Here’s a question from a reader of RVtravel.com about boondocking.
I’m a newbie RVer and I’ve read about problems with ants and mice in RVs. I haven’t had any such invasions and it’s not an experience I would look forward to. Is there anything I can do now to head off future incursions? I don’t know where to start. —Craig
You can go along for weeks and months without finding so much as a solitary ant or mouse taking up residence in your RV. But every once in a while it seems the environment goes kerflooey and some odd and unusual events occur, like monumental hatches of crickets or locusts. Events that could raise havoc with RVers are infestations of ants and mice that all of a sudden become an overnight problem.
Both have happened to me (13 mice trapped in one night) and I couldn’t stop them from entering my vehicle or eradicating them fast enough, until I discovered this preventive self-defense. Wherever any part of your rig touches the ground – tires, leveling jacks, barbecue hooked up to your propane tank – sprinkle the powdered household cleanser Borax in a circle around the touch point. Make the circle complete so critters can’t get to the tire or jack without going through the powder, which they won’t. Coarse ground black pepper and diatomaceous earth (garden section of home supply stores) work also.
Then look at every place that there is a pass-through from the outside to the inside that mice could enter. Look in your outside refrigerator, water heater, outside shower compartments, and any other place where a wire or hose enters your vehicle. Stuff these pass-throughs with steel wool. Spray foam works for a while but if there are mice in your area they could eventually chew through. Mice can pass through a hole the size of a dime, so plug every hole you find.
To keep critters out of your engine compartment, sprinkle moth balls or drip peppermint oil about. They don’t like the smell and will avoid the area.
None of these preventive measures are completely 100% effective all the time, so continue to inspect your pass-throughs and correct when necessary.
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Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
John Barker emailed me with the following comment:
Bob, I can assure you that mothballs do not work to keep out mice. … I tried hanging mothballs on the steel fuel lines inside the engine compartment. The mice somehow walked along the fuel line to the mothballs, then chewed the mothballs. I ended up having to clean the engine compartment to get rid of all the pieces of mothballs that were everywhere. The only product that works to keep mice out of your RV is called, “Rodents Odor Free” sometimes called, “Rodents Away” that comes in a package of 6-pouches. … Try, www rodentsaway.ca … I hang 2-pouches in the engine compartment and 2 or 3 inside the coach….NO MICE ever !
Pass this along to your viewers, they’ll be quite happy with it.
For ants I use boric acid powder. You can use it straight or desolve it in a water spray bottle. Boric acid is the main ingredient ant traps.
For mice I use an ”Adirondack mouse trap” under the RV and at least one inside.
I received this direct email regarding control of ants and thought it worth reposting here:
“Great articles, thank you.
“I wanted to offer another solution for ants in the RV. We had a no less than an invasion as they climbed down from the tree we were camped under and entered using the electrical cable to enter, so they were everywhere!
“Once we spotted them, I grabbed the Melaleuca Tea Tree Oil and dabbed small amounts in spots on window sills, kitchen, and also used the water mixed solution to spray larger areas like counters, around the doorway and the sources of invasion. It took them out, and it left a trail that they would not come near. While killing the invaders, it cleaned the areas, smelled good and kept us safe for the rest of the visit.
Karen and Jim”
I see Coachmen has added a metal shield under their Sportscoach motor homes to address this, it’s a barrier against rodents and bugs.