Dealing with Pests in your RV

Last updated on April 4th, 2019 at 09:16 am. Originally published on December 16th, 2017

When it comes to camping, we firmly believe it’s the more the merrier… except when it comes to pests.

And unfortunately, living in a house on wheels does make your space more accessible to unwelcome visitors like ants, mice, spiders, and cockroaches.

Want to be close to nature, but don’t want to walk around constantly armed with your trusty fly swatter or can of Raid? Hey, you upgraded from a tent to an RV for a reason!

Fortunately, there are ways to pest-proof your rig  — or at least make it a whole lot less inviting to bugs and rodents.

Here are our best tips for RV pest control and how to keep mice out of your camper.

Mouse Proofing Your RV

Mice are one of the most common campground pests, whether you’re in a tent, cabin, or motorhome. They’re drawn by the yummy-smelling food you keep in your camper, as well as its potential for warmth and shelter.

But if you don’t want your rig to become a mouse house, you’ve got several options and steps to take to make them scram. The first thing you’ve got to do: block their points of entry.

Mice, unlike insects, are pretty sizable creatures. They can’t slip in under the door or through the drain — though they can get through pretty much any hole the size of a dime or larger. (They just have to be able to squeeze their heads through!)

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So you’ll go a long way toward keeping mice out of your RV simply by ensuring all your doors and windows remain closed and sealing up any larger openings that may allow them entry. Install screens on your doors and windows if you want to keep them open for the summer breeze, and use spray foam on any cracks or holes that you might find that could let them into your camper. Be sure to check along all your RV’s seams and corners, such as where the floor meets the walls.

If you’re already dealing with an infestation or want to be extra-cautious, you can also invest in factory-made rodent repellents or even mouse traps. And don’t forget, whether you’re talking about mice or insects, there’s one important factor when figuring out how to keep your camper pest free: keep it as clean as possible!

Leftover food and dirt can draw pests into your living space, so by ensuring it’s as clean as possible, you’ll remove their incentive to enter. Keeping things clean will also help you stay healthy and avoid illness while you’re traveling.

What Keeps Mice Out of Campers?

Along with keeping your RV clean and tidy, you can also try out a natural DIY rodent repellent to tackle RV mouse control. This is one of the best remedies if you or someone you camp with has a sensitivity to harsh chemicals.

Mice are said to be averse to the scents of peppermint, clove, and cayenne pepper, all of which come in oils and extracts that can easily be placed on cotton balls in prime mouse locations such as by your doors or windows, or in the kitchen cabinets where food is kept. The oils cost between $10-$15, but you get enough for a lifetime in one bottle — and you can use them for personal grooming applications as well.

Another natural mouse repellent that many RVers swear works well is using the same trick with plain-old ammonia, which smells like cat urine (i.e., a feared mouse predator). However, ammonia smells icky to people as well as rodents, so you may want to proceed with caution!

RV Insect Control

Along with mice, you may find spiders, ants, cockroaches, and other unwanted many-legged critters in your RV. These pests are smaller than mice and they reproduce quickly, which can wreak havoc on your beloved camper if you’re not careful.

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One key to keeping ants out of your rig is to ensure that all dry foods are stored in airtight, sealed containers, where insects can’t get to it. Investing in a quality set of storage containers is worth the money if it means you’ll avoid having to pay expensive RV pest control prices for a professional bug bomb service in your camper!

Again, you can also rely on factory-made bug repellents and insecticides, as well as ant and roach traps which use poisonous bait to kill the whole colony. One quality product is that works well is Combat Gel, which can be piped into the tiny cracks and areas where roaches and other insects hang out — such as along your kitchen counters or in your bathroom. It’s odorless and non-toxic, and it’ll protect your RV living space from these tiny unwanted invaders.

Pest Control for RV

Of course, no matter how clean your RV is or how much trouble you go to in preparing for pests, sometimes you’ll get an infestation. That’s just part of camping!

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If you’re wondering how to get rid of ants already in your camper, your best bet is to double down on cleaning, add in some traps, and consider hiring a professional pest control service.

Yes, their prices might be expensive, but your rig has all sorts of tiny holes and spaces for those critters to set up a campsite of their own. Depending on the type of insect, they can also lay eggs that stay dormant for years even after the infestation seems like it’s gone. That’s especially true of fleas.

Professionals will come in with high-power sprayers and advanced insecticides that can take care of even the most stubborn pest invasion colony. Once they’ve done their service, give your rig a thorough cleaning, laundering all your linens and cloth upholstery and vacuuming any carpet well. Then, be sure to empty your vacuum bag and dispose of it far from your rig… you don’t want them coming right back!

By keeping your RV clean and pest free, you’ll be able to enjoy camping trips in it for many more years to come — and you’ll have a relaxing space to share with those who are invited.


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