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!
When we arrived here in a Huston RV park – and discovered ants everywhere around our site, I quickly sprinkled Amdro around, especially where large amounts of ants seemed to be congregating. Then for good measure I sprayed “Home Defence” all around every part of our trailer that touched the ground – AND the perimeter of our site. Problem solved – so far.
Cinnamon oil is a great ant repellent and the aroma is really nice. Just put a reasonable amount on a small cloth or paper towel, wipe along the path the ants are using, and it eliminates their pheromone markers. Any residual ants have to wander around to reestablish pathways and are easily wiped up with another swipe of the cinnamon towel.
DE is a respiratory hazard to both humans and animals. Be very cautious if using it.
Pool grade DE is harmful to pet & human lungs.
Human grade DE is safe. It costs more but is not dangerous. Follow the directions and it works great.
I still strongly suggest wearing a mask when applying, even with food grade. It is still tiny particles that can be inhaled.
Used to work at a plant that mined and packaged DE. It is all hazardous if inhaled but personally I wouldn’t worry about the small exposure we are talking about here. It takes a long time at high exposure to be harmful. In my opinion. Worked at the plant for 14 years in very dusty conditions.
My husband works on electrical issues in RV Park. He had a power pole that had not been used for a bit. Opened it and full of ants. They ate thru insulation and fire sparked. Ants do a lot of damaged.
The author is harsh to a juvenile degree, agreed. Given my preference, I’d also use bricks to support a ground-mount satellite dish. The roof is a terribly inconvenient location for mounting, aiming, adjusting, etc. But I’d also get thrift-store pie or baking pans and fill them with a borax-water solution to set the brick-weighted base or legs in an “ant moat.” Simple.
Gray, That may work for some kinds of ants, but not all. Some ants will create an ant raft. I opened the toilet tank in my house looking for ants that had invaded and the entire top of the water was solidly covered with ants, along with the sides of the tank. This was in Florida.
Boy, you seem pretty harsh on “genus” for his sat placement. Look around in most RV parks and you will find LOTS more geniuses. Yes, ants are bad, but ragging on people is worse!!
Dave, I agree with you. Making the person out to be an idiot was not called for. The Facts Mam, Just the facts. No reason to belittle the person.
To kill the ants in their tracks, I use Glade spray. And it leaves the inside of your RV smelling so nice! Just spray it on the ants and they will die on the spot.
We have had ant problems in the past and found that Terro T100-12 Liquid Ant Killer II was very effective in killing them. Small drops on a piece of cardboard does the trick. the ants take the bait back to where they are hiding and in a few days they are gone.
I have sprinkled a circle of insect killer around my RV to keep skunks away.
We mix a solution of Boric Acid and water which we use to wipe counter tops and also spay inside the RV. Boric acid is harmless and does the job, easily obtained at any drug store and is also used in commercial ant and roach killers. The joke is “it makes their feet hurt so they roll over on their back and die”. The only thing I know is it works and was told to me by an exterminator who does commercial kitchens.