RV Information for Kampgrounds of America, Inc.

Critter Deterrents

Joe and Vicki Kieva

Dear Joe and Vicki: We seem to be having a lot of trouble with ants getting into our trailer. Any thoughts on how to discourage critters and pests from entering our RV?

Vicki: Try to locate and seal off the openings that could allow those unwelcome visitors to enter your rig.

One way to do this is to wait until it is dark outside. Open and illuminate all the interior closets and cabinets next to the floor. Now check under the outside of the RV to see if any light is coming through.

Conversely, you can also light up the outside of the RV and see if you can find any light making its way into the darkened interior of the coach.

Follow plumbing and wiring to the openings where they pass through the floor and walls. Do this both inside and outside. Once you have located all the potential entryways, seal them by injecting some Styrofoam into the openings (you can get spray cans of Styrofoam at your hardware store). Not too much, though. The Styrofoam expands after it leaves the can, and a little goes a long way.

The advantage to using Styrofoam is that it won’t damage anything and it can be easily removed if the plumbing or wiring has to be worked on.

Closing these openings will not only help keep out critters, it will seal out dust and moisture as well.

Occasionally you’ll camp in an area where there is a lot of ant activity. When it looks like ants might be a problem, we spread a small amount of borax powder or kitchen cleanser containing bleach around the tires, leveling jacks and any other items on the RV that contact the ground. Ants don’t seem to want to cross this stuff.

We also smear about a one-inch band of petroleum jelly around our electrical cord, water hose and sewer hose to discourage ants from using them as a bridge to our RV. Joe tries to tell people that it makes the hose slippery and the ants plunge to their death. Actually, they just don’t want to walk across greasy surfaces.

Mothballs will ward off ants, spiders and other insects. Spiders are attracted to the smell of propane so we place a few pieces of flea collar in our refrigerator’s and water heater’s outside access compartments when we put our rig into storage.

We’ve been told that fabric softener sheets and mothballs repel mice. We’ve also been told that mice make sleeping bags out of the fabric softener sheets and play soccer with the mothballs. The only effective solution for mice getting inside RVs seems to be mouse traps.

Don’t overlook the pest products you can find in hardware, garden and grocery stores.