How to Control Bugs and Pests When RVing

One of the best ways to make sure that your RV vacation will be pleasant is to take steps to safely protect your travelers as well as your vehicles from bugs and pests.

There are several methods you can use that are easy, fast, safe and effective such as

•     environmental control
•     proper vehicle preparation,
•     fending off invasive pests,
•     avoiding contact with bugs and insects and
•     correctly dealing with ticks.

Using some or all of them will eliminate many of the problems you might encounter while traveling and can significantly help to improve your RV travel experience.

Don't Let Bugs and Pests Ruin Your RV Trips!Pixabay
Learn to Control Your Environment

When you set up camp in a motor home or trailer, you mostly spend your days in settings where there are trees, heavy foliage, standing water woods and grass.

In such locations you will also find ants, spiders, flies, fleas, chiggers, gnats, maggots, mosquitoes, hornets, wasps, bees and other critters that call those places home. 

You may also find skunks, rats, mice, raccoons and other pests that can harm you or damage your coach.

1.    Country settings are where those creatures are supposed to be.
2.    When you go there, you are invading their turf.
3.    If you get stung, bitten or aggravated as a result, it’s your own fault!

The best way to protect yourself is to control your environment as much as possible without hurting yourself or damaging your health, vehicles or equipment.

To do this always make it a point to camp in places where others are parked close by, be vigilant about your surroundings, especially at night, be careful when you step out of your travel unit and watch for signs of problems within your coach, such as crumbs in strange places or food boxes with holes in them.

To get rid of bugs and insects, use a non-toxic bug killer that is effective, yet safe, like Sweetly Citron Natural Insect Repellen

This product is good for eliminating ants and other crawling insects without harming your family's safety because it is Deet free.

Protect Your RV

There are a number of things you should do to protect your RV so that when you get ready to take a trip, you won't discover any nasty surprises.

I well remember the days when we weren't smart enough to do this, and boy did we suffer for our stupidity. Traveling with ants, roaches and wasps as companions was definitely not fun!

Had we had privy to the the information I'm sharing here, those nasty little episodes never would have happened.

Here are some things you can do to avoid similar problems:
  • Before traveling or storing, set off a bug bomb and leave the coach closed for at least 24 hours afterwards. (Make sure you use a product that is nontoxic to humans and pets.
  • When parked for any length of time, spread powdered ant killer around the tires of your coach and tow vehicle.
  • Spray your hoses and tires with Pam to make them slippery so that bugs cannot use them as entry points. Do this regularly as you travel.
  • Place ant and roach baits inside of the coach when it is stored or while traveling.
  • Check your coach for bee,wasp and ant nests regularly, especially if it has been stored for awhile. Favorite spots are inside of the exterior door behind the refrigerator, the insides of wheel wells, refrigerator vents and basement storage areas. Spray heavily to get rid of them.
  • When traveling in warm months, spray Pam on the front of your coach. This keeps bugs from “sticking” and protects your paint, too. Using dampened dryer sheets will make removal fast and easy.
  • Check screens for openings, tears or holes that can allow insects to enter your coach. Repair or replace them as soon as you discover a problem.
Deal Effectively With Invasive Pests

Bugs and insects are not the only creatures who will want to give you problems.

Mice and rats will try to get to your food supply and can also eat through the wires and plumbing beneath your travel unit.

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The best and safest way to keep them at a distance is to place a few humane rat or mouse traps (like the one above) under your coach. Use peanut butter as bait so that they will go for that rather than your food or your coach.  

By doing this, you can use the same traps repeatedly, the critters are not injured and you can release them back into the wild once you move on. However, if you do a release while you remain in the same spot, they most likely will return!

This type of trap is much easier and less messy to use than those that kill rats or mice, which is why my husband and I prefer using them.

To avoid problems with bigger pests such as skunks and raccoons, never leave food or open garbage lying around outside of your RV.

If you do encounter one of these creatures, back off slowly and get into your coach or tow vehicle until it goes away.

Never quickly leap out of your coach at night to check out strange sounds because you just might land on a skunk and get covered with with a noxious spray that will be very difficult to get rid of! (Bathing in tomato juice will remove the stink if you do get sprayed.)

Avoid Having Contact With Bugs

The following tips will help you to avoid having contact with bugs.

1.     Never camp near water or densely wooded areas.
2.     Check for bee, wasp and ant nests before setting up camp on any site.
3.     Carry bug spray with you and use it generously.
4.     Keep food covered and never leave scraps, spills or crumbs lying around.
5.     Never leave open containers unattended, even if they are empty.
6.     Place garbage in tightly closed containers and dispose of it regularly.
7.     Keep your unit’s doors and windows closed.
8.     Make sure there are no holes in your RV screens.
9.     Use a nontoxic insect spray or electric bug zappers to keep insects at bay.
10.  Turn off lights before entering RV after dark so that bugs do not fly in.
11.   Wear rubber bands around pant and shirt cuffs to keep insects away from your body. 
12.  Leave the perfume and after shave at home.
13.  Protect you neck and head with scarves and hats.
14.  Travel in the cooler months, if possible. Many bugs are dormant then.

It is also a good idea to use an outdoor citronella candle or two near the entry door side of your coach to keep mosquitoes at a distance.They are are safe, small and easy to store.

I always carry at least one of these whenever we travel, and they work great. I have tried several different brands, but Repel seems to work the best of all of them.

Deal With Ticks Carefully

Ticks present a special set of problems because they carry Lyme Disease. You should do everything possible to steer clear of them, but when one gets a hold of you, make sure you know what to do.

To avoid bringing them into your travel unit: stay away from tall grasses, avoid Spanish Moss and check your pets regularly for ticks before allowing them into your coach.

What to do if a tick crawls under your skin:
  • Light a match, blow it out, and then hold the hot tip on the back of the tick. It will crawl   out, and you can then knock it off and kill it.
  • If you cannot get the tick out, coat it with clear nail polish. This cuts of its oxygen supply and kills it.
  • If you are concerned that you have contracted Lyme Disease due to a tick bite, seek medical help immediately.
  • Never try to pull a tick out of your skin because the head will remain and cause problems for you.
Get Ready to Fight the Pest and Bug Wars!

There are many more insects in the world than people, so when you leave your home and thrust yourself into theirs, you and your family had better be prepared to deal with them.

Batting a few flies away when you are trying to enter or leave your RV is much different than fighting off a some wasps that have gotten to your coach through an open window.

Plan ahead, and prepare for the worst so that you can handle any bug or pest related problems that may arise.