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.
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!