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How to Prevent and Get Rid of Pests in the RV

Don’t let their cute little faces fool you. Mice and other pests in the RV can inflict great harm on your rig before you know what happened. They eat electrical wiring, chew holes in plumbing, and leave filthy poop everywhere.

Most RVers will square off with rodents inside the RV at one point or another. Here’s how my husband and I have battled the buggers.

Why It’s Easy for Rodents to Move Into RVs

keep pests out of RVs basement
Mice moved into our unsealed RV basement when we weren’t watching. (Image: @LiveWorkDream)

Whether you own a motorhome, trailer, truck camper, or campervan, it’s so easy for tiny critters to climb their way into your home on wheels. RVs practically lay out the welcome mat for rodents. From hoses hanging outside the RV to undercarriage gaps on the perimeter of the RV footprint, our rigs have many open spaces that allow food aroma and warm air to announce “Come and get me!”

How to Welcome Mice Inside the RV

  • Provide a warm space
  • Park in a field, or go remote camping in the mountains
  • Leave food out on the counter, and don’t sweep crumbs off the floor
  • Don’t close up gaps around plumbing, propane lines, and undercarriage covers.

According to pest control experts, mice can squeeze into a 6 millimeter crack. That’s the size of a pencil! Watch this video of a mouse squeezing under a stick house door. See how they flatten their bodies to invade your home?

Any time you have a warm space with food inside and an easy way to get it, you’re welcoming rodents in the RV. Our tow or toad vehicles are also at risk. We once had a family of squirrels living inside the engine compartment insulation of our Dodge RAM truck.

Two Easy Ways to Prevent and Keep Pests Out of RVs

When summer turns to fall, start preparing to battle mice and rodents. This is the time of year they begin looking for safe hiding places in winter. Your comfy RV is an easy target if you are camping in the shoulder season.

Mice also love lonely, unused RVs parked in fields, with nobody around to intrude on their business. And sometimes, even RV storage businesses in urban settings aren’t immune from hungry rodents looking for a safe place to live.

Your first job is to prevent mice from getting inside the RV in the first place. We’ve tried the usual “natural” rodent repellents like peppermint oil and none of them worked. And we refuse to use rodenticides. Anything that kills mice by slowly setting their guts on fire is cruel. And rodenticides kill critical wildlife like birds of prey and coyotes who eat the poisoned rodents.

Seal Exterior Gaps to Prevent RV Rodent Invasions

The most earth-friendly and effective ways to keep mice out of RVs is to seal exterior gaps around the RV. We do this by applying Flex Mend Belly Bottom Repair Tape along any cracks where critters can get inside.

Flex Mend Belly Bottom Repair Tape

First, we stash bits of coarse steel wool in the crevices before sealing with the tape. This is another line of defense to keep pests out of RVs. They hate chewing on steel wool. Wouldn’t you?

Use steel wool before sealing cracks. (Image: @LiveWorkDream)

Clean any dirt or debris around the crack. Then seal it with the under belly tape you just purchased. This stuff is made of long-lasting polyester rip-stop material. The generous width makes it easy to apply. But use care: the adhesive is so sticky, the tape loves sticking to itself, to fingers, and everything else. Ironically, it loses adhesive strength if you place on a carpeted surface. In that case, you’ll need to redo the job from time to time.

The tape is rip-resistant, and deters mouse from entering RVs. (Image: @LiveWorkDream)

Next, Use a Non-Toxic Rodent Repellent

One of our favorite RV gadgets to keep pests out of RVs and tow vehicles is the Mouse Blocker. It comes in a version that hooks up to RV house batteries and car batteries. You can also buy a plug-in version.

Both use very little power, and both emit different levels of powerful ultrasonic frequencies to keep mice and rodents outside where they belong.

Mouse Blocker keeps pests out of RVs

Between the under belly tape and the ultrasonic rodent repellent, anyone is well-positioned to keep pests out of RVs. Just remember to remove all food and crumbs if you’re storing your RV in winter. And if you’re living inside, keep all food inside sealed cabinets that don’t have plumbing running through them.

When Mice Get Inside RVs

There’s nothing worse than waking up at night to hear little nails scratching on the inside of RV walls. When a determined mouse gets in, usually there is nothing more you can do than zap, snap, or trap and release the little devils. We once killed about a dozen mice in a few weeks. Turns out it was a mamma and her babies. Ugh!

mouse trap choices
We used every mouse trap available to kill mice in our RV. (Image: @LiveWorkDream)

If your RV mouse prevention efforts fail, consider RVing with cats for the ultimate in RV rodent elimination services.


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