By Gail Marsh
Many RVers invest in a television satellite dish. It’s nice to have reliable TV wherever and whenever you want to tune in to your favorite shows, but be careful where you choose to install your TV satellite dish. We heard of one fellow who put his television satellite on the ground right outside his RV. He placed the satellite on a couple of bricks, leveled the unit, and returned inside within 10 minutes. “Genius!” the guy said to himself. “I didn’t have to climb on top of the RV roof. No messing with long lengths of coax cable either. If anything goes wrong, I can go outside and within four steps, easily access my satellite dish and correct any problem!”
The genius guy’s TV reception was excellent. With an unobstructed sky view, he and his wife enjoyed many weeks of great television enjoyment. Until suddenly… they didn’t! The confident RVer stepped out of his rig to check on the satellite dish. Nothing seemed amiss. The unit still sat securely atop the bricks and the wires remained well connected. Going back inside, Genius checked the connections on his television. Everything was as it should be. A lengthy call to his TV provider resulted in no solution either.
Frustrated, Genius went back outside and picked up the satellite dish to take another, closer look. Sand poured out. Followed by ants. Lots and lots of ants! Dropping the unit, Genius danced around, screaming like a banshee, frantically swiping at a sizeable, angry ant colony whose home he’d just disturbed. The ants had been hard at work for weeks, relocating their digs to a well-sheltered and shaded space inside Genius’s satellite dish. The satellite dish was ruined. Even if the ants and sand could have been thoroughly removed, the unit broke when Genius dropped it!
Ants! They can pose big problems for RVers. While some areas of the country seem more susceptible to infestations, ants can be found almost everywhere.
What’s an RVer to do?
First, try to find out where the ants are getting in (inside your cupboards, under your sinks, in your satellite dish, etc.). Any place that your RV and its components touch the ground is a potential entry point for ants: wheels, stabilizers, water hoses, electric wire, etc. You’ll also want to take a look at the vegetation that may come into contact with your rig: bushes, tall grass, even tree leaves that touch the top of your RV. If you lean a bicycle, lawn chair, or portable grill against any part of your rig so it can touch both the ground and your rig, an ant (and all his buddies) will find and use it as an entry point.
Once you’ve figured out all of the potential entry points, consider using one of the many commercial ant repellents available. But check with your camp host first! Ask if they are aware of the ant problem and if they have plans to treat the campground. Also, inquire whether it’s permissible for you to apply pesticides for the ants camping near your rig. (Many places will not allow you to do this!) You’ll want to consider the potential effects on nearby pets, children, and other wildlife before you spray or set out ant bait or ant traps outside your RV. Carefully read and follow the insecticide directions.
A great kid- and pet-friendly alternative to pesticides is Diatomaceous Earth. This powder will not harm humans or animals and can be easily applied to potential entry points outside your RV. You can also sprinkle D.E. inside your rig if you’ve got a big infestation of ants. Again, carefully follow the application and follow-up instructions.
Once you’ve stopped ants from coming in, do all you can to eliminate the “lucky” ones who escaped your outside measures. Store food in airtight containers. Do not allow dirty dishes or food wrappers to accumulate anywhere inside your rig. Frequently wipe down places where food is prepared and/or consumed and do not allow any food to set out where it may attract ants. When you store your rig, drain all of the water, if possible. (Yes, water will attract ants as well as food!)
Here’s to happy satellite TV viewing, and happy ant-free camping!