It can be upsetting when you find chewed food packaging, gnawed upholstery, or mouse droppings in your travel trailer; no one likes nature’s little critters invading their private spaces, and a great deal of damage can be done, especially when campers are left winterized over the colder months. People often leave food and other items in their RVs over the winter, and this attracts and keeps rodents in your unit – why would they want to go out in the cold when they have a ready supply of food and bedding?
Mice can chew through walls and upholstery to get to a food source. And if a rodent does get to your food, throw it out because its contaminated and could be carrying disease.
The arrival of wildlife of one kind or another in your RV is inevitable, so what can you do to protect your camping space?
One of the best ways to combat mice in your camper is to set up preventative measures to keep them out. Here are some of the easiest ways to prevent rodents from invading your camping units during the off-season:
Keep things clean
Keep your camper as clean as possible. Common sense really, but you’d be amazed on how often this is overlooked. Cleanliness goes a long way towards keeping out critters looking for a source for food and shelter. And remember to do a deep clean before and after you put your unit into storage. Get into the habit of cleaning daily when you’re using your camper. Keep it simple: clean down your countertops, tables, and floors. This can make a big difference.
Inspect your RV for holes
Look for holes in the floor and walls, check for chew holes at the back and bottom of cabinets, and especially where sections join – ceiling corners, floor and cupboard joints etc.. And check inside and outside; if you find any places that could be big enough for a mouse to fit through, fill it as they can fit through even the smallest of openings.
Store your RV on concrete
For many people, space is at a premium, so storing your RV in the yard is the norm. The thing is though, if it’s on grass, it can attract critters. The better option is to store it on something like a concrete or gravel pad or driveway. This will minimize the chance of any of the outdoors coming indoors since rodents don’t like exposing themselves and becoming vulnerable which they inevitably do on solid surfaces as there’s no where to hide. If you store on grass, after a few months there is a heightened chance that when you go back into your RV you could find mouse nests.
Use mouse repellents
There is no perfect way to repel mice naturally, but there some methods that can be effective.
- Ultrasonic pest deterrents: if you have power to your RV during the winter, you can use ultrasonic rodent deterrents. These plug into a standard outlet and send out a extremely high frequency signal that deters mice and rats from entering the space. You may need to use two or more, depending on the size of your camper.
- Make homemade mouse repellents: one of the most effective scents to keep mice out is peppermint. You can use peppermint leaves, spray, or oil and make soaked cotton balls or peppermint spray, and use them at any main points of entry.
- Soap: bar soap with strong odors, such as Irish Spring, can be effective too. The scent can repel mice and you don’t need to replace it as often as other home made repellents.
- Bounce sheets: my wife swears by scattering bounce sheets all around the place. It not only keeps the mice out, but makes your RV smell nice too!
What to do when mice do finally get into your RV
Despite all your efforts, you may still find that you have some kind of rodent infestation in your RV come spring-time. In this case, the only thing you can do is find the nests and remove them, and trap the little invaders. Live rodent traps are beyond doubt the best practice here. They’re safe and you can release them back into the wild. We do not recommend the use of traditional mouse or rat traps, since if they trap and kill a rodent mid-winter, by the time Spring comes, you could have maggots and flies to deal with, as well as the pungent smell of decay.
In conclusion, managing rodents – and other wildlife – is a big part of any camping activity. Take that on-board as one of your routine maintenance tasks, and if you do it well, you minimize the chance that wildlife will invade your RV space, cause damage, create mess, and be a nuisance under your feet.