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Can Chipmunks Damage a House Foundation?

Last Updated: 16.06.24


Although they may seem harmless creatures, chipmunks can and will steal your food and damage your plants, garden, and various belongings, should they find an opportunity to do so.

In our recent post, we have covered various general facts about chipmunks, their destructive behavior, and chipmunk traps, and we will go into more details today so you can be ready to deal with these little rodents if they reach your place.

Read on if you want to get a chipmunk-proof house, learn more about the various damages they can cause, and discourage them from exploring your property.


Signs of chipmunk activity

It’s enough to think of the nature of a rodent to imagine the damages such an animal can cause when exploring and searching for food. If you’ve noticed awkward things around your place such as uprooted plants, bird feed missing, burrows, and other similar signs of unusual activity, you might be dealing with some curious and hungry chipmunks in search of food.

While some of the damages they cause may be of little importance, others are serious enough to make you take safety measures and make sure your place is not chipmunk-friendly. For example, chipmunks have a great time burrowing and they will make tunnels in a variety of places including gardens, lawns, woodlands, and under your home foundation and deck.

Even if the tunnels they dig are not significant in width, over time, such tunnels may weaken the structural integrity of a deck or a house. It’s true that there should be many tunnels to reach this unfortunate point yet that doesn’t mean you should leave chipmunks to have fun and damage your place while they’re doing so.

Chipmunks and health risks

Getting your plants, garden, deck, and other belongings damaged is not the only bad thing that happens when chipmunks are around. Unfortunately, these rodents are disease carriers and they can jeopardize your health if they scratch or bite you. Don’t be fooled by their cuteness and size. They are rodents and will use their physical capacities to protect themselves if needed.

The diseases they can transmit to humans include the Colorado tick fever, rabies, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and plague. Moreover, chipmunks can carry fleas or be bitten by such pests, and thus become even more dangerous as far as your health safety is concerned.


Cover or remove foods chipmunks like

To avoid such damages and minimize the risk of getting your health affected, there are various things you can do to discourage these rodents from reaching your home. Start by removing any food that might attract chipmunks. If you use bird feeders, place them away from your house and pick up any bird feed that falls to the ground.

In case you grow edible plants, vegetables, and fruit trees, you should cover them, as much as possible. Installing a wire-mesh fence around your plants is a good option. Just make sure that you bury the bottom of it deep into the ground. By doing so, you will prevent the chipmunks from burrowing under it.

The market now offers taste repellents that you can spray on the plants you want to protect. They will make the plants taste bad and thus keep chipmunks at bay. Just make sure you apply this solution as instructed. Check the label to see if there are any ingredients you should stay away from.

Remove nuts and fruits that have fallen to the ground. Keeping your yard free of alluring lunches and dinners will eventually discourage these rodents from visiting your place and will make them go elsewhere to find food.

Organize your garden

Chipmunks won’t just eat whatever they find appealing on your property but will also burrow and leave damages behind. To stop them from doing that, you can resort to a few relatively simple methods to get a chipmunk-proof garden.

These rodents love to hide and will use any shelter they can find to do that. If you have trees, they will most probably target them for shelter. If there are no trees in your yard, they may use any pile of rocks or debris to hide from you or predators.

Remove any such potential shelter including wood and rock piles as well as shrubs and cut overgrown grass as chipmunks will use them as a hiding spot. They can target your plants not only to feed but also to hide. It thus gets even more of a necessity to cover them with a wire-mesh fence. You can also surround the plant area with gravel in order to stop them from digging.


Use chipmunk repellents

To make sure your house and garden won’t be targeted by chipmunks, you can also use chipmunk repellents or traps. There is a variety of such products available these days ranging from the classic traps to ultrasonic devices or bright motion-sensor lights. The effectiveness provided may vary, though, therefore it is best to employ at least two different types of traps or repellents.

You can go for garden owl decoys that move their wings or light up and a classic trap. In case you opt for a trap and you do trap chipmunks, don’t keep them inside it for too long and release the animals into the wild. Do so only after you’ve taken all the safety measures such as wearing protective equipment.

Electronic devices and repellents like water sprinkles are popular because they contain no harmful chemicals. You can also place moth flakes where chipmunks usually come. The strong odor should keep them away.

If you have a dog, you have greater chances to repel chipmunks. Dogs will chase and even kill these rodents, so it is safer to keep the pet leashed and thus prevent the animal from hunting down chipmunks. If they do so, they risk getting some of the diseases carried by these rodents.

Make house adjustments

If you’re concerned that chipmunks could damage your house foundation or use your attic or any other part of your house for shelter, you need to take a few more steps to make sure they have no access to your house.

Given their size, chipmunks can easily squeeze in between crevices and cracks. Covering all the cracks and openings is thus compulsory if you want to stop them from getting in. You can use construction foam for cracks. If there are any openings around your door or windows, make use of rubber stripping to cover them.

Still, that might not be enough to stop the rodents from reaching your house. They can burrow under the deck, house foundation, or other structures. Therefore, installing a wire mesh under the ground against such structures is a great way to protect your place. Just make sure that you install it in an L shape and bury it deep into the ground, 1 foot or so.

If you’ve noticed signs of chipmunk activity yet you don’t have the right equipment or training to remove the animals safely, get professional help. Plus, see your doctor in case you get scratched or bitten by a chipmunk.




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