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Keeping rodents out of your RV

May 8, 2008 by Mark Polk · 65 Comments  
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Pesky RV Critters

Often times I get asked what can be done to control rodents from getting in your RV when it’s in storage. I am by no means an expert on pest and rodent control, but after researching the subject I can offer a few ideas that other RVers use to keep rodents out of their RVs. You can be the judge on what works and what doesn’t. When RVs are stored, especially during winter, it’s not uncommon for mice and squirrels to make their home in the RV. These animals are notorious for chewing through vehicle wiring, plastic and rubber components, causing extensive damage to the RV.

Possibly, the most important step is to try and prevent mice and other rodents from being able to access your RV. This can be difficult because they can enter the RV through some very small areas. Start by inspecting the underside of your RV for any gaps or holes. Fill these gaps using silicone or expanding foam. A word of caution, if you never used expanding foam before you should experiment with it on something other than your RV first. When it dries it can expand a great deal more than you expect. Next, open drawers and cabinet doors inside your RV. Look in all of the corners and crevices, especially where plumbing and wiring enter the RV. If you can see any daylight mice can get in. Fill these areas with silicone or foam too. (Some people have told me mice will still chew through some of the products you fill these gaps with, and you should use something like coarse steel wool to discourage mice from chewing their way in.)

Remove all food from the RV when it’s being stored and thoroughly clean the RV to remove any remnants of food that might attract mice and other rodents. If at all possible try to park or store your RV on a solid surface like pavement or concrete. Try to avoid grass, fields or wooded areas. If it’s a motorized RV start it every week to run any squirrels or mice off that may be making the engine compartment into a home. This is where a lot of chewing damage occurs.

If you don’t mind the smell of mothballs scatter some throughout areas of the RV. I have been told that mothballs will work for a while but eventually rodents will get used to the smell and it will no longer deter them. Other people say the alternative to mothballs is dryer sheets, like Bounce. I have talked to people who swear they work and the smell is much more pleasant. The problem with dryer sheets is once they dry out they’re not really effective. If you are close to where your RV is being stored you may want to use conventional mouse traps and check for mice every few days. The only problem with traps is that the bait in the trap can actually attract mice. I don’t recommend any type of poison. It can take several days for the poison to work and the mice will usually die somewhere that you can’t find them. If this happens it can take a long time to get rid of the smell. If you do use poison make sure pets can’t get to the areas where you put it.

I have talked to some RVers who suggest you spray some type of insect spray (that contains mint oils) around the tires to discourage mice. The only problem I see with this is you would need to do it every few days if the RV is stored outside. There are numerous ultrasonic pest controllers on the market. Some even offer money back guarantees. Again, I have talked to some people who swear by them and others who insist they don’t work. I have never tried this method. If all else fails I ran across a product called Fresh Cab that claims to put off a sweet woodsy-alpine scent that will keep mice away for up to three months. I have not personally tried this product, but if you would like to get more information about this product you can go to http://www.goodearthenterprises.com/

After a fair amount of research on this topic I have come to the conclusion that the only way to really keep rodents away is to get rid of the rodent’s altogether. Continue to set traps for mice until they are gone and in the case of squirrels it may be necessary to trap and relocate them, if there is no other method available to get rid of them.

Happy Camping,

Mark J. Polk

RV Education 101

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Comments

65 Responses to “Keeping rodents out of your RV”

  1. Dan and Audrey on May 8th, 2008 9:44 pm

    Hi,someone told us to use Irish Spring Soap,just place a few bars around in various places,seems to have worked.Dan Steiert.

  2. Nancy Irwin on May 9th, 2008 7:03 am

    I heard about and then have used since, quite successfully, used kitty litter, solids and all.

    I tried this method by accident over 10 years ago and it has worked so well that I have not looked for another method. By the time that Spring rolls around in Northern Ohio, the smell is almost gone for humans, but it still works on ‘critters’.

  3. Willy on May 9th, 2008 8:16 am

    RE: Poison in the coach causing dead mice to hide where you can’t find them.

    D.Con causes the mice to get so thirsty they will leave the coach in search of water. They will die outside near their water source. My philosophy is that if a hungry mouse is in search of something to eat, I don’t want to disappoint him.

    Works on squirrels and raccoons too. You may not like the thought, but if you want to be PC about it, enjoy your trashed RV!

  4. Pkunk on May 9th, 2008 8:21 am

    There’s a product called ‘Rat-a-way’ which is a granular repellent designed to be spread around the perimeter. Lasts for several months even under rainy conditions. I get mine from gemplers.com.

  5. mark lutes on May 17th, 2008 7:50 pm

    TO KEEP MICE OUT I PUT DECON DOWN AND A STICKY STRIP RIGHT NEX TO IT AFTER THEY FEAST THEYGET CAUGHT ON STICKY STRIP AND DIE NOT HIDDING, JUST GET RIDE OF IT BEFORE THE WARMTH OF SPRING COME AROUND

  6. Raymond Cooke on June 1st, 2008 5:56 am

    For years now I have been using whole cloves, not crushed or powder, spread all throughout my 5th wheel camper. This means all around the inside floors, in all storage compartments, drawers, closets, tubs, sinks, even the storage areas for gas tanks and under carrage storage. I have used this method with great results, only one case where one mouse was found in the sink, dead. I do not store my camper in any enclosed storage, always at either a campground, private field, or main driveway with grass and tree’s close by. The lasting smell is much better in the spring time than most of the others I have heard about. When you open the camper in the spring you only have to vaccum up the remaining cloves on the floors, sinks, cabinets, etc.

  7. Reeve Kahabka on July 5th, 2008 3:00 pm

    I don’t have mice problems but spiders and bees. I found using a dog flea and tick collar cut in strips and put anywhere they can get in works. I replace these every spring and have no problem since using .(5Yrs)

  8. FarcticOx on July 18th, 2008 5:24 pm

    I wrap a copper dish scrubber around the electrical cord where it enters the camper through the little door to the cable compartment. This has prevented mice from entering (trust me they can, had it happen on my last camper).

  9. Pam on July 23rd, 2008 5:31 pm

    HI everyone I am looking for a way to get rid of ants.Our last camping trip we developed a problem with them and now I cant seem to get rid of them.Any suggestions? thanks Pam.

  10. Catalina on July 30th, 2008 7:07 pm

    We were told to put the Renuzit air fresheners (the one shaped like a cone that you pull up to activate) in every nook and cranny and bin and so far it has worked. course we only picked up one (pregnant) mouse last year parked by a field, and I think a rat in the mountains of colorado. i caught the mama in a live trap and released her and my cats took care of the 4 adolescents. But the renuzit alone drove out the rat (or whatever). You can buy copper rodent mesh online and we put it around electrical cord (yes they can), water hose, etc. In fact, if you have an ‘entertainment center’ they can come in through the hole for THAT wiring, too. That is an old wives tale about them leaving for water after the Dcon. They will die in your unit and stink to high heaven. so far Renuzits easiest and best smelling – and so far so good. Will write back if they stop working (must replace when they dry out totally)

  11. Catalina on July 30th, 2008 7:09 pm

    PS – we had picked up the mouse before trying the renuzits. Never picked one up in storage in 5 years, only on a camping trip by the woods. Won’t go without renuzits again, tho. Ever.

  12. M Breier on October 12th, 2010 8:42 am

    Definitely the whole cloves. Have tried everything suggested but nothing worked until the whole cloves!! It’s a miracle and the trailer smells yummy!!!

  13. Tina on December 21st, 2011 9:51 am

    Hi everyone,

    I heard about this product called Mouse Free from a friend and decided to try it out on my RV last summer. Have not seen a mouse since! Plus it’s easy to apply, you just connect an air compressor to the application gun and spray the product under the RV. It doesn’t even smell bad it smells like peppermint! So far so good! Here’s the website if any one wants to have a look, http://www.mouse-free.com

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