Our War Against The Chipmunks

This is the third summer season that we’ve been in our house. I really don’t count the first one (2007) because we moved in late June, so we barely had a handle on things and I really didn’t know a lot of what was going on.
That year, I did the basics, mowing the grass weeds and pulling weeds from the beds. But, it was only last year that I really started working on really making the outside look better. I attacked the weeds that were filling in the grass and made it look like a real lawn again, mulched the beds, and we also got some flowers to adorn our deck.
The flowers themselves didn’t do so hot, and it turns out we weren’t getting the right type of flowers for the type of sun we got.
So, this year rolls around and we went to the nursery, armed with the knowledge of what flowers would thrive on our deck. We bought them, planted them, and watched with glee as they thrived.
At first.
Now, they aren’t looking so hot. Well, at least the yellow pansies that we have aren’t looking so good. The other flowers (mostly geraniums) are doing OK.
It turns out that the chipmunks are the culprit.
That’s right, chipmunks. Alvin, Simon, Theodore, and they’re host of friends and family.
After the winter thaw, I noticed some strange holes in the ground in the front planting ed under the tree. I figured something was underground, and sure enough, my suspicions were confirmed when the hole kept re-appearing after I filled it in. I even placed a rock that weighed a few pounds on top, only to find it moved.
After keeping an eye on things and consulting with my father and father-in-law, I confirmed that we had chipmunks.

I decided our property needed to be ridded of these beasts. Initially, I had done some research and found that an effective way of eliminating them is to drown them. A five gallon bucket of water with sunflower seeds placed over the water, and a small ramp so they can get to the top is a pretty effective way to get them. They love sunflower seeds, they go to get them, fall in, and that’s all she wrote.
Unfortunately, my wife made me feel so guilty about this plan that I decided against it.
Instead, my father-in-law loaned me one of his traps. The idea being that I would trap them and take them elsewhere. While releasing animals isn’t exactly legal where I live, it is more humane than killing them off.
So, I started setting the trap and caught eight of the little buggers (as well as one really annoyed squirrel) and released them a couple of miles away. Still, I knew that we weren’t rid of them as I still saw them around occasionally.
But, I got lazy as I got tied up with other projects, including staining the deck.
The deck staining involved me moving the flower pots out of the way underneath trees and what not. Apparently, this attracted the chipmunks to ’sample’ the flowers, because when we went to put the flower pots back on the deck, it was with sadness that we noted that our yellow pansies, which previously had been taking over the pots, were now largely wilted messes.
At first, we attributed this to the heat wave that we had last week, when temps were in the 90’s.
Still, the condition didn’t improve even with extra watering and fertilizing, and I couldn’t figure out the deal.
Until a couple of days ago, when I looked outside and saw a chipmunk reach up and yank on the flower, tearing pieces off and uprooting it from the soil.
I actually went outside and chased it off the deck, but either it or another one was back at it a bit later.
I have cayenne pepper spray repellent that is supposed to keep the animals away. I sprayed that on the flowers, and tried my best to replant them (though not sure if they’re too damaged yet or not).
After my wife saw this, she was finally understanding of why I wanted to rid our property of these pests. Prior to that, I think she watched with some level of amusement as I was catching and transporting them, but after seeing what they were doing to her flowers, she was all for the war to continue. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if she opened up to the bucket idea!
So, I went back to trying to catch them last night. My father-in-law caught 25 or so before it slowed down, so I could have a ways to go.
Last night was the first time I went back to setting the trap, but was unfortunately not able to catch any. The reason, heavy winds in the area that kept tripping the trap.
I’ll have to try again.
Let’s hope that we can ‘re-locate’ the chipmunks and save our flowers!

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