Snowbirding 101

Dealing with uninvited guests in your RV

RVers weigh in on the best way to be rid of pests

Almost half of the RVers Lynne Benjamin asked said a cat is the best answer to pest problems. — iStockPhoto

Question: Have you ever had problems with mice, rats or other critters in your RV? We had a problem for the first time when we took our rig out of storage. I can put up with the occasional mouse, but I draw the line at their furry gray cousins!

Answer: We have not encountered this problem ourselves. But let me tell you, many RVers have. One fellow pointed out that in coastal Texas a certain species of rats are prevalent and care must be taken to keep them out of your rig, especially the engine compartment.

So we went to others to find out how they deal with the uninvited guest problem. I was surprised at the number of RVers who have encountered varying degrees of invasion.

Almost half of the RVers we asked think that a cat is the best solution. Unfortunately, for some this was not an option (dislike, allergies, etc.)

Here’s what some of your peers suggest:

  • Cotton balls soaked with peppermint placed strategically throughout the RV.
  • Using traps
  • We have poison dispensers we bought at a farm store under the wheels.
  • Snap trap mouse traps set and loaded with peanut butter 24/7, 365 days a year: two in basement storage and two inside behind vents where we can see them.
  • If you decide to fill holes, make sure you get even the very smallest ones. A mouse can get in through a very tiny opening.
  • Mice are trying to find a warm place for the winter and if they can get into your RV and find food, they are in heaven. Block as many of their entrances as you can and keep a couple of traps in places where they might nest, like under the drawers in the kitchen, and you should be ok.
  • I keep bait in several places on the coach. We cut a little hole in the side of an empty margarine tub and put the bait inside.
  • Glue traps and the little light yellow solid food thingies, and they do the job nicely. I refuse to spray pesticides, as those products are intended to kill and humans aren't immune to their effects.
  • Sticky paper with the mouse traps – I swear it will work.
  • Bounce fabric softener sheets, as the little buggers hate the smell of them.
  • Put steel wool around the holes and they will not come past.
  • Spread some mothballs liberally around the basement and especially the sanitary compartment, which has a heater!
  • I put Borax around all my tires (or even a circle around the rig).

The following was the most complex response we got, so it might be worth a try!

My cheapie mouse trap ... since we didn't have a mousetrap with us, I used a five-gallon bucket with about six inches of water in the bottom, laid a wire (mine was that spring steel wire you use to keep fibreglass bat insulation between the floor joists … handy things) and a piece of scrap corrugated cardboard (partial lid of a box). I threaded the wire through one of the channels in the cardboard. Then I baited the center of the cardboard with a piece of cheese (didn't have any peanut butter). Next I suspended the wire/cardboard over the middle of the bucket (wire set on the lip) and carefully balanced the cardboard - bait side up - with one corner just touching the lip so that it would sit flat without tipping over. I placed a ramp from the floor to the top of the bucket (in my case it was a short level we had). The mouse has to hop from the ramp to get onto the cardboard/bait. It falls into the water and drowns. I disposed of the dead mouse the next morning. I think it's called a bucket mouse trap. No squished mouse brains to deal with.

Good luck!

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