getting rid of chipmunks

eofmdJuly 1, 2008

we have placed the 5 gallon bucket of water w/sunflower seeds over the top of the water. We used a 1X3 which is very long and ran it across the garden area where the munks are very active and have it resting on the edge of the bucket. The squirrels and birds have eaten the seeds off the wood plank but the munks run all around it and never even go up the board. Everyone else seems to be having great luck with this approach so I was wondering what we have done wrong?

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Never heard of that type of chipmonk trap before. What is the reason the chipmonks would travel up your board? Without some reason they won't go there.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 8:31AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Bury the bucket perhaps?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 2:53PM
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The death pool is very effective. I had about 14 dead in 2 wks. I found that they cannot resist peanut butter. Smear a tiny bit on your diving board leading up to the top of 5 gal bucket near the end. Sprinkle some sunflower seeds on plank as well. Fill bucket 2/3 to the top with water. Cover surface with 1/2 inch of seeds. Take some peanut butter and smear a little inside bucket right above the seeds, plus drop a spoonful on top of the seeds near center. They will jump for it everytime. Overlap your plank a 3 or 4" past the rim of bucket. I've watched them dive in from my window!! You could elevate the other end of plank on a step, but its not necesary. Make sure your plank is at least 4ft long so its not too steep. I use a 1x6" plank. The dead ones sink to the bottom. If the smear on the inside is disturbed you know you've got one. I've added more seed & fresh pbutter to top & dumped 5 dead chipmunks at a time into a hole in ground. It works very well and is inexpensive to make.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 10:52AM
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Last year I read with great amusement the chipmunk swimming pool stories -- I didn't need a pool! I had superior trapping skills and a set of four rat "snap traps" and a jar old aged peanut butter. I caught six the very first day and 26 total in my garden over the next three months. No chipmunk problems after that!

This year was different though... I caught two the first week and lost an entire tulip bed worth of bulbs, all my pea and sunflower plantings (in spite of half a dozen replanting efforts) and the first grape tomatoes off my plants to these now wiser chips. They ran around my traps or sat next to them to enjoy their meals (compliments of my efforts.) The only two others I caught in my now EIGHT trap arsenal were two that happened to step on the trigger when running their paths over the next two weeks.

I finally decided to try the chipmunk swimming pool (I had no faith that it would work) but needed to catch the last two trespassers if I was to have any success with my snap peas this season. A good sign was the enthusiasm the chips displayed when digging up my newly planted sunflower seeds -- within an hour after planting the seeds I would have nothing but a bunch of empty holes in the soil ready for refilling...

Well the first day (yesterday) I caught FOUR -- and I thought I only had TWO trouble makers! Today I caught two more! The great thing about the pool is no snap traps to worry about when my kids are in the garden and no constant rebaiting. I also don't snap any birds, squirrels, possums, cats or dogs.

I used two 30" x 6" boards in between my raised beds right on the path the chips run (next to the peas and sunflowers) and have had great results.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 10:48PM
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This post is really meant to go under the GardenWeb thread called Effective chipmunk/ground squirrel control, but comments were maxed out. Go here to learn ALL about the Pool of Death.

We also have destructive critters that tunnel around our foundation, under our driveway, near the air conditioning unit and through the vegetable garden. I think they are responsible for my poor raspberry harvest and we haven't gotten to their usual favorite, ripe tomatoes. I think in our part of the country they are called thirteen stipe ground squirrels, or thirteen-lined ground squirrels. Over the past 4 years I have tried poisoning them and the Pool of Death (PoD). With many pets and kids around I decided poison was too risky and killing the critters that way was few and far between. I used some poisoned oats from a farm store. The pool of death is cheap, very effective and easy to do. However, I witnessed one take the plunge today and was expecting that the drowning would occur in 20 minutes or less, which already seems a bit inhumane. After 3 hours the critter was still treading water! I felt bad waiting for the critter to drown, but I didn't think I could handle dunking it or smacking it with a shovel. I know, it was unnecessary for it to suffer that long. When my husband came home, I made him take care of it. The idea came to me to submerge the critter with a second bucket the same size. I know most people don't have the time to babysit their traps, but if you do, try the double bucket method, I guess it only took a minute or so to finish the job. Before he got home, I had already ordered the RatZapper for $40 including shipping. I felt too guilty about the 3 hour PoD tragedy. I really think the Rat Zapper sounds like the way to go.

In case anyone is wondering I built my trap with a 5 gallon bucket filled 3/4 full of water with a large handful of seeds floating at the top. I sawed a 4 ft board into a 3 ft section and a 1 ft section. The board was about 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick. I screwed the ends of the boards together to make a hinge and rested the short board across the top of the bucket and the longer board was the ramp up to the horizontal board. I baited my ramp and horizontal board with sunflower seeds.

Could someone point me to a good reference for fixing the tunneling damage and prevent new ones from moving into the existing tunnels?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 12:46AM
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wannab(8b & 4a)

Get a live trap. We have gotten rid of over 80 chipmunks this year. And my veggie garden is thriving thanks to the trapping. We were very surprised at the number of them in our wildlife garden area. To much of anything is not a good thing.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 9:30AM
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I can confirm that peanut butter works well with the pool.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 12:36PM
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kiddo_1(NE OH 5)

I found this thread and used it to track down the original thread started in '03 ("Effective chipmunk/ground squirrel control"). Two hours ago I made a 'chipmunk swimming pool' as instructed. Can't believe it but I've already caught my first chipmunk. This thing really works!
One down, about 40 more to go.... *sigh*

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 6:47PM
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kiddo_1(NE OH 5)

Just an update. I was having trouble with squirrels eating all the sunflower seeds floating on the water. They would 'hang ten' off the edge of the pail and bob for seeds. So I cut a small section of wire shelving that is used for closet organizing and tied it across the top. The squirrels are too big to get through the wire grate (which is an inch wide), but the mice and chipmunks get through it just fine. Since my initial post I've seen 5 chipmunks and have gotten them all along with some mice.

Added bonus with the grate - now the dogs can't drink out of the pail.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 6:55PM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

Oh no, I didn't know chipmunks ate much besides the corn I throw on the ground for the birds! I know they've chewed through wires in ground control boxes for sprinklers but didn't think about seedlings.

Getting ready to plant some hardy annuals seedlings in next couple of days and was just worried about slugs, rabbits, deer and groundhogs.

Now I'm going to have to get a "plank" and more sunflower seeds.

Oh Pooh!

Glad I saw this thread, though.

I originally came to this forum to see if it was appropriate place someone could help me with a fungus/mushroom problem since I've had no replies in Moss, Ferns & Cryptograms...I thought "crypto..." was just newspaper word game...LOL.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 12:01AM
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juliebw(z5 NY)

I accidentally discovered that if they fall into an empty garbage can, they can't get out. So now I place sunflower seeds in the bottom and attract them there. I put the garbage can next to my A/C unit, so they could use that to get in. They caused $1500 damage by building a nest in the engine of our brand new car, in addition to the garden damage - death to them all!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 1:40PM
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kiddo_1(NE OH 5)

juliebw - I've used that method in the garage during winter to catch mice. I use a 5-gallon pail with some seeds in the bottom. Works like a charm and no poison/traps to be concerned with.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 7:06AM
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i made 3 "pools" yesterday. Two are 5 gallong buckets set in places where I have seen them. The one near the bid feeder is a large planter/bowl about 20 inches in diameter. I used an old spade as a ramp . this got 3 chipmunks within 4 hours. One near the shed is a 5 galllon bucket with just a plank of wood. One chipmunk keeps going for the seeds but won't jump. It hung by the rim and tried to fish for seeds floating by the edge. I think I put too much water in it. One bucket set in front of the house with a spade as a ramp got one chipmunk last night. My problem now is that a squirrel discovered the diving ramp of the "pool" near the feeder. So I will try to put a wire grid around the edge of the bowl.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 8:15AM
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Chippies are back and so is my bucket. Started yesterday and got 2 so far. I got rid of them 2 years ago and hadn't seen any signs of them (old filled in holes were undisturbed) until yesterday. I'll add another bucket tomorrow. Better to get them before they really move in again.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 6:57PM
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kiddo_1(NE OH 5)

I've gotten 20 so far since I made the first 'pool' back in March. Unfortunately right now they seem to be multiplying faster than I can catch them. *sigh* Too bad there's not a bounty on pelts....!!

Bloomer, to keep the squirrels out you have to cover the entire top of the bucket with grid or mesh open enough to let chipmunks in, but keep the squirrels (and dogs, etc.) out.

I didn't have any luck when I put one near the bird feeder. Too much seed laying around and the chipmunks just ignored the 'pool'.

I got tired having to keep adding seeds when the sunflower seeds sunk, so I cut a 3" square of 1/2" styrofoam, put a little pile of dry seeds on it then float it in the water. The seeds stay fresh until someone goes swimming.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 8:56PM
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I do the same thing with a small plastic cover now. And back when I first started I dedicated an old set of long BBQ tongs to fish them out so I don't have to keep dumping the bucket.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 3:19PM
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kiddo_1(NE OH 5)

When something new works, you gotta share. So I'm here to share... The 'swimming pools' have not been getting much action over the past 3 weeks and the chipmunks are getting out of hand again. So I reverted to the rat traps.

I put the traps under overturned window boxes (because they are deep and allow the snapper to swing freely and not touch the 'roof' of the window box.). Then I prop up one end of the box with a bit of 2x4. Then weigh the box down with a rock. Now birds can't get at it and neither do squirrels.

At first no matter what I used for bait (peanut butter, seeds, etc.) the 'munks would clean them out without springing the trap. The darn bait holder isn't that senstive, I guess. Well, this will sound crazy (but chipmunks will do that to you), I decided I needed to keep the bait on the holder so the 'munks had to actually touch it. Soooo...

I grabbed my hot glue gun, layered on a wad of glue then pressed in a tempting pile of sunflower seeds. Voila! That bait isn't going to go anywhere and it won't attract the ants like the peanut butter.

Today was a field test. I made 3 traps. *snap* *Snap* *SNAP* *SNAP* !! I got 4 chipmunks (and a mouse!) in less than 3 hours. And the bait is doing okay.

Crazy, huh? Yeah, but crazy like a fox! ;-D

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 2:34PM
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We had had a problem with chipmunks for several years. My beloved spouse wanted nothing to do with the swimming pool method. We did not want to try poisons for all the obvious reasons.

I have a solution that has worked like a charm for me. It is a product called a Rat Zapper. It is an electronic rat trap.

I bought one and I created a weather proof cover using a transparent plastic container that had a removable lid. I cut a hole in the side of the container to allow entry. I used a transparent container because the trap has a light on the top that indicates when it has caught something.

I added some sunflower seeds to the trap and some in the container and set it out. For the last 3 days the light has been on each morning, one dead chipmunk each time.

Just take the trap out of the container, shake the victim out of the trap into a garbage can, re-bait and wait for another.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 9:55AM
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I have become a firm believer in the chipmunk 5-gallon swimming pool that is talked about here. The second day it was up I fished out 4, the following day, 3 more. This is a sure-fire and inexpensive way to get rid of the critters that were tearing up my bird-feeder and digging holes in the yard. Thanks for the posting on this method!!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 4:27PM
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I live in the country and love the wildlife here. But over 7 years I have watched the chipmunk population explode. I did nothing when they ate $400 worth of lily bulbs. When they nest in the down spouts, I kept cleaning out the nests. But this year, they were digging tunnels in and under the roots of all of my container vegetables and raspberries. The front garden has so many tunnels, it collapses when I walk in the garden. Enough. I researched every way to humanely reduce the population. I decided on the Rat Zapper. In 4 weeks, only putting the trap out in sunny weather, we have caught 15 chipmunks and 4 field mice in ONLY a 6' section in front of one of the garage doors.I can't even imagine how many we actually have around the house. I have 1.5 acres of mostly cleared land with wildlife habitats here and there. The chipmunks can have the whole thing but NOT my gardens circling the house. Does anyone know how many chipmunks can populate an acre? I am going to continue using the Rat Zapper until we do not catch anymore in front or in back against the house. Then I am moving onto the vole problem. If anyone has a chipmunk problem, the Rat Zapper is certainly more humane than using the water in a bucket system which is just terrible. Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 10:19AM
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I tried the PoD (pool of death) and it worked great. I had a chippie in the pool in the first 2 hours. However, contrary to what has been said the chippie can swim. He struggled and thrashed around in the "pool" for 3 hours before giving up the fight. It did not seem the right way to kill an animal.
If the rat zapper was cheaper I would use it. I am going to try the rat trap method. Any problems with the rat traps other than disposal? Any suggestions for using them?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 2:55PM
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Reporting successful results with the Pool of Death.
My love affair with the little Chippies ended this year when they have decided that our garden was their turf and created tunnels and tracks networking all of their feeding grounds (our bulbs). Worse, they have completely undermined the stone walls lining our driveway, creating a genuine safety hazard, never mind a ~$6K masonry bill.
After reading this thread and it's predecessor, I set up a PoD and drowned two chippies last night.
I used a ramp made of a 2x4 to which I stuck a trail of peanut butter blobs dotted with sunflower seeds. I left a solid layer of sunflower seeds on the surface of the water.
I really do love the little bastards (I have a large framed photograph of one of them hanging on my wall), but the population needed to be controlled. This method is potentially more cruel but a lot safer and potentially more legal than my alternate method which is a pellet gun shot to the head.
Sorry Chippies.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 11:59AM
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Wow, what a method, the POD really works well. I put one ( POD, but dry) out and all the suckers did was eat the sunflower seeds off the inclined board. I did use peanut butter on the board to help hold the seeds. After two (2) reseeding I finally filled the bucket up about 2/3 full, and yes, the seeds floated. Within 2 hours I have bagged two (2) of the suckers. Don't know how many I have out there, but I am going to keep it going for a while. I now have neighbors who want to do it. Thanks everybody for the directions and suggestions.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 2:03PM
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I have found 6 or 8 holes about 1-1/2" wide with some dirt mounded next to it. I have not seen any rodents to be able to make a decision on what it digging these holes. In some of the readings I have done online it says that voles do not mound dirt so I'm back to wondering about chipmunks. BTW, these holes are under a tree that has shallow roots.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 3:09PM
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One day I found my small lawn in Nevada invaded by chipmunks. They drilled about 30 vertical tunels of 1-2 inch diameter across. I placed in each tunnel 1/4 ounce of poison for mice by TOMCAT company. Cost $25, time 30 minutes, and they were gone.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 1:45PM
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POD works for a while, covering it with a slit piece of newspaper works for some time but the best way to approach this "swimming pool" is with a "balanced" diving board on the end of the ramp. Put the tape on the bottom and balance so that any weight on the end will cause the diving board to go horizontal. Caught six in less than a half hour, just had to rebait.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 5:21PM
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make that the diving board goes vertical!!!!!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 5:31PM
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So glad I read about the chipmunk swimming pool. This has been very effective for us, three dead in 5 days. Just using sunflower seeds. Have bucket next to patio with yard stick reaching half way over bucket. I check it all the time, mine have all died fast. I'm wondering if the guy above had his bucket filled high enough. If it was too low and the chipmunk was able to jump up and get a breath I can see why it went on for three hours. My five gallon bucket is half full and we have no issues.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 7:50PM
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Try this method for chipmunk removal:

Here is a link that might be useful: chipmunk / rodent bucket trap

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 11:11AM
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