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One of the top things that RV owners dread. Mice…
Now, RVers have a few fears like the dreaded poo-pyramid, a tire blowout, or getting stuck— but over time, these furry, and rather frustrating, things can even be as bad as those two words RVers NEVER want to hear… I’ll give you a clue– something that rhymes with “Shwater Shamage… “
Really when you think about it, mice have it made in an RV. There’s no doubt they are eating well in a rig that’s housed loads of supplies for countless cookouts! Shoot, from the past season alone, those critters have a lifetime supply of crumbs that have made it across the nation under the couch and in between slide crevices… With a generous food supply and safe, warm living quarters around, it’s no surprise many RVers struggle with these little critters!
So now what?
Well, it’s time to go, Ratatouille.
It’s not just their droppings or peripheral glimpse of a scurry across the floor that makes RVers shiver. As a matter of fact, it’s their immense destructiveness while also posing a serious health risk to you and your traveling family.
The good news is, there’s preventative measures and different options out there to help keep your rig free and clear of these pesky rodents!
How to Prevent & Get Rid of Mice in Your RV
First, what NOT to do
There’s different methods of getting rid of those pesky rodents, but one thing you DON’T want to do is poison these guys.
As if mice were the last thing you want to deal with– DEAD MICE are the VERY LAST THING you ever want to deal with in your rig– decomposing– in a wall, crevice, or cranny that you can’t get to to properly dispose of…
So what do you do?!
Prevent mice from moving in
Obviously, preventing mice from even accessing your camper is ideal. Then, you’re less likely having to go another route getting rid of them– which can be even more expensive, time consuming, and aggravating.
Plus, no outdoor, wildlife-lover is going to want to cause harm to a cute critter unless they ultimately have to. So, as Jack Dempsey once said, “The best defense is a good offense.” In other words, start preventative measures out strong so, hopefully, you’ll never have to use (or pay for) other extensive and perhaps, unfavorable, rodent removal methods.
“The best defense is a good offense.”
Block them off
First you’ll want to block every possible access point they can squeeze through. With moving parts and pieces, a RV is far from a stationary home– therefore has a lot more compartments for rodents to squeeze in around. (Especially the motor, generator, and underbelly.) So, grab a headlight, an old rug, and do some stretches– because we are going under!
Look underneath the rig for any holes, gaps, cracks and chew marks indicating potential access points. Use fill fabric or expanding foam to block off any openings where a mouse could squeeze through. Make sure to double check previous “patchworks” and touch up where needed!
Now, take it to the inside! Open sink cabinets, check the under-bed storage area, look in the closet; pantry, kitchen cupboards, etc. For motorhome owners, also check around the drivers and passengers area for crevices or cracks a mouse could sneak in from. Remember, mice can get through the tiniest of holes!
Keep in mind, finding the actual point of access can easily be impossible! With so many dime sized gaps around plumbing, cracks around doors, poorly sealed compartments, etc. mice have a good chance to squeeze through something to gain access!
Don’t forget, while you may be spray foaming every crack, crevice, gap, and pin-hole you see on the underbelly– mice may be sneaking through in the most no-brainer spots! For example, above, is a storage and wet bay compartment on a Forest River fifth-wheel. The circle-shaped, hose access point is opened to thread the water hose through when hooking up at a campsite. It’s also an easy access point for mice! Now, unfortunately (and quite shockingly actually), the combo storage and wet bay compartment door does not completely seal off these two sections from one another! In fact, there happens to be a 3/4 inch gap connecting these areas together– making the attached storage compartment an easily breach-able point for a family of mice! From there, mice can enjoy loads of camping gear, warmth from the underbelly, and may even find further access points into the RV interior.
Make it a “1 Star Hotel”
Clean, clean, and clean. Many may leave this task for spring time when they are ready to bust the rig out. However, you’ll want to spend some time deep cleaning your unit BEFORE putting it in storage!
Remember, you don’t want anything in the unit that could attract mice. Think about it from a rodent’s perspective… Of course they want a place to crash from the cold. Hence a place with endless crumbs, bedding, and supplies at their little rodent fingertips makes it a place they NEVER want to leave!
So, just in case they are to make it inside– make it a “1 star hotel” so they quickly move on!
Do a thorough deep clean before storage:
- Remove all perishables and non-perishables
- Remove trash
- Clean out the pantry and cabinets of any crumbs
- Wipe down all surfaces
- Remove any valuables (books, toys, electronics) that could be chewed up.
- Sweep or vacuum any leftover food crumbs (paying extra attention to under furniture, around slides, in cupboards and cabinets, and cargo areas
- Store linens, toiletries, electronics, or non-perishables in heavy-duty, latchable bins. Especially cutlery, paper towels, napkins, or other picnic items that could be subject to mouse droppings or chewed up and used for their new nest!
Remember, mice are everywhere and can move in at any campground, RV park, or storage yard. Because of this, consider cleaning in between camping weekends. Don’t worry about a tedious deep clean each week. However, wipe the table, floors, and countertops of crumbs and be mindful of food storage. This not only protects camping meals from mice but helps keep items fresh longer and organizes the cabinets efficiently!
Unfortunately, many RVers can’t store their rigs inside to help keep rodents away. It’s slim pickings when it comes to parking and storing rigs during the off-season. Obviously, if you can, a clean storage building is your best bet!
Aside from indoor RV storage, select a level surface– preferably on concrete and away from a wooded area or grassy field. Clean the location of any debris and keep the grass and weeds around the parked unit cut short.
Use Repellants Before They Move In
After blocking off all access points, thoroughly cleaning, and parking the unit wisely– go the extra mile and add repellents!
In fact, there’s a variety of different rodent repellents for different types of situations and owner’s preferences. See the below examples:
Ultrasonic: These devices repel pests using an ultrasonic sound that is inaudible to humans and an environmentally friendly alternative to sprays or chemicals. There are battery-powered, 12V powered, plug-in, or solar powered devices available– depending on your storage situation.
LED Lights: Devices like the Loraffe Animal Repeller emits a combination of LED lights and ultrasonic waves to repel mice and discourage them from getting a closer look! The compact, battery operated design makes it ideal for places without a power supply– like many inside or outside RV storage facilities.
Spray: Rodent Sheriff Pest Control or Rodent Defense Vehicle Protection Spray is made to protect your motorhome or trailer from squirrels, rats, mice, raccoons, and other pests. Its organic, naturally-derived, non-toxic ingredients make it safe to use around home. In fact, this contains no pyrethrins, pyrethroids or permethrins. Spray in the engine compartment, wiring, and around the rig– creating a barrier between mice and your hard earned investment!
Pouches: Mice tend to find fragrant essential oil scents unappealing. Grandpa Gus’s Mouse Repellent incorporates cinnamon and peppermint to deter mice from invading your RV unit while still being safe and effective for your traveling family. Likewise, Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent made from balsam fir oil is a plant-based alternative that can protect storage areas with a scent that lasts up to 90 days. Throw these pouches in cabinets, pantries, under sink areas, in cargo, around wiring and more!
Getting Rid of Mice
Past the point where rodents have already moved in?
Shockingly, mice can move in and multiply fast. In fact, a mouse-free RV can easily become invaded overnight. Plus, without routinely checking your RV unit throughout storage– mice can be taking advantage of your pricey investment for WEEKS without you knowing!
With that in mind, it’s extremely important to frequently check on your RV whether it’s sitting in storage, at a seasonal site, or parked in your yard for long periods of time.
Unfortunately, once evidence is found you must act fast! Mice can be extremely destructive, causing costly damage and posing serious health risks to you and your family!
Mouse Removal & Traps
Just like repellant, there’s a variety of mouse traps and removal methods for your storage situation and/or personal preferences:
Catch Traps: Catch traps are the best to humanely, catch and release mice in a way that causes no pain or harm to the animal. For example, both CaptSure Humane Mouse Traps and Authenzo Humane Mouse Traps are simple to use, reusable, non-toxic, safe for people and pets, and feature air holes to prevent mice from suffocating– being one of the safest, no-risk methods of mouse removal!
Snap Traps: Then there’s the traditional snap traps, like Tomcat Press ‘N Set or Authenzo Mouse Traps that quickly kill destructive mice. Although these can be seen as inhumane, they are an easy, quick, and effective way of getting rid of mice that can wreak havoc on RV units and belongings inside!
Electronic Traps: Another lethal option uses high-voltage shock to instantly kill mice. For instance, the Victor No Touch, No See Electronic Mouse Trap delivers a quick shock and blinks to let you know when it’s time to empty the trap. The no see, no touch design makes this more appealing to have in RV cabinets while also being a safer option around children and pets.
Bucket Traps: Designed with the intent to catch and release, the Flip N’ Slide Bucket Lid Trap provides a different, but sanitary and humane method of catching mice without having to dispose of or touch any critters! The automatically resetting design allows continued use while any 5-gallon bucket can be used with the lid.
- Bait Stations
- Rat Poison
Why? Not only can bait and poison be harmful to children and pets but can actually be more of a hassle to RV owners! As a matter of fact, bait or poison does not work immediately, causing rodents to ingest the substance and die shortly after. Between the time of eating the bait, rodents can crawl right back into their cozy location– in the RV sidewalls, motor, plumbing, or– basically somewhere impossible for humans to get the soon-to-be-corpse! Even if poison is placed outdoors around a parked unit, mice can still eat or carry the bait back inside the RV– and worse case scenario– back to the nest– leaving you with a decomposing family of mice in your RV that you can’t properly dispose of!
- DO NOT use poison–especially at public or private campgrounds where other campers, people, and pets are present.
- Block off all potential access points from in and outside the rig.
- Keep your unit clean from food crumbs and trash.
- Remove food and store other belongings in latching bins.
- Park the RV on a clean, concrete or gravel area that is well-kept.
- Routinely check up on your RV unit and look for any signs of mice invasion (droppings, chew marks, nesting).
RVING IS BEING protective over your rig
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