PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Darting in and out without prediction chipmunks and mice are having a field day. It is their time of year and they are surfacing in familiar spaces to the chagrin of homeowners.

“Chipmunks will eat seeds, but they’ll also eat different types of insects. Occasionally, newly hatched birds and fresh grass, stems,” says Russ Rusiski of Complete Pest Control Services.

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While Disney’s Chip and Dale branded chipmunks with a cuddly cute image the fact is over time they can be destructive.

“They can do some undermining to patios, over years,” says Rusiski.

For pest experts like Rusiski chipmunks are difficult to control.

“They don’t reliably take any type of baits or poisons. You can have some minimal success live trapping them but it’s just a never-ending problem,” he explains. “When Chipmunks are removed from a yard, it’s more like a vacancy sign going off at the motel, and others move in, literally just quickly as you get rid of them.”

Rusiski says your best defense is to remove ground cover like ivy and pachysandra.

“Don’t give them ready available food. Don’t feed the birds, or if you do feed the birds try to move that bird feeder as far away from the house as you can,” he recommends.

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He says that is also true for mice.

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“The birds will kick a lot of food onto the ground and the mice eat that up,” he says.

Rusiski flashes a knowing smile when a customer says they keep seeing a mouse.

“It’s almost never the same mouse. You never have one, they have about six to eight babies every couple of months or so. And it can multiply pretty darn quickly,” he says.

He says we unwittingly create the perfect environments for mice.

“If you’re packing your basement with a lot of boxes and storage up against the walls and you don’t get through there very often, mice, love those types of areas, and will nest throughout that,” Rusiski says.

And if you are working in your yard and leave the garage door open…“mice will find that, in the blink of an eye, especially if they’re in the area.”

As for those commercially sold mouse repellants, “A lot of oils like peppermint oil. I don’t use it very often with my clients. You have to replace it and keep it fresh. And for it to annoy the mice. It has to annoy us, man it has to be strong enough that we sense it too.”

Setting traps is effective but he says put them in areas where the mice might enter your home like near the garage door or anywhere there is an opening as small as a dime.

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And if you catch one, reset the trap because you will likely catch more.