Tuesday, September 27, 2022


RV pests: How to keep them out of your RV

By Chris Dougherty
Certified RV technician

One of the most disconcerting things that can happen to an RVer is for his or her RV to become home to unwelcome guests. While there’s little that can be done to absolutely prevent this from happening, there are some steps that a proactive RV owner can take which will help reduce an unwelcome infestation.

In my own experience, the biggest pest problems I’ve encountered have been ants, spiders, and mice. I’ve had a lot of ’em. I have tried many remedies, some which have worked, and some which haven’t. Here are a few.

These confounded furry little devils are amazing at what they can manage to get into… and damage. The worst damage I have had has been a chewed up air line, but that’s minimal to the possibility of wiring damage which can cause a fire. They’ve done a job on my insulation, and of course there’s always the pleasure in finding the droppings.

Thinking I had managed to seal every hole in the rig, there is someplace, to this day, that I am missing. The tiniest hole is large enough for mice to squeeze through. I have tried, and had the most success, with the enclosed-style mouse traps baited with peanut butter. Poison is a bad idea.. while it works, if the rodent dies in the walls or ceiling, as happened to me, the odor is quite an annoyance. My cat, to date, has “harvested” one single mouse, which he proudly displayed one morning on the clothes I had laid out for the morning. Another attempt to rid the rig of mice was using granulated predator urine around the outside of the coach. Nope, it didn’t work, either. My current test is with sonic rodent repellents, and still more searching to find holes.

Mikhail Vasilyev, Unsplash

There are many species of ants, and they’re all annoying to have in an RV. Carpenter ants are, of course, the worst to have in an RV because of their insatiable appetite for wood. It doesn’t mean your RV home isn’t clean if you have an ant infestation. Rather, it could be as simple as parking over, or in my case, under a nest. A tree next to my coach was, unbeknownst to me, infested with ants. I found they dropped off the tree and came to dinner. By the time I realized it, they had nested in the bulb seal for the front slideout, and the trim along the beltline of the coach. The ants were plentiful, but so are the commercially available antidotes (no pun intended). I used in home sprays and a new ant trap that smells like peanut butter (an unintentional theme). They have worked very well.

I’m not sure where they came from, but I have a few different species “hanging around” in my coach. I haven’t gone after them with any insecticides, but I do get rid of them when I find them. There are sprays that work against spiders, as well as other insects. The better way of eradicating spiders is to use an indoor fogger. This way the insecticide gets to all the cracks and crevices where spiders hide. These foggers are also excellent for killing fleas, ticks, and other small insects.

It is important to keep your RV clean in order to minimize pest infestation. Remove garbage regularly, and keep surfaces clean. It is advisable to keep foodstuffs sealed in containers or bags that make it difficult for the pest to penetrate. Once you notice an infestation of any kind, it is essential that it be dealt with rapidly to avoid damage, or a greater infestation.

Until next time, safe RV travels, and I’ll see you on the highway!


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2 years ago

Spray bug spray on and around tires,hoses,and electric cords will stop most ants.

2 years ago

I had mice in my fifth wheel and finally found out how they got in.
My one slide was held up by 2″ square tube. Both ends were open ,allowing the little critters to get into the covered underneath. I sprayfoamed the tubes and never had a problem again

Leonard (Butch) Brooker
3 years ago

I use a recipe of
Spider/Mouse repellant
1 cup water
1 tsp Peppermint oil
3 drops Dawn
I mix it up in a spray bottle and spray abundantly around all openings real and imagined
and have been amazed at how well it works.

3 years ago

We have used the electronic pest controllers in our home and rv for over 10 years without a single mice sighting. Maybe they don’t work but until I start to have mice evidence will continue to use them.

Ronald Hiemann
3 years ago

There is only 1 commercially available option to get rid of mice. It is called a mouse trap. All of the other “smelly bag” options, sonic gadgets etc are totally useless. We have had mice in our RV and I tried a couple of remedies. The mice all thought that was very funny and they kept smiling at us and sat on or walked right over the bags I placed around the RV. So my advice is safe your money and do not buy these remedies. It helps the manufacturer because they take your money. Other than wishful thinking, you get nothing for it. Use the spring loaded mouse traps, add some peanut butter and you are in business. Always works.

3 years ago

Since my wife got into essential oil business we have run the diffuser in our camper and does keep insects out as they don’t like the smell. We also run it in our house too to minimize them too

Tommy Molnar
3 years ago

Wherever we park, we do a widespread search for ant hills, and when we find them we break out our containers of Amdro. This stuff is amazing! You just sprinkle the stuff around the ‘hills’ and watch the ants go crazy for it, hauling it down into the ‘condo’ as fast as they can. Then? Ants no more!

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