Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Enlightened way to keep rodents at bay



Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
My wife thinks I should be an exterminator. We have a fifth-wheel and she is always hearing noises. She says she hears mice scurrying around, gnawing and thumping, and our cat is always on point. I never hear anything. Then she started seeing other people in the campground putting lights under and around their rigs at night. The guy next door puts the hood up on his pickup every night with a light in the engine compartment. I think he is just proud of his truck, but my wife said he does it to keep pack rats out. Do I have to light up the world every night to keep vermin from moving in with us? If rodents are so fearful of lights why would they want to come in anyway? —Mickey Mouse ideas in Mesa

Dear Mickey:
Some say that the rat light idea is all based on urban legend. From personal experience I can say I did have a pack rat nest in my motorhome engine compartment before lights and, so far, none after. Like you, I noticed the lights around rigs in Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona and thought it might be people wanting to show off their vehicles at night.

You don’t have to go overboard and light up the whole campground. I just put a short string of LED lights under my engine and wired them to my battery with a switch. Many people use rope lights and just lay them on the ground. I park my toad facing the front of the motorhome to share the illumination and hope for the best.

If your wife thinks she hears evidence of a silent invasion you would be wise to start a trapline and see if you snag anything. Better safe than sorry.

Those little furballs can do a lot of damage in a short span of time. Stay on top of it. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.


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Karen Thorneycroft
5 years ago

I had a squirrel under my slide awning start to set up housekeeping, so I went to Home Depot and bought Critter Ridder (castor oil, cinnamon oil, citronella oil, etc – not a bad smell to me). The squirrel and his friends disappeared. They returned a couple of days later, another spray around….haven’t seen them since. Happy glamper!

Mark Elliott
5 years ago

During college I worked at the local grain growers cooperative running grain elevators. We used humane wind up mouse traps that could capture a dozen or more mice and store them in a side compartment until we arrived to dispose of them. If the rodents are larger than mice a trap like this might not work but than again, there may be a larger size available.

Loretta Roach
5 years ago

I use a RidDex available through Carol Wright catalog as well as other catalogs. This handy little gadget plugs into any electrical outlet and sends alternating signals through the electrical wires that vermin, snakes, spiders and other insects don’t like and they leave.

They last for years.

5 years ago

According to Pericles, the legendary owner of Desert Trails RV Park, located on the border of Saguaro National Park in Tucson, AZ, the rope lights are NOT an effective packrat deterrent (although this information has not deterred park residents from flooding the otherwise dark desert with white LED light under their rigs and hoods).

What IS effective, says Pericles, are strobe lights, and yes, there are motion detector versions to save battery life. Many people in the park also use high frequency audio “rodent repellent” gadgets. They are allegedly only audible by rodents, but I sure hear them, dog nab it, and so does my dog.

LED strobe kits to suit most RV and vehicle needs are available for less than $200.

5 years ago

How about using some of those small motion activated led lights?

Tommy Molnar
5 years ago

I’ve never heard of the light thing. And, have never seen it either. But, having said that, I just may try it. I also have a couple of those ‘box’ type traps that are like Hotel California. The vermin can check in, but they can’t check out . . . I’ve got a couple cheapo Harbor Freight freebie LED lights that just might fit the bill. Thanks for this.

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