The Q&A Archives: Controlling Chipmunks

Question: I have had such a problem with various small rodents, but chipmunks have me stumped. They're so small they can get through fencing and mesh, and I'm sick of them eating my plants. I'm finding 1/2 eaten tomatoes now! Could this be the chipmunks, and how do I stop them? Do I feed them birdseed to keep them fed and out of my garden? One actually climbed the string trellis for the vining plants and hung itself. I can't take this part of gardening! Help!

Answer: It sounds like a horror movie! Chipmunks will eat tomatoes for the sweetness and for moisture. I wouldn't feed them willingly, if I were you - a dependable, high-quality food supply will likely create a population explosion! You can offer them water, which may cut down on the tomato munching. Just don't make it too deep, or you'll find drowned chipmunks, next! 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 garden with a slippery, angled sheet of plastic or other surface, so they can't climb, etc. I hope one or a combination of these ideas works for you! Best of luck!

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