Mice and other pests are always looking for a warm place to set up camp in the winter, and your RV in storage is exactly what they're looking for. It's quiet, dark, and warm, and they can enjoy undisturbed living for months. But critters can be very destructive, so give them their eviction notice! Here are some tips on keeping mice and pests out of your RV and protecting your valuable investment!
Mice might be cute, but they are nasty little creatures that carry diseases, some of which can be fatal. Even just cleaning up the little presents they leave behind for you can put you at risk of contracting a disease from them. So if you find evidence of mice in your RV, use precautions. Wear gloves and a mask when cleaning up after them to protect yourself from getting sick. If you happen to catch one in a trap, wear gloves when removing the mouse whether it's dead or alive. A little mouse bite could turn into a big problem for you!
How to Know if You Have Mice
Mice are horrible house guests! They never clean up after themselves, they eat your food, and they chew holes in things! They tend to leave pretty obvious signs that they’re there, but here is what you should look for:
- Mice droppings! Look in cupboards, drawers, and other small spaces where they hide.
- Holes! Mice chew holes in almost anything. They will chew holes in boxes and bags of food in order to eat what is inside. They my also chew holes in bedding or furniture in an attempt to make a nest.
- Hidden food! Mice are scavengers and tend to hide food for later. You may find pieces of food in the strangest places inside your RV.
These are all signs you have a furry “friend” in your camper and that you need to take action. You need to get them out, and keep them out for good!
Find Their Entry Point(s)
Before you can send them packing, you need to find their point of entry so that you can cover it up or fill it in. Here are some of the common places that mice sneak into an RV:
- Holes or gaps in the flooring
- Open vents
- Gaps at the slide outs
- Any space in the AC
- Holes around drains and water lines
We spoke with an exterminator and he told us that mice can fit through any gap or hole the size of a dime or larger. If they can get their head through the hole, they can squeeze the rest of their body to fit through it. So examine your RV with a fine-toothed comb and close up any open area you find.
Get Them OUT!!
To make your RV less desirable and hospitable, get rid of any and all food. If there isn't an easy food source, they may move on. However this doesn't guarantee that mice will live elsewhere, because they can always go out, forage, and bring goodies back to their nest inside your RV. But it's a good start! Also, get rid of anything that they can get open or chew through, such as boxes or bags.
Traps are a cost-effective way to start eliminating mice from your RV. Set some traps and bait them with something tasty. If you have peanut butter on hand, it works wonders! Or if you’ve noticed that there is something they eat from your RV pantry or cupboard, use it as bait.
There are a couple different types of traps you can get. The first are the kind designed to kill them. The wooden ones with the spring-loaded metal bar are the least expensive but also the least effective. These can easily miss, or just grab the mouse by the tail or foot, which they can drag around with them. Not only are they not effective, but the mouse can suffer for days before it dies, and who knows where it will end up when it finally does die.
There are instant-kill spring-loaded traps out on the market that will cost a little more to start but will work much better. They are designed to snap down so hard that they will kill the mouse instantly. This keeps them from suffering and keeps them where you can find them once they’re dead. The part that snaps down is much bigger as well so it’s sure to hit either its head or spine instead of the tail or feet.
Box humane traps will catch them and allow you to let them go elsewhere. If you are an animal lover, this may be the way to go for you so that you don’t have to kill them. You set bait inside a metal box and once the mouse goes in to get the bait, a door shuts behind it and it can’t get out. If you use these, make sure you take them far away from the camper to let them go, and then get back to experiencing the beauty of America through your RV windows.
Another kind of trap that may seem humane is the sticky paper you can put on the floor. But if you’re looking for something humane, don’t go this route. As they try to escape the sticky paper, they can rip their skin right off!
Poison is an effective way to rid your RV of mice, however there is a major downside to using poison. If a mouse eats the poison and then crawls away to die somewhere, you won't be able to find it until your nose alerts you to a carcass rotting inside your RV. And you'll have to turn your RV upside down to find it and give you and your campers some relief. If you've ever experienced the smell of a rotting carcass in a confined space, you know that this is not an ideal way to get rid of mice. But if you plan to go this route, you can pick up critter poison at your local hardware store. Place it where you've seen evidence of mice and well out of range of family pets or small children!
Keep Them Out!
While mice can get into your RV any time of the year, their favorite time to move in is when it starts to get cold outside. Here are some steps you can take to ensure they don’t get in while your RV is in storage:
- Take any and all food out of the camper! Even if you think it's secure in a sealed box or bag, it's not! Mice will chew through the packaging to get at what they want.
- Make it a habit to check all of the entry points listed above on a regular basis. Remember, they can fit through an opening as small as a dime! If you’re driving a motorhome, check your firewall as well!
- Mothballs are your friend. These emit an odor that mice cannot stand and they will stay away. Put pouches or bowls of them around the camper before you close it up to make sure they’ll smell them as soon as they come near.
Mice are always looking for a comfortable place to live that supplies food and warmth. If you take steps to eliminate what they are looking for and make entry into your RV as difficult as possible, you will lessen the odds that your RV will be home to little mice and pests.
Have you had a pest problem in your RV? How did you get rid of them? Share your tips in our comments section below!