Friday, August 12, 2022


I discovered the best way to rid the RV of insect creepy-crawlies

Ugh! After several do-it-yourself attempts to rid our RV of insects such as flies, ants, and other insects, I gave up. We gathered quite a collection of creepy-crawlies and freaky-fliers from various parts of the country. Let’s see … we had sugar ants, orange lady bugs, and silverfish. (Note: these are not their scientific names. I just call ‘em like I see ‘em.) Oh, and that reminds me. We also had no-see-ums and house flies, too.

A gradual buildup

Mind you, the insects didn’t all appear at once. We battled the ladybugs in Indiana and Kentucky. The ants and silverfish were courtesy of a brief stay in Georgia. The no-see-ums and houseflies came from Florida. Our RV was a veritable entomologist’s laboratory!

At each location, my husband and I attacked the local infestation. We used swatters, sprays, and even bait traps to rid our RV of insects. Within a day or two, the local creepy-crawlies would disappear. Problem solved! Or so we thought. Upon moving to the next location, a new battalion of insects would appear just in time for the previous eggs or larvae or whatever hatched. So, we repeated our swat, spray, and bait routine again. And again. And again. Until I’d had enough.

Secretive little insect “buggers”

I finally realized that the insects were laying eggs in places that our spray couldn’t penetrate. Just look around your RV. There are cracks between the base molding and wall. I’ve watched ladybugs creep through the infinitesimal space between the kitchen light fixture and the ceiling, too. Even Hubby had to admit that he can’t squish them if he can’t see them.

Ridding the RV of insects

We returned home after quite a bit of traveling. The RV was safely back in storage, and I imagined all of those little critters happily hatching and venturing out of their hidey holes. That’s when the idea struck me. Why not have our household “bug man” treat our RV? I had removed all of our food. The fridge was empty. Our clothes no longer hung in the closets. It was a perfect time! Surely a professional could make our RV insect-free. So, I called him.

Unusual request

Our “bug man,” Sam, admitted that he’d never treated an RV before. He requested that I cover the smoke detectors along with the carbon monoxide detector. “Just in case,” he said. I was more than fine with that! Being totally exhausted with taxiing bugs across the country, I’d do almost anything to be rid of them once and for all.

Evidence is clear

Sam treated our RV last week. We extended the slides for the time he was inside, treating for the creatures. Then when he finished, we retracted the slides again. The best part? Since he also treated our stix-and-bricks home, he didn’t charge us for spraying the RV.

I just checked inside our rig. Finally! We’ve rid our RV of insects! Well… there are so many dead bugs on the floors and flat surfaces that I’m truly amazed. Shocked even! There are dead bugs in there that I’ve never seen before. Too bad I don’t know any high school biology students. My bug collection would make their teacher proud.

Temporary relief

I am a realist. I know that we’re sure to pick up insects and other bugs on future travels. I’m OK with that. We’ll do our best to banish them from sight as we travel. And when we return home again, I definitely plan to call Sam, the “bug man.”

Using exterminators to rid your RV of insects

  • Use your stix-and-bricks home exterminator. We called the same company that services our permanent home. We know “our guy” and that relationship helped us get what I think is a really good price. When calling to set up services, be sure to inquire if the company services RVs, what advance preparation they’d like you to do, the extent of their service, and what their service costs.
  • Group service members. If you happen to be away from home, check out company members that participate in one of the following service groups. Always read the company’s evaluations from actual users. (Often found at the end of their website.) These helpful web services may steer you to the best company that’s also closest to your RV site: Angi (formerly Angie’s List), Houzz, and Home Advisor.
  • Google. You can also simply Google “exterminators near me” on your cell phone or computer. Within seconds you’ll have a list to choose from.
  • Ask campground guests and hosts. You can inquire about bug control services around your campground (RV neighbors, permanent residents, CG hosts) to see which company they recommend.

What kind of creepy-crawlies have you had inside your RV? Did you successfully eradicate them? Tell us how in the comments below, please!




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Western Rider
2 months ago

It’s hard to believe when insects seem to flood into our RVs, but “Habitat loss, pesticides and climate change are threatening insect populations worldwide. In 2019, Biological Conservation reported that 40% of all insects species are declining globally and that a third of them are endangered.

“And while it may sound nice to live in a world with fewer roaches” … “insects play critical roles in pollinating plants we eat, breaking down waste in forest soil and forming the base of a food chain that other, larger animals — including humans — rely upon.”

Again, pesticides don’t magically disappear after they kill our targets. They can linger and move. So consider curbing your enthusiasm for spraying everything in sight.

Bias note: rates NPR as left of center

Last edited 2 months ago by Western Rider
Western Rider
2 months ago

Also consider pet exposure. Pesticides don’t magically disappear. Pets weigh much less than people, so a little toxin goes a long ways. Pets are closer to the floor, and spend more time sitting and lying on it. Pets lick their paws and fur, so they can directly ingest insecticides.

EPA / university viewpoint:
Pesticide Use Around Pets

Anti-pesticide viewpoint:
“Cats are highly sensitive to synthetic pyrethroids (often found in insecticides) which trigger seizures, tremors, muscle spasms, and even death” (Review study: Dymond and Smith. 2008. Australian Veterinary Journal.)

Western Rider
2 months ago

Pesticide safety is an issue. Do research and ask questions.

“People often want to know that the treatment you have chosen is the most effective option that meets their standard of safety. In order to meet this demand, some businesses use Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM includes techniques like sanitation, monitoring, and exclusion, using pesticides as a last resort. Research indicates that IPM methods, including low toxicity pesticides, can be more effective than pesticides alone.

Western Rider
2 months ago

Why are insecticides so effective?

They are nerve toxins. “Many insecticides act upon the insect’s nervous system (e.g., cholinesterase inhibition), while others act as growth regulators or endotoxins.”

Human nerve cells and insect nerve cells are remarkably similar. They basically work the same way, with the same chemistry.

So be really careful using this stuff, especially in a small space like RVs.

2 months ago

I spray my bus down with either Ortho Home Defense or Spectricide Bug Stop in the Spring and Fall (the times when bugs are on the move). I spray inside and outside, up under the chassis. For ants, I use AMDRO Ant Block granules. It only kills ants. A pet (or kid) would have to eat it by the pound in order for it to hurt them. I sprinkle a few granuales (less than 1/8 TSP) either on the ant hill or in the path of a scout ant. On the few occasions they have gotten inside, I put some in a soda cap and place it in their path. Usually the ants are gone the next day. For flours/grains/mixes, I place them in the freezer overnight. For 2 nights if its a large dense package (like 5 lb bag of flour). This kills the flour moths (all flour has bug eggs, fact of life). Ditto for rice and pasta. One short overnight stay in the freezer kills the pantry moth eggs. And then I unbox and everything goes into multiple canning jars (haven’t broke one while traveling in 30 years. Cardboard harbors pests.

2 months ago

I think I’m gonna try the bug bomb idea and set one off at the end of the season. Last fall we camped at Panther Creek in Tennessee. Lovely campground but we came home with a colony of stink bugs. We have been finding them on a regular basis ever since. It seems they overwintered anywhere they could squeeze in and they can get almost as flat as a postage stamp. Stink bugs are an invasive species and I don’t feel bad about killing them. However, squashing them is out of the question! They aren’t called stink bugs for nothing.

2 months ago

“These helpful web services may steer you to the best company that’s also closest to your RV site: Angi (formerly Angie’s List), Houzz, and Home Advisor.” I believe that the reason Angli’s List changed its name is because Angie’s List and Hom Advisor merged.

This is only an F.Y.I. comment for Gail.

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
2 months ago
Reply to  Lindalee

Thanks, Lindalee. Yep, you’re correct. I just Googled it. (What in the world did we do before Google?!) According to Wikipedia, in 2017, Angie’s List was acquired by IAC and merged with HomeAdvisor (owned by IAC). The parent company became ANGI Homeservices Inc. Then ANGI Homeservices announced that the company and Angie’s List would be rebranded as Angi. There was more to it than that, but that’s the gist of it. Sheesh. Have a good night. 😀 –Diane

2 months ago

Raid makes a product called ” fumigator.” It’s a smoke, not an aerosol. Smoke gets in the nooks and crannies that the aerosol can’t and doesn’t leave a residue. Takes about 4 hours. That should get all the unwanted critters. Spray Home Defense bug spray on the ground anywhere the RV touches the ground, even the tires, as you arrive at your destination.

J Anderson
2 months ago

Your take was interesting and the idea of using your sticks and bricks bug guy was a good one.
But some of the best ideas comes from your readers. Always good!!!
For us, we carry a granular insecticide and the liquid Home Defense. If we see we’re parked over an ant hill we will use the granular and if it’s other crawling critters a light spray of Home Defense around the perimeter works great.
We try to keep the use of insecticides to a minimum but so much depends on the environment we’re camped in. Last summer we traveled 4 months coast to coast through 23 states and never used any of our insecticides.

Bruce Perens K6BP
2 months ago

Three questions: What are they eating? What are they drinking? How do they get in and out?

Insects would not survive in a dry, food-free RV that they can’t escape. And they would die even faster in a hot one. If you can’t completely remove all water, pour a little mineral oil in the toilet and drains. It will float on top and the bugs that get into it will die.

Cover the RV with a tarp to prevent any water from getting in through leaks (it won’t get moldy, that is something the cover manufacturers say to sell covers. Tarps can’t ever be air-tight and humidity will escape).

Remove food sources.

And start looking for, and sealing, openings. Especially under the camper, where pipes and wires go through and where two different materials meet, as at the seams around wheel wells. Use expanding foam, and wear clothes that you don’t care about, it doesn’t come off. Take the vents off of the refrigerator and seal the insides with metal screening, hot-melt-glue around the edges.

Rose Kanoldt
2 months ago

We buy spider traps from They are in a sheet, you separate and fold into tiny tents. The tent floor/base has a sticky stuff that attracts spiders..and likely other insects. One leg on sticky stuff, they are caught and cannot escape. I think there are 40? tents per sheet for around 10 dollars. We had spiders in our house in Colorado so I put out these little tents all over house, under furniture, corners, behind toilet etc. When we returned 5 months later I counted victims. About 19 spiders. Next year set out again, only 10. Following year..none. No doubt this would work in RV. When we store our RV we leave 5 mouse traps set with peanut butter. We check once a month. Sometimes 2 sometimes none.

2 months ago

Why would anyone “battle ladybugs”?

2 months ago
Reply to  Fermor

She mentioned having the orange ones. They bite.

Betty Danet
2 months ago
Reply to  Fermor

In Texas we had an infestation of lady bug look-alikes but they were an invasive species called Asian lady beetles. Covered our rig outside and months later we kept finding one or two somewhere inside. Nasty.

Jim L.
2 months ago

I travel the country buying used motorhomes for a large dealership. It’s a fly there and drive back to Arizona. It’s amazing the different bugs the come out when the inside gets warm from the heater or the weather. I’ve had Stink bugs from the Midwest, little green tree frogs in the awnings and fuel filler doors and many many flies. I travel with a fly swatter. And of course I always pickup a fly or two at truck stops.

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago

When we’re in our home state of NV the only problem bugs we usually deal with are ants and wasps. We pretty much know how to deal with these pests. But, down here in Houston we’ve been introduced to all manner of new offenders. Cockroaches, sugar ants, centipedes, red ants (ouch!), and who knows what else we haven’t seen yet but are out there waiting to pounce. I sprayed the entire perimeter of our campsite with Home Defense from HD. Also everywhere the trailer touched the ground (tires, landing gear, nose, hookups, etc).

Ron N
2 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Yup, Home Defense works on both my sticks and bricks and RV. Highly recommend.

2 months ago

Really? This is all the article is about? Hiring an exterminator?? Everyone knows we can do that. I’m just about ready to take this newsletter off my email list. The articles are all a lot of hype and no content.

Gordy B
2 months ago
Reply to  jRB

Entertainment and Information ! Don’t let the door hit you. Happy Trails

2 months ago

I don’t pick up these mass invasions of bugs, just a few here and there and they don’t seem to set up housekeeping.

Maybe there is some invasion route into your coach that could be located and plugged up? Perhaps you store a grill that smells great to them in a storage hatch, and they are coming in through a crack from there, or whatever route it might be.

Dr. Mike
2 months ago

Twice a year I use Ortho Home Defense. Between the inside and outside (under the chassis) and basement storage I use a full gallon. The process is long, but easy on the hand as the sprayer is battery operated.
We still get some flies and mosquitos, but no ants, roaches, or any other bug.

2 months ago

I used to leave our camper up north in MI year round and every spring I would close it up and set off a spray can I called a “bug bomb” bought at a big box store. Next visit to the camper, found dead ants everywhere. Seemed to work for me, and very inexpensive. I would then wipe down all the horizontal surfaces before camping next time.

Bob p
2 months ago

I would think setting off a bug bomb would accomplish the same results, much less expensive.

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