You will inevitably encounter insects, rodents and pests while living in your RV. Depending on the region and time of year, the severity of these encounters will vary. A few basic measures can easily prevent yellow jackets from invading a barbecue event and mice from squeezing into the kitchen.
Choose Your Parking Spaces Wisely
Parking spaces often dictate the prevalence of rodents and insects so choose your spaces wisely. RV parks are wonderful because the grounds are maintained and the encounters are far fewer than those found in wild parking spaces. They still have their fair share of natural rodent and insect populations however.
Do a visual inspection and walkaround of the space before choosing to park. Look for areas that are not near bogs and marsh type waters as these zones produce flies and insects. While the waterfront property may look attractive, the bugs can really be an issue.
Also look for parking in spaces away from wood and debris piles where rodents can nest. Tall grass and unmitigated fields are also hosts to strong rodent populations. If you can choose an area with defensible space, it can slow the approach of rodents.
Sitting outside and cooking on the barbecue will often attract yellow jackets. They are carnivorous and will land right on a fresh steak to eat. Yellow Jackets are primarily a nuisance during the summer months but they are also active during the shoulder seasons in warmer climates. Every year is somewhat different in terms of populations and some years are particularly bad.
Controlling yellow jacket populations requires an active approach. Set yellow jacket traps around your camper to catch them on a daily basis. The traps are easy to find at hardware stores and they really work wonders. Also, do an inspection of the grounds around the RV and look for nesting sites. They like nesting around old structures like sheds and even in playground areas. Use a yellow jacket spray to kill any active yellow jackets then destroy the nests.
Flies and Mosquitos
While yellow jackets might be a nuisance during summer barbecue parties, they are far easier to manage than mosquitoes and flies. Be diligent about separating your inside and outside world to prevent the mosquitoes and flies from entering the RV. Use your window screens and door screen to keep them outside. Also maintain a clean interior space at all times. Trash, bacon grease and leftover food particles will attract flies and they can breed and infest an interior space when left unchecked. Wipe down your stove, sanitize all surfaces and do a big cleanup if flies are present in your interior.
Defending outdoor spaces requires a slightly different approach. Again, take out old garbage and maintain a clean living space. Hang sticky fly traps to attract and catch the flies before they crash your parties. The traps use pheromones to attract the insects and the sticky solution captures them instantly. For mosquitoes specifically, citronella candles work well outdoors and can really push away the blood suckers.
Mice are a major nuisance for homeowners and RV campers alike. They are prolific and can squeeze through tiny openings to enter a camper. Once inside, they will nest, invade personal spaces, chew through wires and create a mess. Always keep an eye out for mouse droppings and prepare to trap them immediately when present. Check with your local health department for the prevalence of hantavirus as well. If mice are present in an area with this dangerous virus, you must wear a mask and take special precautions while cleaning droppings.
Inspect the camper for potential openings and plug these holes with caulk or cover them with tape, sheet metal or anything else necessary to prevent entry. Areas where pipes and electrical cords enter from the exterior to interior are hot spots for rodents. Use spring loaded traps while living in the camper and set a bucket trap during storage periods. Place a straightened coat hanger over the bucket with an empty toilet paper roll covered in peanut butter. Add several inches of water and antifreeze to the bucket to drown the mice. The antifreeze will preserve them and prevent the camper from smelling.
Bears, Raccoons and Four Legged Critters
Insects and rodents aren’t the only threat to RV’s. Bears, raccoons and other four legged animals can invade and cause serious damage. Know the threat based on the areas where you are camped. Always bring in food and keep the doors locked to discourage entry. In certain national parks and protected areas, locking up food in an exterior bear-proof container is required by law. Know the rules and comply to prevent a bear from damaging your camper.
Close and lock windows and doors while you are out exploring as well. Raccoons can pry through a cracked window to enter a camper. While this is not common, it can happen and closing your windows is an easy defense. Lastly, keep the outside free of anything sweet or tasty. Garbage is obvious but even things like hummingbird feeders filled with sugar water will attract local scavengers. Pull down the feeders at night and don’t leave anything for the animals to eat.