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Winter Defense: How to Keep Pests Out of Your RV

If you don’t prepare your RV for winter, there’s a good chance pests will get into it. Sadly, it won’t take them long to make themselves at home.

Once they get comfortable, convincing them to leave can be a hassle. In our experience, this isn’t a battle you want to fight. 

Today, we’ll share some of the best ways to keep pests out of your RV this winter.

Let’s get your rig ready!

Mice are just one type of pest than can invade your RV during the winter.

What Are the Most Common Winter RV Pests?

Each year, when the temperatures drop, various critters start looking for a safe place to endure winter. Unfortunately, you and your family may not be the only ones who find your camper cozy. If an unwelcome visitor gets in, you might be surprised when you return to your rig in spring.

Mice and rats are typically the biggest offenders. These creatures may be small, but they can create a big mess. They have a strong sense of smell and will squeeze their way through tiny openings. Generally, they’re looking for food, warmth and shelter. If you didn’t prepare your RV for winter, these pests will likely find all three.

Additionally, you must be aware of insects and their potential impact on your recreational vehicle. One of the most common bugs owners contend with is the cockroach. If you find one, there’s likely a host of others hiding nearby. If left unaddressed, they multiply quickly and can become a health concern. However, they aren’t the only vermin to worry about.

Some RV owners discover ants, bed bugs, and spiders during their first trip in the spring. Despite the harsh conditions and lack of food, some insects are incredibly resilient. They’ll patiently wait for Old Man Winter to leave and make room for warmer temperatures and camping season.

Deep Dive: Where the Heck Do Bed Bugs Come From?

How Much RV Damage Can Pests Cause?

Rodents, especially rats and mice, can do severe damage. They’ll look for just about anything they can find to create nests. One of their favorite materials is the insulation used throughout the underbelly and ceilings of your RV. They’ll tear it away and carry it back to their new homes.

It’s also important to know that mice and rats aren’t picky eaters. They’ll make a snack out of almost anything. 

Some owners have experienced electrical issues due to these critters gnawing on wiring. This can render electronics useless and pose a safety risk. A frayed or damaged wire can generate heat, which can cause your rig to burst into flames.

Winter pests in your RV can become a problem. And these situations only get worse with time. The last thing you want to do is delay addressing these issues. Doing so could put yourself, your vehicle, and others in danger. Take action immediately and reduce the chances of a hazardous predicament.

Check your house too: 7 Dangerous Creatures in Your House.

Best Ways to Deter Pests From Wintering in Your RV

Want to keep pests out of your RV this winter? The famous saying reads, “The best defense is a good offense.” Here are a few ways you can take action to keep unwanted guests out of your space.

Remove All Food Before Storing Your RV

At the end of each camping season, clear all of the food out of your camper. Mice and other rodents have an incredible sense of smell and aren’t afraid to use it. These animals are determined when they get hungry. They’ll chew through cardboard boxes and other materials to score a snack.

When preparing your RV for winter, consider anything that could attract pests. You should go through every cabinet and drawer to avoid missing anything. Remember to remove items with strong scents, like spices. Even non-food items like toothpaste are also good to remove.

Be sure to remove all food from your RV when storing it for the winter to help avoid pests invading.

Keep It Clean

While very few people enjoy cleaning, it’s essential that you thoroughly clean your camper before storing it. It’s an excellent opportunity to get into the nooks and crannies of your RV to give it some TLC. 

Wipe down surfaces, clean out your refrigerator, and remove all trash. If critters can’t find food, including crumbs, they won’t stick around. Grab a broom and vacuum and use them on your floors. You never know what’s living in your carpets, especially if it’s been a while since you last vacuumed.

Find and Seal RV Pest Entry Points

If you paid a pretty penny for your RV, it’s likely sealed well. But the number of gaps, cracks, and holes you can find around your camper might surprise you. Sealing up the entry points will require you to get under your rig with a can of spray foam insulation. Check spots around plumbing, wiring, and other components.

We know owners who found holes near the spare tire. These weren’t tiny holes, either. They were several inches long and wide. Pests that could easily access this area found a safe, warm place to spend winter.

Take your time during this process. Doing a shabby job will leave your RV unprotected from pests throughout winter. Once one of these trespassers finds their way in, the word will quickly spread amongst their friends. Before you know it, you have a severe infestation on your hands.

Use Pest Deterrents

Deterrents can be helpful if you want to keep critters away. Some owners utilize repellents that have strong scents. As we mentioned, rodents have an extraordinary sense of smell. Filling an area with peppermint, mothballs, ammonia, and cayenne pepper can be an effective solution.

You can also find ultrasonic devices and motion-activated lights to scare them away. Some deterrents are better than others. Additionally, some animals can develop a resistance to ultrasonic devices, and scents can lose their potency. As a result, you need to check your space and change approaches frequently. After all, you want to keep them on their toes.

This Ultrasonic Pest Repeller has great reviews!

How To Deal With Pests That Have Wintered in Your RV

If you discover that pests have gotten into your RV during winter, take action immediately. The longer you wait, the worse it’s likely going to get. 

Traps are one of the most common solutions for mice and rats. You can purchase catch-and-release or kill traps. Unfortunately, the deadly ones tend to be the most effective.

Folks dealing with bugs will likely require insecticides. Most big-box retailers have various products readily available. Be careful when selecting and applying them, especially if you have pets or small children. You don’t want your loved ones coming in contact with these solutions.

Further, let this be a reminder only to use poisons as a last resort. These can effectively kill the pest, but they can also harm other animals. Toxic chemicals could endanger wildlife if a scavenger finds the deceased remains. 

Finally, you never know where the creatures will die. If they pass in the walls of your camper, you’ll know by the smell.

Plan Ahead to Keep Pests Out of Your RV This Winter

Keeping pests out of your RV during winter is a challenging task. If you take a few precautions, you can win the war against these pesky critters. It’ll just take a little effort on your part.

However, knowing your rig is free of bugs and rodents is a glorious feeling. Those of you who’ve battled an infestation understand what we mean!

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