Updated July 2, 2018 . AmFam Team
Those first moments back in your beloved RV after a long winter in storage are a wonderful feeling. But when you discover that rodents have taken up residence in your RV, it’s time to take action. Small as they are, they can become a problem that’s hard to solve. In gathering nesting materials, they have chewed through wires, plumbing lines and walls, often forcing expensive repairs. There is hope though. Below are several tips to best deter and abate rodents in your RV — and hopefully — prevent them altogether from finding their way back in.
If you discover evidence of rodents squatting in your RV, you’re not alone. Living in a climate where cold, long winters are commonplace puts your RV at increased odds of housing them during the cold months. Take a close look around your camper for indications. They’re messy. You might find hulls of acorns or other organic material and even if that’s all you find, you should take it seriously. Start by looking in the cupboards and other locations where you’ve stored food. They’re seeking out your dry goods — food left over from your last trip. Inspect the area with a flashlight.
Depending on the way creatures have made their way into your RV, you may find squirrels and even chipmunks are not that uncommon. And once they’re established inside, they won’t be too willing to leave. Here are steps you can take to take to keep rodents away and get you back on the road to adventure and discovery more quickly.
As winter sets in and the weather changes, rodents are going to try and seek out refuge in safe, reliable and warm spaces like your RV. They’ll hide out in dry places where nesting materials — like the foam in your mattress or the polyester in your blankets — are readily available. They’re able to squeak through small holes and cracks. But one little breech can mean big problems. And they don’t just make their way into the main cabin. If you find evidence of rodents on the kitchen floor, they may be nesting in your walls, chewing wires, wreaking havoc in the space between. They’ve even been known to chew through coolant hoses.
Just because they’re in doesn’t mean you can’t kick them out. An unappealing RV is sometimes good thing, especially when it’s rodents that you’re aiming at. To evict them, look at the RV through their eyes. Get down to their level and inspect your RV for tiny breeches or holes under your cabinets, in areas that may not have been sealed well. Use a flashlight. A nickel size hole is big enough for small rodents to get through. Take note of all suspect locations for further action. Next, get under the RV and look from below at areas that connect into the wall space of the RV, again noting all potential areas of concern.
Winterize by specifically targeting the reasons rodents seek out your RV. Start by removing all food from the interior of your camper including dry goods and condiments. And make sure you sweep, vacuum and mop all floors.
Sourcing the right materials for rodent deterrence is a great second step. Find stainless steel wool to plug any suspected holes. This option is more lasting than standard steel wool and it’s just as effective at preventing rodents from chewing their way through. Next, seal these areas with expandable polyurethane spray foam. Permanently attach sections of painted aluminum or sheet metal to larger exterior holes, and set up traps to capture rodents in high traffic areas.
Chemical agents don’t need to be toxic and many are quite effective and safe. Peppermint oil scenting systems are a great first option. This rodent repelling aroma is distributed through a permeable membrane and offers up to 60 days of continuous distribution. It’s good for offsite storage when checking up on your RV at frequent intervals is not possible. Other more lasting alternatives are available, too. Peppermint infused granules are available online and in big box hardware stores. Pre-packed pouches can be easily distributed across your RV’s drawers, closets and around areas where droppings had been previously found.
You’ll feel more at ease after you’ve taken preventative measures to ensure your RV is rodent free. And don’t forget to take the appropriate steps to winterize your RV. Each time you open the camper after a period of hibernation, remember to keep a list handy that identifies those former hot spots and inspect these areas regularly. And at the beginning of every RV season you should also set aside a little time to review your RV coverage in order to fine tune your policy. Contact an American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)today and get the RV insurance that’s right for you.