The Q&A Archives: Ground Squirrels

Question: We have several mounds of sand scattered here and there on our lawn at the lake (which is located in Hubbard County in Minnesota). My husband was told that these are being created by ground squirrels. If you remove the sand, you can see the hole they use to go underground. Is there anything that can be done to stop this activity? We have a large lawn and they create these piles of sand everywhere. As fast as we scatter the sand, the ground squirrels create a new pile.

Answer: From The Chipmunk Place (
Most people consider the Chipmunk (ground squirrel) to be cute and harmless. This is true in most cases. They can become a nuisance, if they are allowed to dig in gardens, or around foundations and poured stairs. They may also get into opened trash containers and create a mess. Harassment is your best defense!

Placing hardware cloth, with a half inch square mesh, around plants will discourage digging. This method can also be used around stairs and foundations. It should be buried at least two inches below the grade and up an equal distance on the side of the stair or foundation to be effective.

For general control, removing debris, fallen branches, and logs is the most effective means. This will discourage the chipmunk, and it will move to a better location. Also, removing rocks larger than 10" in diameter or moving them will
discourage burrow digging. Commercial poison products meant for mice or rats are not effective in controlling chipmunks. Nor is trapping advised, since removing one chipmunk will only make an opening for another.

Have you tried flashing deterrents, such as pie tins on string, or bird scare tape? You have to keep moving it around, or they'll get used to it. Owl statues sometimes help, but again, you need move it, too. Other options include electric mesh fencing, spraying plants with hot pepper wax (found in many garden centers), surrounding your lawn with a slippery, angled sheet of plastic or other surface, so they can't climb, etc.

Here's another resource:
Chipmunk Trapping Booklet
Wildlife Damage Control
PMB 102
340 Cooley St.
Spfld, MA 01128
Ph 413-796-9916

Booklet sells for $7.95 post paid to the U.S.

I hope one or a combination of these ideas works for you! Best of luck!

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