What to do about Chipmunks Chewing Wires in Your Sprinkler System

They are cute and fun to watch until you see them picking irrigation wire out of their little teeth!  Chipmunks chewing wires can wreak havoc on your sprinkler system.

I wish I were kidding.

Did you know that chipmunks chewing wires can do some serious damage to your sprinkler system. They tunnel into irrigation valve boxes in your landscape and chew on the wiring causing parts or all of your sprinkler system to short out and not function.  Re-wiring a sprinkler system in the wake of chipmunks chewing wires can be an expensive repair.

How to Ban Chipmunks Chewing Wires

There are several methods you can use to combat the little guys humanely.  Spray repellants on the market  sprayed inside valve boxes discourage chipmunks from taking up residence inside your sprinkler system valve boxes and they work great.  Just be sure to spray every 30 days or so to ban chipmunks chewing wires.

My favorite method is live, humane, catch and release traps.  You can find them in your local garden store.  I have personally caught and released 22 chipmunks in my yard in only 2 months time and relocated them to the woodlands where they have plenty of room to play and do their little chipmunk things.

Catching them is easy.  Place the live traps in your flower beds where the chipmunks normally travel through.  You don’t even need to bait the trap; they’ll jump right in there for you.  I used 2 traps and often had travelers waiting for their shuttle ride to the trailhead in each.

Very important, check the live traps every morning and afternoon as you will be surprised how many you catch and how fast.  I thought I had 3 or 4 and caught 22!

Now It’s Time to Repair the Sprinkler System

Every automatic sprinkler system has a controller, valves and sprinkler heads.  The valves have wires that run underground from the yard back to the controller and each valve should be located in a valve box.  Many times the grass can grow completely covering a valve box or dirt and mulch can hide a valve box from view making troubleshooting a sprinkler system more complicated.  The chipmunks find them easily, but we above-ground dwellers need special equipment.

That’s when you need an irrigation repair company that has underground wire tracing and fault finding equipment; and knows how to use it!  Pay attention, the later is important.  If the irrigation company does not own their locating equipment, chances are they won’t know how to use it either.

Beware of Harming the Environment


The EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, controls many insecticides, which makes it illegal to get creative with their use and prohibits use other than as required on the label.  Mothballs are an insecticide controlled by the EPA and the label calls for only using them in enclosed containers to control moths in clothes.  In the garden, mothballs are a significant environmental hazard.  Containing either paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene, they are highly poisonous for children, pets and wildlife.  In addition to that, mothballs in the garden and can harm your plants too, which defeats the purpose.  These chemicals are harmful to our water supply.

I know chipmunks chewing wires in your sprinkler system can make you crazy, by the same token, they want to live on this earth too.  So do the right thing and get the humane traps.

Don’t end up like this guy.

bill_murray_caddyshack chipmunks chewing wires BlueSkyRain.com

Birmingham, Alabama only – you’ll want to read this too!