Many would assume that wee little chipmunks are most often spooked by the larger hazards of their yardscape — cats, lawn mowers, the occasional hawk, kids on bikes, and Nasty Nate, the cranky octagenarian in the corner house.
But, in fact, chipmunks are most often spooked — like this guy right here — by chinch bugs. That’s right: chinch bugs. Blissus leucopterus. That tiny pest of Southern American grasslands across multiple states.
The young nymphs of this voracious pestiferous species are small (2 mm or less), bright (almost luminous) red, banded about the abdomen in white, and have a distinctive screech, that, when rendered abruptly upon a chipmunk unawares, is capable of sending said chipmunk vertically airborne, wide-eyed, in an instantaneous cold shivering sweat.
The particular chinch bug encountered here has clearly got its screech down to a science.