How to Get Rid of Chipmunks in Your Garden

Photo: wolfraven

If you’re a big fan of our animated friends “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” you might be under the impression that chipmunks are cute, harmless creatures. But if you have a backyard garden that has become the target of a chipmunk invasion, you know these small, squirrel-like creatures are anything but harmless to your landscape and home. Chipmunks are natural diggers, and a chipmunk family can do extensive damage to plant roots in your garden.

While chipmunks love to munch on your fruits, bulbs and young plants, it’s their burrowing activities that can cause the most serious issues on your property. Their long-term tunneling can cause significant structural damage to the foundation of your home. You’ll need to learn how to get rid of chipmunks effectively to prevent the need for costly repairs or the reduction in the value of your home.

Chipmunks: How to Get Rid of Them with Homemade Remedies

Methods for how to get rid of chipmunks in your garden or around your home include finding effective ways to repel them. Typical methods include spreading mothballs in and around your garden, as it is a common belief that chipmunks are repelled by the smell of naphthalene, the active ingredient in mothballs. In my experience, however, mothballs only provide a short-term solution for deterring chipmunks, if they even work at all.

Another option is to cover your plants with wire netting or mesh. You could also try spraying a concoction of garlic powder and water on gardens or flower beds with the hope that the pungent odor will deter the pests. These methods are far from foolproof though. Hungry critters can be extremely resourceful, and they often find ways to get through or even under netting. Homemade concoctions tend to lose their aromatic properties quickly and are usually washed away after the first rainfall.

How to Get Rid of Chipmunks with Havahart® Repellents

Over the course of 25 years of gardening, I’ve discovered that Havahart® repellents are a more effective chipmunk deterrent than homemade remedies. Havahart® Spray Away, for example, uses an infrared sensor to detect the presence of a chipmunk and frighten it away with a combination of unexpected noise, motion and a burst of water. All you have to do is connect the unit to a water supply and place it in the chipmunk’s path. When the sensor detects the animal’s motion, the valve automatically opens and the sprinkler produces the sudden jet of water along with a “tic tic tic” sound to startle it.

Another great product is Critter Ridder® Animal Repellent, Ready-To-Use Spray, an all-natural dual-action product that impacts the animal’s keen sense of taste and smell. Spray it on the vegetation that has critter damage, and the capsaicin, oil of black pepper and piperine ingredients create an unpleasant burning sensation on the animal’s tongue, which ensures it won’t want to come back for a second helping! Spray Critter Ridder® in your garden, in trash cans, or wherever you see signs of animal activity. One application can last a few months, so no frequent reapplication is necessary.

How to Get Rid of Chipmunks Using Traps

You can also attempt to trap pesky chipmunks. The line of smaller Havahart® Easy Set® Animal Traps allows you to catch these critters easily and humanely. Simply bait the trap with chipmunk favorites like prune pits, popcorn or grains, and place it in the area where chipmunk activity is present. The trap’s smooth internal edges prevent the frightened trapped animal from injuring itself. The one-hand release feature also makes it easy to release the animal back into the wild after capture.

Knowing how to get rid of chipmunks effectively can help you protect your home and garden from these small but destructive pests.


Havahart® is a leading manufacturer of caring control products for pets and wildlife. By offering animal repellents and live animal traps, Havahart® covers a wide spectrum that truly is caring control for pets and wildlife.


  • Havahart®

    Hi Thom,

    We typically suggest against it just because prolonged exposure to mothballs can be harmful to humans. Mothballs contain the chemicals naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene, both of which are toxic if inhaled, so it is safer to use a repellent such as Critter Ridder® which is odorless to humans and does not harm animals or humans.

    Thank you!

    Your Friends at Havahart®

    • 9:03 am - April 1, 2013

    • Reply
  • Jim Nicoud

    Does Critter Ridder work on flowering plants such as Impatients with out harming the flowing plants?

    Where can I find the Critter Ridder spray?

    • 8:14 am - July 15, 2013

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Jim! Thanks for your question. To protect a flower bed, spray Critter Ridder or place Critter Ridder granules around the perimeter of the area you want to protect. Critter Ridder is meant to protect these areas, but do not spray it directly on the plants. Critter Ridder can be purchased on our website here: or you can use the store locator to check for local retailers: Please let us know if you have any other questions!

      Your friends at Havahart®

      • 10:23 am - July 15, 2013

      • Reply
  • Michelle

    Will it work to keep chipmunks from burrowing in my garden?

    • 3:48 pm - June 7, 2014

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Michelle! Havahart® traps and animal repellents (Critter Ridder®) can definitely help keep chipmunks out of your garden! Check out our chipmunk control tips here. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

      • 3:28 pm - June 13, 2014

      • Reply
  • Donna Piche

    How far away from your property should you go before you release a chipmunk that you caught in a have a heart trap?

    • 7:35 pm - June 19, 2014

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Donna! Requirements vary for each region of the country. Please contact your local or state game commission or call the Humane Society for their recommendation. Thank you!

      • 3:14 pm - June 20, 2014

      • Reply
    • Karen Bucher

      The answer is miles & miles & pray they don’t get home before you do.

      • 8:34 pm - June 24, 2014

      • Reply
  • Janie

    I finally figured out a way to keep them from climbing up to my bird feeders: rub the pole with lard!! Makes a funny video, to say the least.

    • 7:33 am - June 25, 2014

    • Reply
  • Elizabeth Dods Divers

    I love the little guys and gals, however, they get in to my planters and flower beds and have a great old feast, digging up everything. Is there a “real” solution???

    • 12:56 pm - June 1, 2015

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Elizabeth! We have many options to help you keep these cute critters out of your planters and flower beds. The Critter Ridder Dual Area Protection Bundle would be your best choice. The liquid protects surfaces like garbage cans and sheds, while the solid creates a barrier when sprinkled around your lawn or mulch. Good luck and let us know if you have any other questions!

      • 4:53 pm - June 1, 2015

      • Reply
  • Old Arkie

    They will get in the engine compartment and make a nest by ripping insulation under hood, chewing insulation off wires and chewing up anything plastic! I have had them spring a rat trap 3 times without being caught, and got out of the glue traps several times leaving a handful of fur behind and once leaving a whole tail and fur. I have my shorgun loaded and setting near the door just hoping to spot one!

    • 6:00 pm - November 6, 2015

    • Reply

Leave a Reply

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