It’s that time of year again, when your RV is sitting in storage and those pesky RV critters decide to make it their winter home. Usually around this time of year I get asked a lot of questions about what can be done to control rodents from getting in your RV when it’s in storage. Now understand, 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 for the winter it’s not uncommon for mice and squirrels to make their winter home in the RV. These animals are notorious for chewing through vehicle wiring, plastic and rubber components, causing extensive and expensive 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, foam or steel wool.
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 for the winter. This is where a lot of expensive chewing damage occurs.
If you don’t mind the smell of mothballs scatter them throughout areas of the RV. I have been told that mothballs will work for a while but eventually rodents 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. More information about this product.
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.
RV Education January newsletter