Your motorhome is your mobile home, and travelling with your camper makes trips all the more fun. But what happens when you enter and see different insects making their own home in your living space?
Living in a house on wheels exposes you to lots of pests like critters, bugs, and ants, especially during winter. They search for warmer climates which happens to be your motorhome.
When it comes to these unwanted visitors, RV owners must take action before it becomes a full-blown infestation. Because once a single pest enters your camper, it invites its family and friends, making it harder to eliminate the problem. This can be disastrous when your motorhome is in long-term storage.
Why proper pest control is essential for a motorhome?
Living with pests like rats can get out of control, especially when they are everywhere, including in your kitchen cabinets.
Proper motorhome maintenance is essential but sometimes, cleaning your camper isn’t enough to get rid of pests or their smells. However, effective RV pest control is essential not just for your motorhome but because of your health as well.
Reasons you need proper pest control include:
- It extends the life span and durability of your camper
- Pests are destructive and might even cause health problems if left undetected
- Pest control is the most effective way to prevent pests from gaining access to your caravan
How to tell if there’s a pest invasion in your motorhome?
The most effective way of eliminating pests like cockroaches, rats, spiders and bugs is to catch them early. Once you have done that, the rest becomes an easy job.
Let’s look at a few signs you need to be observant about:
- Droppings on the floor of your motorhome/caravan
- Bugs around the windows and doors
- Strange smells and sounds
- Cobwebs on the ceiling
- Noticeable damage to stored items
How do different pests enter your motorhome?
When it comes to pests, there’s always an entry point, and the faster you discover it, the more effective RV pest control tips can be.
There are lots of ways different insects can gain access to your motorhome/camper:
- Open cracks between wall panel pieces
- Tiny openings where pipes pass through
- Through the doors or windows
- Any small gap underneath the camper floor or in corners
- Cracks in connection points
Most insects that get into your camper are flying insects, so by keeping your campervan windows locked, you can protect yourself. However, you need to check for holes in the windows or doors and get a professional to fix them immediately.
Also, always look out for holes in the floor, especially during winter, as this is the right time for fleas and similar insects to seek shelter.
How to pest and vermin-proof your campervan or motorhome?
The most effective and successful way to completely eradicate all of the pests mentioned in this article without professional assistance is by making your vehicle impenetrable to them.
Many methods can help keep your vehicle safe, so you can enjoy your RVing lifestyle.
Some of the tips we recommend include:
Proper cleaning of your camper before leaving it for an extended period will help avoid pest infestation. Pests and rodents don’t thrive in clean environments, so keeping everywhere clean will discourage them from building a nest.
You should focus on the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator. And don’t leave leftovers in plain sight, as this attracts mice and other rodents.
Use metal mesh for air vents
One common mistake many RV owners make is using plastic air vents. While it’s an efficient material, it’s also an incentive for rats.
A mouse/rat can easily eat through plastic vents without hesitation and invade your vehicle. Replacing plastic air vents with metal mesh is your best bet, as rodents can’t penetrate it.
However, to prevent suffocation, ensure you don’t block all ventilation holes. Remember to apply caution when doing this to avoid unknowingly creating entry points for insects.
Do away with the cushions if you can
One of the most effective RV pest control tips for bugs and roaches is removing the cushions from the vehicle when not in use.
Keeping cushions in your home is safer; plus, they’re unlikely to get damp. However, if you must store them in your vehicle, once spring arrives, check the bedding, cushion seats and cushions for signs of mice or other rodents.
If you find any signs of pests, it’s best to remove the items and let them air outdoors.
For some reason, mice have a stronger smell sense than humans; mice are wary of mothballs and get repelled by the scent. So, if you plan on preventing mice from entering your living space, you should consider using mothballs.
Other scents mice and similar rodents don’t love include; vinegar, clove oil, peppermint, and cayenne pepper. You can use any of these recommendations around your camping ground and for mouse-proofing inside your camper.
Avoid tall grass
Yes, you might feel it’s a safer option to park your motorhome in the grassland, especially if you’ll be away. However, this isn’t always the best choice, as it is easy for vermin and other crawling pests like snakes to enter your camper.
Store dry foods
Dried foods, like cereals as part of a child menu, or food for pets, are a recipe for pest invasion when left out in the open.
If you must store food, get small airtight boxes to safely store food items. Metal boxes are best, as rodents will find it impossible to eat through.
How do I keep mice out of my motorhome?
Rodents and mice are small creatures, but you shouldn’t underestimate their ability to find a way into your camper.
Keeping mice out of your motorhome is possible once you figure out how they penetrate in the first instance.
Let’s discuss a few tips on how to perform proper RV pest control when it comes to mice:
- Make use of metal or wire mesh for air vents
- Store your food in airtight containers
- Park your RV on a concrete floor
- Use repellents like peppermint oil to mouse-proof your camper
Snakes can be really dangerous and mostly attack during the night. Unlike any other insect or pest, snakes pose an immediate threat and shouldn’t even be allowed to enter your camper.
A few tips for prevention measures include:
- If you have pets, ensure their food isn’t littered all over the place, as this might attract rattlesnakes.
- Ensure your camper is always tidy during winter, as this is the time most snakes seek shelter.
- Be careful about camping in forested environments because you might have to deal with an influx of pests that crawl. Or you can employ the service of Harvest Hosts to find a perfect RV parking location.
- Completely seal any holes or gaps you find underneath your camper.
- Always inspect your camper first thing in the morning to be sure there are no unwanted nests inside.
- Set snake traps around your camper, or ask a professional for help if you can’t do it.
Ants may be tiny and seem easy to eliminate. But the truth is, once they have infested your camper, getting rid of them will be a problem, not to mention the damage they might cause to your furniture.
You can prevent ants from coming in with these tips:
- Spray diatomaceous earth to dissuade ants from coming into your vehicle. Diatomaceous earth helps protect your camper; sprinkle it around the outside of your camper, and you are good to go.
- Buy an essential oil diffuser. Ants usually avoid campers filled with natural scents like cedarwood and patchouli.
- Set up ant barriers with powdered charcoal, turmeric, pepper or citrus oil.
- Always keep every room and corner in your camper clean.
When RVs get infested with mosquitoes, it can be really difficult to kill them, and that’s because they don’t hunt during daylight. To get rid of them, you need to employ different sorts of tactics, and it’ll definitely get tiring.
So, what better way to battle them than preventing them from entering in the first place?
Other preventive suggestions include:
- Keep your lights turned off at night, no matter what. Flying insects like little blighters and mosquitoes are attracted to light, so the trick is not creating a conducive environment for them.
- Replace damaged windows. It doesn’t matter if it’s winter or summer; tiny mosquitoes will invade your space at any opportunity, literally!
- Make use of insecticides. But ensure you get a human-friendly insecticide to avoid harm to yourself. Also, if you have children, make sure they’re out of the way for the day when you use pesticides.
- Use a mosquito net/awning, as it does the job of a shade too.
- Build a campfire close to your RV because mosquitoes hate the smoke.
When dealing with a colony of bees, you need to be precise. If you have a bee infestation on your hands, you might need the service of a professional.
However, if you are still in preventive mode and you have zero bees and wasps in your space, keep reading:
- Seal all exterior openings. After all, they can’t enter if there aren’t any passages or holes.
- Bees love the scent of propane, so inspect areas around your gas appliances.
- Don’t bring sweet drinks into your camper or litter them around, as they always love sweet things.
Spiders are creepy and shouldn’t be found anywhere inside your RV. Not only do they mess up the interior of your RV, but they also contaminate food.
Getting a spider infestation is pretty easy because they are always lurking around and waiting for you to open the door of your RV.
To ensure your RV is secured and these little pests stay outdoors, here are a few tips:
- Spray any hole or crack in your RV with peppermint oil or apple cider. Just a little spray, and you’ll see them coming out of their hiding places. Alternatively, if you can’t afford natural essential oils, try using citrus fruits like oranges.
- Don’t park your vehicle within close proximity to grass clippings.
- Regularly clean your rig, as this will remove any webs they have already made.
Pest control tips when storing or winterizing your motorhome
When winterizing your camper, you need to do it effectively. Otherwise, you’ll have spiders, cockroaches, wasps, critters and other insects on your hands when you return.
A few tips you need to note whilst you store and winterize your camper include:
- Properly clean and dust the camper before storage, including bedding and cushions.
- Get rid of food before storage. If you need to keep it, try putting it in a tight container and sealing it properly.
- Wash the RV surface, as it gets rid of dirt and insects like bugs and ticks.
- Put mothballs around the RV’s plumbing to deter rodents like mice from entering.
- Inspect all the corners of the walls, and replace any torn seals or seams.
- Finally, ensure you close all windows, slides and storage compartments, so your RV won’t be disturbed by rodents and pests.
The best way to keep your RV free from pests is by prevention. However, certain things are usually beyond your control.
Having a rodent infestation is enough to ruin your next RV trip. So, next time you prepare for a trip, why not take time to inspect your RV and make sure you are safe?
We have listed simple, natural steps that you can use for catching a pest infestation early, so why not try them out?
The key to enjoying your camp stay is a pest-free motorhome/van, and we hope you’ve now learned how to deal with pests.
Do ultrasonic pest repellents work in motorhomes?
Yes. As long as you have a wall outlet in your RV, ultrasonic pest repellents work. When plugged into a wall outlet, it’ll emit a sound that drives pests like rodents, spiders and wasps away.
Can you bug bomb a motorhome?
You can, but only with the help of a professional. Setting insect traps is good, but in this case, bug bombs are highly flammable and should be done with absolute caution.
Does Irish Spring soap keep mice out of campers?
According to some RV owners, placing Irish Spring soap in places rodents might lurk is enough poison to keep them away.
What kills bed bugs in your motorhome instantly?
The most trusted way of getting rid of bed bugs doesn’t require money, but “heat”. They don’t survive past 100 degrees Celsius, so apply steam to where they may be nesting, like underneath mattresses and cushions.
What’s the best mouse repellent for motorhomes?
The best mouse repellent to use for RVs is peppermint oil. You can also use eucalyptus oil if that’s what you have available.