Thursday, September 9, 2010

Deterring Critters

Dear Joe and Vicki: We seem to be having a lot of trouble with ants getting into our trailer. Any thoughts on how to discourage critters and pests from entering RVs?

Joe: Try to locate and seal off the openings that could allow those unwelcome visitors to enter your rig.

One way to do this is to wait until its dark outside. Open and illuminate all the interior closets and cabinets next to the floor. Now check under the outside of the RV to see if any light is coming through.

Conversely, you can also light up the outside of the RV and see if you can find any light making its way into the darkened interior of the coach.

Follow plumbing and wiring to where it passes through floors and walls. Do this both inside and outside. Once you have located all the potential entryways, seal them by injecting some Styrofoam into the openings (you can get spray cans of Styrofoam at your hardware store). Not too much, though. The Styrofoam expands after it leaves the can and a little goes a long way.

The advantage to using Styrofoam is that it won’t damage anything and it can be easily removed if the plumbing or wiring has to be worked on.

Closing these openings will not only help keep out critters, it will seal out dust and moisture as well.

Vicki: Occasionally you’ll camp in an area where ants know how to get into RVs. When it looks like ants might be a problem, we spread a small amount of borax powder or kitchen cleanser containing bleach around the RV’s tires, the leveling jacks and any other items on the RV that contact the ground. Ants don’t seem to want to cross this stuff.

We also smear about a light band of petroleum jelly around our electrical cord, water hose and sewer hose to discourage ants from using them as a bridge to our RV. Joe tries to tell people that the slippery hose causes the ants plunge to their death. Actually, they just don’t like walking in the stuff.

Spiders are attracted to the smell of propane but repelled by the smell of a flea collar. So, before we store our RV, we cut a flea collar in two and place the halves in the outside access compartments of our refrigerator and water-heater.

We’ve also been told that fabric softener sheets repel mice. I won’t tell you Joe’s theory on that one.

Don’t overlook the pest products you can find in hardware, garden and grocery stores.

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