it is for mice!
If chipmunks have invaded and infested your property there are two viable methods of control. One method is called the Chipper Dipper! Simply find a left over 5 gallon bucket and fill it half way with water. Place the bucket in an area where there is a heavy chipmunk population. Sprinkle the surface of the water with sunflower seeds (they float). Then take a piece of wood and prop it up against the bucket to act as a ramp, or shall we call it a diving board, maybe even a “plank” heh heh! Sprinkle a few more seeds at the top of the ramp and the chippies will think they have found an all inclusive summer resort! Alas, for them, their first dip will be their last.
If the process of baiting and disposing of the drowned rodents is distasteful to you, we can eliminate the chipmunk population by installing rock shaped bait stations around the house. This method is extremely effective, and will eliminate entire populations of chipmunks and mice in a matter of days. There are no drowned animals to dispose of, the chipmunks simply return to their burrows and are never seen again.
Remember: Chipmunks are cute little critters; scampering from place to place collecting seeds, and chirping gaily as they fastidiously save for the long winter ahead. There is no need to eliminate a few chipmunks, but they can definitely reach infestation levels and cause a lot of damage. If this is the case at your home, do not hesitate to do what is necessary to resolve the problem.
Written By: Terence Boots
Massachusetts Certified Arborist
Owner: Emerald Acres Inc.