With summer winding down, now is the time for campers to gear up and fight rodent damage inside RVs. As temperatures drop the mice, squirrels, raccoons and other rodents will start seeking shelter inside the warmest places they can find — usually our RVs.
If your RV happens to be parked near any type of natural setting like forests or fields, your rig is at risk for chewed wires, damaged mattresses and Hanta virus. You’ll find dozens of tips to fight rodent damage inside RVs in the iRV2 Discussion Forums.
One of the most common-sense tips comes from Paul Haller’s rodent prevention strategies:
Trying to remove rats or mice with mothballs or dryer sheets is crazy. It’s way better never to allow them access rather then schemes to repel them once they are inside . . .
The first and last line of defense with rodents is to prevent access. Period! Look around the rig and use copper shaving scrub pads to pack any hole that allows the mouse or rat entry. Once in place shoot a little expanding foam with the copper pad to hold it in place. Rodents will not chew copper.
Remember that a mouse can squeeze down to the size of a dime. They will chew almost any organic material and wood, drywall, foam, or insulation, will not stop chewing. They often attack wire flex ducts and once inside the thin film of the wire flex, they have access to the entire trailer or house through the duct work. Replace damaged duct work and never use wire flex under or inside a wall. Use flexible aluminum or steel rigid duct.
Rodents are just like a person. They want food, water, and shelter and they will take advantage of any opportunity to get what they want. The first and last line of defense is to prevent them entry. Mothballs may repel them but they still damage wires, insulation, fuel lines, etc once inside and they are vectors for disease. Feces and urine is toxic even after dried. Rodents are known to carry rabies, and they carry fleas that also are a very virulent vector for disease.
Go over your rig with a fine tooth comb so to speak and fill in any entry no matter how small and look closely around wheels, tires, and hoses or cords that allow them a way up into the coach. Do not use expanding foam alone or without copper. They will chew right through it. Store with no food inside the rig. If food of any kind is inside they will work for hours trying to gain entry. Stored food is like a flashing neon light saying Soup Kitchen.
Once you are sure they have no entry, trap the ones inside. If you catch one you probably have 11 others.”
More Ways to Prevent Rodent Damage Inside RVs
RVers have lots of ideas to prevent rodent damage inside RVs. Some seem like old wives tales but users swear by them, such as:
- Placing scented dryer sheets in every cabinet and drawer inside the RV
- Stashing cotton balls soaked with peppermint oil in storage areas.
- Traditional spring-loaded mouse traps.
- Ultrasonic noise devices that only rodents can hear.
- Moth balls. Stash in disposable bowls around and inside the RVs, or as ssGritton recommended, “take moth balls and put them in a old nylon and hang them over your tires which would be your entry point”
One inventive iRV2 member made a DIY rodent control trap with a 5-gallon bucket:
“Lean them up against the inside tires front and back, they crawl in eat the bait block and run off for water and DIE.”
While rodent baits like D-Con seem like a no-brainer, the problem with rodent poison is that pets, children and wildlife can be fatally harmed by it if it gets ingested. And since rodent bait slowly kills mice, any wild animal that tries to eat that dying mouse will also die a slow painful death. If you’re an outdoor lover, avoid mouse bait.
Extra iRV2 Tips to Avoid Rodent Damage Inside RVs