Welcome to “Ask an RV Expert,” the advice column where RVillage experts answer your questions about common RV maintenance problems.
Have a question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we might answer it in a future column.
Dear RVillage Expert: What do you use to keep mice and chipmunks out? —Helen H.
Let’s talk about camping pests—no, not the noisy neighbors parked next door—real menaces, like mice, spiders, chipmunks, and other bugs and rodents who attempt to stay rent-free inside your rig. From being minor annoyances to causing costly damage to your RV, these unwanted critters can put a damper on your camping adventures. While total avoidance of mosquitoes, flies, and bees might not be entirely possible in the outdoors, taking measures to deter furry, flying, stinging, and downright invasive creatures is possible.
DEET-based sprays, torches, candles, and bug zappers can help prevent some of these pests from bothering you, but these aren’t fix-all solutions for some of nature’s other critters. Whether you’re storing your rig for winter or just trying to enjoy your campsite in peace, here are a few ways to help prevent and rid your RV of rodents and bugs before they ruin your camper and your time outside.
Interior and exterior cleaning. While this might sound like an obvious first step, it’s worth the mention. Outside of not leaving open or spoiled food on countertops or in fridges and pantries, your exterior campsite should also be cleaned. Scraps left behind on grills, picnic tables, and in trash bags will attract all types of critters (not to mention bears). Wiping countertops, brushing crumbs out of cabinets, and keeping your campsite tidy are also easy ways to prevent unwanted guests from joining your camping trip.
Check for cracks and holes. Inspecting your rig thoroughly for holes and any openings that bugs or rodents can sneak in should be on your regular maintenance to-do list. If you find a crack or hole, you’ll need to seal or caulk the area to prevent pests from invading your rig. Products like Flex Seal and Pestblock are great for repairing open areas both inside and outside of your RV. You should keep these products on-hand at home and on the road.
Add screens. If you’re looking for fresh air without letting bugs enter your RV or take over your outdoor space, then consider adding a screen or two to your site. Magnetic door screens or permanent solutions like the Screen Defender allow you to leave your entryway door open without letting bugs inside. Or, depending on your awning, you can add a screen room like this to your awning. This lets you relax outside without constantly swatting and spraying bugs.
Repellent. While most campers regularly use bug sprays and repellents to keep pests off themselves and out of their outdoor space, not everybody thinks to do this for mice and other rodents—until they’ve already invaded your rig. Spray the interior and exterior perimeters and belly of your RV to deter rodents from snooping around your space.
For a more natural solution, you can also plug in ultrasonic repellents inside your rig or leave peppermint-soaked cotton balls throughout the interior. These are both great solutions, especially if you’re worried about exposure to pets and kids.
Traps. If mice, chipmunks, and other rodents have already claimed their stake, then it might be time to use traps. While some people prefer to use glue traps and traditional bait-and-kill devices, others might be more comfortable with no-kill solutions. Live rodent traps and buckets can help catch these critters without causing harm. Just be sure to release them away from your RV and campsite to avoid another encounter.
Proper storage. When storing your RV for the winter months or even a shorter period of time, be sure to apply all of the above tips and tricks before closing up your rig. If possible, park your RV on concrete and regularly check for signs of pests. Make sure areas like inside storage bays, ducts, or other spaces near wires, gear, and major systems are clear of nests.
This article has links to products that were carefully selected by our editors. We may earn commission on your purchases from these links. Visit this page for the full details of our affiliate marketing policy.