Chipmunk invasion

Hi Dopers,
This is a two part question based on a one-part situation.

The wife noticed a chipmunk rummaging through her clean laundry basket in the basement this morning. On my perusal of the laundry area, I noticed a few more clues about their presence (like I needed any more…). The little rodents have eaten completely through the dryer vent tube in multiple places. I’m guessing this is their point of entry, since I also noticed from the outside of the house that there is no grate/screen of any kind covering the dryer vent. The chipmunks have also taken up residence in the wall of the basement, taking advantage of a too-large hole for the washer/sink drain pipe. Spent acorns everywhere.

So, the questions:

  1. Do I need an extra-strength or homebrewed method to screen the dryer vent tube, or can I pick up a regular-ol’ one at the local hardware store (or home depot)? What will these buggers chew through? Note that there’s nothing in the laundry room or basement attracting their presence like food or water, just a nice cave for them.

  2. What sort of poison can I toss through the hole in the wall in case they are living in there or have dug a hole from outside? Will mouse poison do? Rat posion?


I saw the guy on Gardening By The Yard address this subject a couple weeks ago. Here’s the episode in print:,,HGTV_3578_3910358,00.html

There are also other links that discuss things like human hair, aviary wire, urine, etc. that seem to work.

Good luck with the invasion!

I forgot to add that this episode involved guiding them out of your yard with castor oil pellets. Getting them out of the house would work the same way, I’d guess.

I checked out the local hardware store, and they’ve got louvred & screened exhaust covers.

Anybody got any info on the best way to kill chipmunks if I still find them in the house?

This site gives an excellent example on how NOT to do it.

Don’t try to kill the chipmunks still living in the house, if they die in the house you will have nasty odor problem shortly thereafter.
Here are some hints on chipmunk deterrents

A ready made screen or a piece of 1/4" mesh hardware cloth will protect entry via the vent. COARSE steel wool stuffed in any cracks, crevices, or other openings will deter them. All rodents are turned off trying to chew it.

Rat and mouse pellets will kill them, the castor oil product will run them out of the house. Maybe try both?

A friend of mine used a different technique to get rid of an infestation of chipmunks in his rock wall. He filled a 5 gallon pail 1/2 way with water and then put about 1/2 inch of birdseed in. The birdseed floats on top of the water. He then put what he called “the plank” (a small narrow board) across from the wall to the edge of the pail. Chipmunks jump off the plank into what they think is a pail of birdseed and…
He has all but eliminated his problem.

Another thing that will drive them out of their/your lair is a mothball or two.

You said they had chewed through the vent tube. If you have the flexy plastic vent tube, replace it right away with the rigid aluminum ducting. The flexy stuff is no longer allowed in fire codes. It clogs much faster than smooth tube, and it is combustible. The Home Depot will have everything you’ll need.

According to this thread, all you need is for your neighbor to get a couple of cats.

Personally, I’d try to get the basement cleared out as much as possible, put some sturdy screening over the end of the dryer vent, and set a live trap or two in the basement just in case there are still some in there.

If you’ve got chipmunks, be sure to be on the lookout for a cute little girl-mouse and a big fat Australian mouse with a pet fly, too.