In the dark confines of your RV that you parked for the winter, there lies an insidious and uninvited guest. Pests insist on inflicting damage in order to provide comfortable accommodations for their family.
He is unconcerned with the damage he causes to upholstered furniture, mattresses, clothing, paper, or other materials he collects for his home building project.
Mus musculus (familiarly known as the field or house mouse) is not alone in seeking accommodations. Spiders, chipmunks, ants, bees, squirrels, and other uninvited species, though not as commonly encountered, are also in search of warm winter digs. When using your RV regularly, you can usually spot the signs (droppings, chewed upholstery and wires, debris piles) of these invaders and evict them. But when stored for longer periods you may not spot these signs until after significant damage has been done.
The best way to control pests is to keep pests out of your RV. That will require some serious Sherlock Holmes-ing to find all the available entry points. Like where pipes, tubes, and wires enter through the exterior walls. Inspect the engine compartment where ducts and wires come through the firewall. Check the outside furnace, water heater, and refrigerator compartments. If even the slightest hole is found, plug it up. Rodents can chew small holes larger, and can squeeze through where you wouldn’t think it possible.
Several methods have been found to be effective at plugging holes and deterring pests. Scatter around a handful of mothballs at entry points (and on top of your engine where squirrels and chipmunks like to nest). Plug the holes with copper wool (steel wool will rust), spread Vaseline around outside-to-inside openings to keep even the most determined ants out. Chlorine-based cleansers like Comet sprinkled around your tires will keep ants and mice from climbing up the tires and entering.
You can also spray a polyurethane-based insulating foam sealant (from home and hardware supply stores) into gaps and cracks (it expands to take the shape of the voids to form an airtight, water-resistant bond that also eliminates unwanted airflow and helps reduce condensation). There is some evidence that ultrasonic and radio-frequency devices repel pests also.
Spiders seem to prefer the compartments where propane lines come through, either because of the smell of propane or the warmth of a small compartment, no one can say for sure. But you can cover the vent holes in these compartments with wire screens (from RV supply stores like Camping World). This will keep yellow-jackets and other insects out also.
And don’t forget to make monthly or bi-monthly checks on your RV to look for any critter invasion activity, replacing your lines of defense when necessary.
You can find Bob Difley’s RVing ebooks at Amazon Kindle.