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Vegetable Gardening: CHIPMUNKS HELP!

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Forum: Vegetable GardeningReplies: 36, Views: 247
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hillabeans
Chaska, MN
(Zone 4a)

July 1, 2013
6:10 PM

Post #9582547

So I have had my veggie garden for about 8 years now. THis year we redid all the beds with cement block. The entire garden is fenced with wire fencing, plus chicken wire and electric wire about 15 in. up around the whole thing. I have not ever seen a problem with Chipmunks before... but now, I have caught them frolicking in my garden.

they plucked out my corn babies, and then the re-seeded seeds. Third time I covered the dirt with hardware cloth and cayenne pepper and that has helped.

But I think THEY are eating the bases of my yellow sqash and zuc. plants. Lost three so far. Scars at the base... No other BUG evidence. I was just getting ready to harvest my first peas of the season (very late due to garden re-do and LATE spring here in MN).. but this is what I found tonight... UGHHHH!

How do I keep them out???? I'm thinking only way is to line the fence with hardware cloth (1/4in. holes) the entire way around... but I'm hating that idea.. plus couldn't they just climb over it??

Suggestions welcomed!

Thumbnail by hillabeans
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jmc1987

jmc1987
Cascade, VA
(Zone 7a)

July 1, 2013
9:15 PM

Post #9582804

at this point i would seriously be considering squirrel stew, lol
DonShirer
Westbrook, CT
(Zone 6a)

July 2, 2013
4:16 AM

Post #9582921

I had to line the bottom of my raised beds with hardware cloth last year to keep them from decimating the veggies. Fewer problems this year.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 2, 2013
4:54 AM

Post #9582954

We have these pests, too. They eat the bird seed. My little dog chases them, but they keep coming back.

I haven't had a problem with them eating garden seeds - YET!
SteveOh
Cherry Grove, OH
(Zone 6b)

July 3, 2013
5:26 AM

Post #9584404

We have a recurring chipmunk problem in our vegetable gardens. They are very destructive, digging up seeds and eating seedlings and climbing our fruit trees, and berry bushes to eat the ripe fruit. They easily climb fences as well. The destructive critters also chew their way into any small crack found in wood buildings and can cause serious damage there as well. Covering our garden and buildings with hardware cloth isn't really an option.

The chipmunk problem is so bad we catch 10-12 for each field mouse we trap.
Here they are vermin and need to be controlled.

The hawks do get some but they are more interested in the squirrels. We had to resort to traps to rid ourselves of these pests. We used snap traps (typical mouse traps)in the beginning, but Havahart makes a very good live trap which works much better than the snap traps. Bait with a small dollop of peanut butter sprinkled with a bit of bird seed or sunflower seed.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 3, 2013
6:27 AM

Post #9584491

Steve - I had wondered whether mouse traps would work against chipmunks. I think I'll try some. We have a problem with voles getting into the house during the winter, so I already have mouse traps.

With the Havahart trap - what do you do with the chipmunks you catch? I can't see releasing them somewhere else.

Lily_love

Lily_love
Central, AL
(Zone 7b)

July 3, 2013
8:41 AM

Post #9584666

HoneybeeNC wrote
Quoting: With the Havahart trap - what do you do with the chipmunks you catch? I can't see releasing them somewhere else.


chipmunks soup? Chipmunks buggers? Only kidding. LOL

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 3, 2013
8:51 AM

Post #9584685

Lily - I think once chipmunks were skinned, dressed, and de-boned there would be very little left in the way of food. LOL

Now give me a big, fat wild rabbit and I could make hasenpfeffer stew like I did when I lived in the wilds of Tennessee.
scbuttercup
(Judy) Simpsonville, SC
(Zone 8a)

July 3, 2013
10:13 AM

Post #9584799

Red tailed hawks, snakes and barred owl took care of our population for a while but this summer the predators are not around and chipmunks are doing some minor damage, I hope it doesn't get as bad as what you have. Really the natural predators do the trick. Need to figure how to attract predators.

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

July 3, 2013
12:01 PM

Post #9584950

It seems like chipmunks have had a huge population boom everywhere this year; I keep hearing this complaint.

We've got lots of predators here but they don't seem interested in chipmunks with so many fat squirrels and rabbits running around.

Cybrczch

Cybrczch
Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5b)

July 3, 2013
12:52 PM

Post #9585125

Lily - reminds me of that Christmas demented classic "Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire" by Bob Rivers

Lily_love

Lily_love
Central, AL
(Zone 7b)

July 3, 2013
2:35 PM

Post #9585276

Cybrczch, I've to google for that. Sorry, that's pretty demented period! I'll politely accuse myself from the thread. Happy gardening everyone.
SteveOh
Cherry Grove, OH
(Zone 6b)

July 3, 2013
4:08 PM

Post #9585434

HoneybeeNC wrote:Steve - I had wondered whether mouse traps would work against chipmunks. I think I'll try some. We have a problem with voles getting into the house during the winter, so I already have mouse traps.

With the Havahart trap - what do you do with the chipmunks you catch? I can't see releasing them somewhere else.


Well, it may sound macabre, but I drop the whole live trap in a 7-gallon bucket of ice water.
The cold water kills them very quickly and as humanely as possible.

Snap traps do work, but I had only about 25% success. One would catch a chipmunk, to three "empties".
With the Havahart I would catch up to 4-5 per trap per day.

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

July 3, 2013
5:41 PM

Post #9585539

A BB or a pellet through the head sounds a lot more humane to me than freezing to death.
SteveOh
Cherry Grove, OH
(Zone 6b)

July 3, 2013
6:35 PM

Post #9585625

NicoleC wrote:A BB or a pellet through the head sounds a lot more humane to me than freezing to death.


Certainly a valid alternative, I have no qualms with that.
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

July 3, 2013
8:54 PM

Post #9585774

A friend just suggested another way to catch chipmunks if you have the stomach. He takes a 5 gallon bucket and fills it maybe a third to half full with water. Then he tilts it slightly, puts a board sprinkled with sunflower seeds up to the rim. He also sprinkles sunflower seeds on the top of the water. The chipmunks eat along the board and then jump into the water for the rest and drown! He says it works every time. I haven't tried it yet but am tempted. I just need to get the sunflower seeds.

I think it would be easy to set up using the back steps since I wouldn't have to tilt anything and could just lay a board from the top step across to the bucket.
AdamAgain
SW, AR
(Zone 8a)

July 4, 2013
4:45 AM

Post #9585958

SteveOh wrote:

Well, it may sound macabre, but I drop the whole live trap in a 7-gallon bucket of ice water.
The cold water kills them very quickly and as humanely as possible.

Snap traps do work, but I had only about 25% success. One would catch a chipmunk, to three "empties".
With the Havahart I would catch up to 4-5 per trap per day.



Ďoh
in OH,
Thatís cold!

Did you have your snap traps tuned and set to a hair trigger? Was the bait gone on the empties? Were they tripped? If tripped but empty, were the empties away from the spots where they were originally set.

The trap might be catching, but the target is struggling free. A snap trap is not designed to hold the target; itís designed to kill it quickly, usually by a broken neck. You might need a stronger snap trap, and then you can save that ice for beer, or veggie blanching.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 4, 2013
10:34 AM

Post #9586471

Do chipmunks come out at night?

Something eats the bird seed at night, but it could be a raccoon, or (gasp!) rats!

It's definitely not a bear or deer.
hillabeans
Chaska, MN
(Zone 4a)

July 5, 2013
7:53 AM

Post #9587574

Thanks guys. Though I do hate to kill most any living thing... I did resort to letting my husband set rat traps. Got 7 in less than 24 hrs. We are still going to finish up with the hardware cloth, to deter other things... Hopefully they will communicate to their buddies and move away...

ps. the snap traps we have are the cheap wood/metal "vector" traps from Fleet Farm. Cost about $1 each for the big ones.. probably 6"x3". they snap hard... and death seems immediate. So I'm hoping suffering is very minimal. Like I said.. I hate to kill anything.. but I have to protect my investment.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 5, 2013
9:15 AM

Post #9587678

When we lived in Florida, my hubby set a trap for rats that kept eating the bird seed at night. He promised to remove the trap before sun up to avoid catching birds by mistake. Of course he forgot, and a beautiful blue jay died! Hubby came very close to a smack up side of his head that day!

Now I'm in a dither. I'd like to catch the chipmunks because their numbers are increasing, but I don't want to catch either birds or my small dog in a rat trap. I can't see me drowning them. I believe if one kills something, it should be as quick and painless as possible.

Maybe I could put a rat trap up high enough to be out of the reach of my dog with bait that chipmunks would find attractive, but birds would not?

Any ideas would be appreciated.

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

July 5, 2013
7:27 PM

Post #9588394

Anyone tried the doggy deterrent of Bitter Apple, or the electronic things, just asking...

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

July 6, 2013
4:17 AM

Post #9588603

Last time I tried Bitter Apple, my dog ate the bottle.

The only natural critter stopper I have found is garlic. Rabbits won't pass a barrier of garlic plants planted every 6 inches. That doesn't do much good mid-summer, but a really stinky perennial onion might do? I don't know if chipmunks are smart enough to go over or not. Or even if they hate garlic as well.

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

July 6, 2013
6:14 AM

Post #9588675

Guess I am more practical than you guys. My daughter uses the sticky traps for mice, which lull them for a few hours, I use a rock. Have noticed an increase in the lil guys, This year has been better at food resources they eat, so the numbers increase. Al and NC may have issues with the humidity affecting the bitter products, doubt garlic would work since they like veggies...maybe you could get owl, hawk pheromones scat to leave around? Ground hog numbers are on the rise too.
SteveOh
Cherry Grove, OH
(Zone 6b)

July 6, 2013
12:10 PM

Post #9589065

Sticky traps I refuse to use because they catch more birds than anything else when used outdoors. At least here in SW OH.

Snap traps didn't catch nearly as many rodents as the Havahart traps, but they are cheap and somewhat effective. If you do use snap traps, be sure to use the larger "rat" traps for chipmunks. The smaller "mouse" traps can work but success rate is low.

The Havaharts have caught birds and squirrels, but since it doesn't kill them, I can release them unharmed.

Yes it is an extra step (and one some don't have the stomach to do) to dispatch the chipmunks after they are live caught, but the live traps are simply the most effective at controlling the chipmunks (and field mice)...and they don't kill other wildlife that is inadvertently caught as long as you check them regularly.

Hawks and owls are more interested in the squirrels and rabbits, they rarely take chipmunks here. Garlic and other plant barriers are a joke. Here, I have rabbits bedding in our garlic beds and the urine and scat repellents have no effect what so ever.

I use havaharts and a pellet rifle for the small vermin and a shotgun and electric fencing for the deer. The rabbits and deer are a welcome addition to our larders, the chipmunks and other rodents get tossed in a field for the raptors. They know where to look for a free snack and it keeps them around to help manage the vermin. Nothing goes to waste.


kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

July 6, 2013
6:08 PM

Post #9589445

My daughters response to a mouse or rat is stand there and try not to scream, 41 yrs old she stands her ground, but I rofl at her attempts NOT to scream...thats ok, the boys have been trained to do the real dirty work if the cats dont catch the sluggish rodent running first and dump the trap on my bedspreads, chuckle. Moles are my issue, I dare not let the dachsunds loose in the garden beds, sigh, and my Gypsy Rott/Wolf mix doesnt understand chasing anything less than a coon...even the deer are safe...

Thumbnail by kittriana   Thumbnail by kittriana   Thumbnail by kittriana      
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RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 7, 2013
12:09 AM

Post #9589697

For a while I lived in woods near a private nature reserve. We would occasionally be visited by small flock of wild turkeys that inspected our lawn for edibles. Usually the tom hung back, mostly out of sight.

Well, our small, timid cat learned that the hens wouldn't bother him, and wonder of wonders, they would even move away from him as if afraid. (They didn't seem at all nervous to me, just avoiding the little nuisance.)

But Toby was proud as punch, "herding" these big ladies slowly around the lawn like a placid herd of sheep.

Eventually the tom turkey decided that no one should boss his hens around but [u]him[/u], so he strutted out towards the strutting Toby, who was not at all prepared to argue with anything that large.

However, neither was Toby willing to be seen to run fearfully away from the scene where he had briefly been In Charge.

So he tried to move away from the tom [u]nonchalantly[/u], as if he had just happened to tire of o herding turkeys and was going to stroll way for a nap.

But the tom could stroll a lot faster than Toby, who kept speeding up while trying to look cool and unconcerned.

His stroll changed to a scurry and then to a dash, which was enough for Mister Tom, who strutted back to his shady spot while Toby hit the brakes, shook himself, looked around to see if anyone had caught him running away - and then reverted to his dignified strolling strut again as if nothing had happened - strutting toward his cat door, just coincidentally.



This message was edited Jul 8, 2013 6:17 PM

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

July 8, 2013
1:05 PM

Post #9591760

Chuckl, cool.
ShaynaPearl
Maynard, MA

July 11, 2013
9:43 AM

Post #9595235

hillabeans wrote:
How do I keep them out???? I'm thinking only way is to line the fence with hardware cloth (1/4in. holes) the entire way around... but I'm hating that idea.. plus couldn't they just climb over it??


They can also dig holes under it. I've wondered if getting the hardware fabric 4-6" into the ground would keep them from tunneling. And then there's still the climbing over problem.

Chipmunks ate my tomatoes last year--they ate almost all the cherry tomatoes and took bites out of the beefsteaks--but left everything else alone. This year, we have fewer chipmunks, but I'm trying to prepare for a turf war as the tomatoes ripen. (I won't kill the chipmunks, though.)

The options I'm planning to try include covering the ground of the whole tomato bed with cayenne pepper. Some people say cayenne worked for them, others say it didn't. I wonder if how and where they applied it made the difference. Many people online said that when it came to tomatoes, they thought chipmunks might simply be thirsty, so they provided water for the chippies, and it worked. In your case, with them eating things that are not for hydration, that solution probably won't help.

Please keep us posted on your successes and failures. Chipmunks are a big deal for many of us.

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

July 11, 2013
10:24 AM

Post #9595288

Chipmunks, rats, gophers HAVE TO chew to lower teeth growth. For moles 8" down, 4"above ground. gophers and chipmunks burrow deeper but to line the entire bed opens the possibility of having them tunnel under the fabric and leave it essentially floating in the air. Baskets of metal fabric are used to protect single plants from gophers...if you do not kill nor control the issue, then you provide maximum living conditions for protecting the animals and increasing their population. Umm. simply put, you arent growing veggies, you are growing pets. Responsible management is simply an adult responsibility.
helenchild
Decatur, GA

July 12, 2013
4:53 AM

Post #9596054

See my thread:
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1321156/

I have in the past rolled dog waste down obvious chipmunk holes in my garden. It got them to move. But the little roof rats are a different problem. Plus I am not convinced chipmunks do much damage.
I do know the rabbits caused problems because when I put up a fence it stopped.
I have caught the roof rats red handed as the pictures show.
Good luck.
SteveOh
Cherry Grove, OH
(Zone 6b)

July 12, 2013
5:06 AM

Post #9596069

kittriana wrote:... ...
Umm. simply put, you arent growing veggies, you are growing pets. Responsible management is simply an adult responsibility.


+1
Unfortunately, the only practical approach to handling a vermin problem is to eliminate the vermin.
Some folks feel that they need to exhaust all other options first, but, having been there, I know where that will end. There aren't other workable options for chipmunks. They can dig very well, climb exceptional well and chew through most anything but steel. They also ignore predator scents and other scent repellents, and don't give a damn about companion plantings touted to keep away vermin.

I've tried most of these repellent ideas and none of the commercial products or companion plantings had had any effect on the deer, chipmunks, field mice, etc...zero, nada, zilch. These options are akin to snake oil.
helenchild
Decatur, GA

July 12, 2013
5:13 AM

Post #9596075

I tried a spray on repellent made by Havahart - it had strong pepper type oil with the same results as Steve - a big fat zero. I think the rabbits ate the sweet potato vines freshly coated with the concoction.
(since the spray cost $16+ I took the partial bottle back to HD and got a refund)

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 12, 2013
5:14 AM

Post #9596077

Steve - been there, done that! I totally agree with you.

My best deterrent is my wonderful, cute, energetic multipoo, Chloe. She LOVES chasing varmints from the garden!

She chases them and they come back for more! It's a spectator sport. LOL

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 12, 2013
11:07 AM

Post #9596450

>> She chases them and they come back for more! It's a spectator sport. LOL

Garden TV.

ShaynaPearl
Maynard, MA

July 23, 2013
7:32 PM

Post #9610073

A neighbor in her '80s just told me how she protected her tomatoes from chipmunks last year, when they were swarming our area. She had no fence, no traps, no nothing...was just growing her tomatoes in pots. She took sheets of fabric softener for the dryer and hung them on her pots. She says the chippies hated the smell and left her tomatoes alone. Don't know if that solution would keep my tomatoes' organic status, but I do plan to try it.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 24, 2013
5:02 AM

Post #9610317

I've found a way to discourage chipmunks and squirrels.

I put a large handful of seeds in the bird feeder every morning.
This is just enough to last the birds for the day, so there's
nothing left over for the varmints. The birds clean-up every
last seed from the feeder and the ground below.

I also brought the feeder closer to the backdoor. The squirrels
are reluctant to get that close to the dog!
hillabeans
Chaska, MN
(Zone 4a)

July 24, 2013
6:18 PM

Post #9611016

Well, current count at our house is #17... but the numbers fell off sharply after the first 2 weeks. Hardware cloth is around the garden now. Yes, chipmunks could dig through... but so far haven't, and no more damage to report either.

We have birdhouses lining our garden fence, and we only saw evidence that we may have caught a couple bird feathers one time.. but no dead bird. (luckily) I would hate to get a guest vs. a pest.

I'm hopeful that they (chipmunks) have found more friendly places and will not return to my garden traps... but time will tell.

ps. the rat traps are an "instant death" option.. and I'm not sure I could "dispatch" with live caught varmints, so for me its the best option.

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