You love RVing, but you are not so fond of the little creatures that scurry around you and can make your RV living miserable. Your RV has that onboard kitchen, stocked with goodies that mice just love to camp out for. This is especially true if you ever leave your camper stocked for the next outing while it is in storage.
I’ve been boondocking with friends in Arizona and in Colorado, last summer and mice kept me up all night. I traveled all over Michigan, Minnesota, and the mid-West and it seems like mice always find my rig. My bay is right under my bed and mice love partying there at night. I was really annoyed and needed a good solution.
The good news is that there are ways to get rid of mice and other critters, it might be a long battle but there are also ways to prevent them from coming back.
Don’t Let Them In
Ideally, you want to keep mice from even getting in your RV in the first place. There are a few steps to take to make your RV a mouse-free zone. The first step is to make it less hospitable for mice. Keep the rig clean and free of food, especially during storage. You have to remember that your RV has easy access through doors, seams, and windows.
All food should be removed from the RV between trips. Canned goods and other sealed items can remain. Remove foods that have easy to nibble bags or cartons. They might have a long shelf life, but they can be quick snacks for a mouse. Easy targets for mice include:
- Packaged food
- Sugar, flour, and other baking ingredients
- All dried fruits and nuts
- Chocolate bars
- After food is removed, thoroughly clean the RV. Clean inside cabinets, drawers, and other storage areas where you had food.
While you are camping, adding traps and other deterrents in addition to cleaning can also help. I would not advise traps while your RV in storage since, dead mice will be smelly.
There are certain scents known to keep mice away and you do not have to resort to toxins in your living space. Peppermint, pine needles, mothballs, and dryer sheets will do the job nicely but only temporarily. Just place these wherever mice have been hanging out and they won’t come back.
Keep Mice Out Of The RV
Mice can fit in through very tiny holes. If their head fits through, their whole body will. Your RV is most likely full of holes, filling them all in won’t be easy. Many times they move into your storage compartment and climb into the walls to which you don’t have access to.
When I am in between trips or storing my RV for a while I take out all food items and clean everything up well. The only thing that might be safe is canned food but other than that, just remove everything.
Prevention is a great step to take when mice are a problem. Once they move in, it can be troublesome to get them out. This is especially true when your RV is in storage. These tips below will help you keep the rodents out and away from your RV.
- Leave your hood open: this only works when you are boondocking. Mice love dark and warm places like under your hood. But if you keep it open, it’s not inviting for them.
- Spray Foam: filling all holes in with spray foam can help. Make sure you won’t’ use too much spray because it can expand over time.
- Lights: using string lights around your RV tires and anywhere they can climb into it could be great prevention. I do have motion detection lights as well, which helps to deter them. I use these while dry camping and it really works. I put solar string lights around my tires when I stay in one place for multiple nights. The blinking light keeps them coming close to the tires.
- Vinegar: I found a simple and cheap solution, the only problem with this is that you have to do it almost every night. I put vinegar in a spray bottle and each night I go and spray it on and around the tires and the bottom of the cab area. The places where I know they come in. The strong smell of vinegar helps to keep them away.
- Scented Rodent Repellents: there are scented rodent repellents that can keep them away for a while. They have a strong smell that mice don’t like so they won’t go close.
- Electronic Rodent Repellents: when you plug in these devices they make high-intensity sound waves that are out of the hearing range for humans and most household pets such as dogs, and cats but they annoy mice. The sound waves from the mice repellent will stimulate the mouse’s auditory system and brain. Mice then usually move on to a new location, hopefully out of your RV.
- RV Cover: An RV cover is a great way to keep mice out during the winter and when in storage. Your RV looks appealing to a rodent out in the cold, especially if there are foods inside. An RV cover will keep them out and protect your RV if it is stored outside. This only will work if you don’t have holes on the bottom where they can come in.
- Inspections: Whether in storage or not, you need to perform regular inspections of the RV. Check all the small and enclosed spaces that critters might like to live in. Don’t forget to check the underside of the RV, electrical lines, and sewer too. But you will hear them during the night if they live there. I promise!
Why Do I Need to Keep Mice Out?
Mice make terrible house guests. They eat your food, they create messes, and they leave droppings behind. Rodents are also known to carry diseases like the Hantavirus, so they are unsanitary and dangerous to your health. Mice are also prolific breeders which means you will have more than you expected very soon. They can also wreak havoc on wires and chew through boards and wood. They can cause thousands of dollars of damage. Also, they will keep you up at night, running around in your bay, in your walls.
Most people end up with mice in their RVs when they are in storage. When the rig is left untouched for weeks, mice assume ownership. It is important to keep the RV clean, shut down, and clear of food to keep mice away.
I got them when I was living in my RV boondocking in the forest. Many others got them at the same place but some RVs were worse than others. My RV had lots of holes and they were all over the place. There were nights when I didn’t hear any movements then nights when they were very active. First I wanted a humane solution and not kill them but when they keep you up for nights in a row, you’ll get cranky! I got to the point when I just needed to get rid of them, no matter how.
If you find yourself with mice that moved in, you now have the tips to dispose of them and keep them away in the future.
Solutions to Getting Rid of Mice
- Sprays: The scents mentioned above will deter a few mice, but if you have a serious mouse problem, you may need a more permanent solution. These scents are great to keep around once you get rid of the pests, but in the meantime, traps and poisons will get the job done quickly.
- Poisons: Commercial rodent poisons work by imitating foods that mice like. When they are hungry, they eat the food, then return to their hiding spot where they will die. Many people do not like using poisons in their RV which makes sense. Don’t use poison if you have other pets like dogs or cats. Poison can kill mice in places you don’t have easy access to and that will stink.
Traps are not free of cruelty either but they allow you to control mice without bringing toxins into your living space. There are a few different types of traps available.
- Box traps: These work by luring the mouse in with bait. The mouse gets trapped inside the box with no way to exit. This is the most humane way to capture the little creatures. You can collect box traps with still-living mice inside them and release them outdoors, or dispose of the boxes once they’re full.
I personally used a Box Trap when I had a mouse problem. The only problem with it is that mice will be still alive when cathing them and you will have to release them and clean the trap, which can be really disgusting. I would suggest using rubber gloves and washing your hands well after you get this done. Mice can transmit diseases that you want to avoid catching.
- Old-fashioned spring traps: You’ll remember these from Saturday morning cartoons. Although some users may see them as barbaric, they can be a really effective way to kill off the mice you have. I usually dip a small piece of bread in peanut butter and attach it to the bait. This works pretty well. There were nights in Michigan when I caught 6 mice during the night. Some people like to re-use them, I personally don’t want to deal with dead mice, I just throw them away using rubber gloves.
- Glue traps: These traps are simple but effective. You place these sticky sheets in areas where mice are likely to travel, and when the mouse steps on the trap, its feet get stuck and it can’t move. Glue traps are affordable, easy to use, and great for small places. The problem with this is that mice will be still alive. It might not be something you want to deal with.
- Electronic traps: I have bought two of these and I caught mice with them. I used bait and when they walk in they get electrocuted in a humane way. It takes a quick second. I electrocuted myself when touched it by accident. The trap is very hard to clean, it’s better to use replacement traps which you can buy from the same company. This only works however if you don’t have too many mice. It’s too expensive otherwise.
- Bucket trap: Using a bucket trap with water and with a ramp going up with some bait can do the trick. I personally don’t want to catch mice outside of my rig, just the ones that keep me up at night, so I haven’t tried this one but others did have huge success with it.