Chipmunks are rodents, just like squirrels and mice, and have some of the same bad habits -- including chewing through walls, nesting inside people’s houses, and a taste for many human foods. Because chipmunks are burrowing animals, a large chipmunk colony can seriously damage your lawn. Choosing the right chipmunk bait is a key part of any chipmunk control scheme.
Trap and Release
If the chipmunks in your backyard have gone from cute visitors to serious pests, the best solution is to live-trap them, using bait and a non-lethal chipmunk trap. The captured chipmunks can then be transported several miles away and released with little danger that they’ll return.
Nuisance chipmunks can also be killed using baited rat traps -- but this risks harm to birds, pets and children. Poisoned baits should never be used with chipmunks: the dying chipmunks will seek a sheltered place to die, which is often underneath the house or inside the walls. Chipmunks may be small, but they release a lingering unpleasant smell as they decompose.
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Nut and Fruit Baits
There’s no need to purchase manufactured bait for chipmunks -- their favorite foods are all found in your kitchen or grocery store. Chipmunks generally feed on nuts, seeds and fruits. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are effective seed baits. Plum or prune slices and raisins are good fruit baits, and even plum pits will draw chipmunks’ interest. Chipmunks also love peanuts -- especially peanuts in the shell, either roasted or unroasted. Just be sure any peanuts you use for bait are unsalted.
Cereal and Corn Baits
Even if you don’t have any fruit or nuts handy, you can still make effective chipmunk bait. Almost all of the grains that we eat are attractive to chipmunks. Breakfast cereals make good bait, as do all forms of corn -- even popcorn will attract the little critters.
Chipmunks are most active early in the morning and late in the afternoon, so this is when your baits will be at their most effective. Their burrows are hard to spot, but are often hidden near buildings, gardens, woodpiles or tree stumps. Chipmunks will be suspicious of new items placed in their environment, so you may want to bait the trap for a few days before activating it. Once the chipmunk is regularly feeding on the bait in the trap, it will be less alert and more easily trapped.