The Mice in Your RV Are Not Disney Characters; Try These Tips to Get Rid of Them
The Pest of the Ages: Mice
Mice are not a good thing to have around, anywhere!
I'm not talking about good old Micky or his cute girlfriend, Minnie. No, I'm talking about those foul, sneaky little spreaders of pestilence: real live mice.
The living habits of mice, in themselves, make them a pest that requires removal.
They tend to prefer living in the dark.
They nest in filth and they lie in their own waste.
And, of course, mice are infamous for being the carrier of the bubonic plague, which devastated the civilized world at the time.
The Mighty Mouse
Your RV is Your Castle
It doesn't matter if you are the occasional camper who uses a small pop-up trailer camper or if you have one of those large motorhomes with multiple slides that make it an even roomier home on wheels.
Your camper really is your castle. Your home away from home! Your defense against the elements and all that creeps in the night.
When you use your camper, you not only want everything in it to work properly but you also want your food and other supplies to be clean and safe to eat.
Plus, you definitely do no want to have your camper, furniture, walls, and wiring damaged by these small invaders.
Mice Are Not Preferred Traveling Companions
Sometimes, no matter how hard you work to keep your camper secure and clean, mice will find their way in and set up their own version of "camping."
Camper storage facilities are usually not found sitting in major metropolitan areas; pieces of land large enough to store dozens of big RVs and other campers are just too valuable, unless they are in areas more rural than urban
And any large piece of land, especially one that is in a wilder environment, will inevitably be a home for wildlife, especially smaller wildlife such as mice.
Mice Are Always Hungry and Extremely Prolific
And, mice go where the food is. They can smell real food, and even your camper electrical wiring smells good to them.
Once you get these little varmints in your camper, they will feed on whatever they can find and they will also reproduce quickly, turning themselves into a growing population of problems.
Many people are not aware of how fast mice can multiply, but mice reproduce year round, and just six mice can multiply into 60 within less than three months. The scary part is that once they are inside your camper, they no longer have any type of natural predator to keep their population growth down. Their growth rate is then only controlled by their food supply.
Stopping Mice from Entering Your RV
There are a number of things that an RV owner can do to keep mice out of their camper, especially when storing the camper.
Here are some of the things you can do:
Windows and Doors: Make sure that all of your windows as well as your outside storage doors are firmly closed, all of their gaskets are in good shape, and that all the doors seat well when closed and locked.
Underside of the RV: At some point you will need to crawl under your camper and make a thorough inspection of the underside. Look for openings that a wily and small mouse can crawl through to get into your camper. The most probable sites for gaps are around the sewage lines, water lines, and electrical lines at their entry points into the camper.
Edges of Slides: If your RV has slides, inspect the perimeter of the slides, especially the top, and make sure that the rubber seals are in good shape and that they seat firmly between the slide and the camper body.
Roof AC Units: Those roof AC units have a relatively fragile outer plastic housing. And when you are on the road these housings can get cracked, or even seriously broken. Inspect them and make sure they are mounted properly and are in good shape.
Keep your camper door closed. So many campers will just open their main door and leave it open to let the cooler air into their camper. If you are going to do this, make sure you have a nice screen door on your entrance.
And, of course, make sure that your screen door fits the entrance perfectly. Just a 1/4-inch gap anywhere around the perimeter of the screen door is like a double-door entrance to a hotel for a mouse.
Once Mice Are In: How to Get Rid of Them
If you have stored packaged foods in your camper, mice will go to these first, and go through those cardboard and plastic packages quickly to get to the goodies. Then, they will eat and spread the food around the site where it was found.
And, of course, they will defecate where they eat.
Get rid of your vulnerable stored foods. Or at least get rid of any stored foods that are not packaged in metal or glass.
Here are some examples of the more vulnerable things that a mouse can get into and eat:
- Coffee creamers (liquid or powders) in plastic containers
- Uncooked pasta in cardboard boxes
- Sugar or flour in paper bags
- Dried fruits in plastic bags
- Chips in plastic bags
- Nuts or other foods in cardboard "cans"
- Breakfast or health bars in paper or plastic wrappers
The Only Good Mouse is a Dead Mouse
Once you have your stored foods under control you will need to get rid of the (hopefully starving) little pests, once and for all.
Some people will put out rat poison of one kind or another to kill the mice. These poisons work in several ways, but they all operate by imitating food. Once the mice eat the poison, they go back to their lair and die.
I personally do not like to use poisons of any kind, and I do not believe anyone should who is camping and have small children around, or especially if they have pets.
Accidentally eating these poisons cab make a child or pet seriously ill, or even kill them under some circumstances.
But, there are the times when you have a very "smart" mouse in your RV that seem to avoid all of your other attempts to get rid of them. When this is the case, you will, at times, need to use a good poison. I have used "bait bars" a few times when all else fails.
These are solid bars containing poison and they do not spread around your camper. like many of the lose poisons do. And, once they have done their job, ou can easily find the remnant and get rid of it.
The Dead Mouse Smell
One problem with using poisons to get rid of mice is the inevitable smell of their rotting bodies. It is a disgusting smell, and it will stay around for weeks, if you cannot find the dead mouse and get rid of it.
Poisoned mice will go back to their lair or nest to die. The problem is, these places are hard to get to and are often in the walls or furniture of your camper.
Using Mouse Traps
I recommend using traps to catch and kill mice. They are cheap and efficient, and for the bleeding hearts out there, they are fast and the mouse dies instantly.
Some people will use Box Traps. These are boxes that have bait inside and the Mouse can get into the box to eat the food but they cannot get back out once inside.
Theoretically, you then take the box, with the mouse inside, and release the still-living mouse outdoors. Then you go back inside and congratulate yourself on your humane way of handling the pest, I guess!
Most people that I know just look at the box as a coffin and toss the box, mouse and all, into the nearest dumpster, and that's it.
Old-Fashioned Spring Traps
I prefer the tried-and-true old-fashioned Spring ttraps. You open and set the spring-driven arm, then you place a piece of bait (cheese or whatever) on the lever.
Then you place the trap where you last saw the mouse, and wait. Sometime later, often at night, you will hear the trap spring, and then you simply carry the mouse with the now-broken neck outside and donate its body to Nature as food for some other hungry meat-eating animal.
How I Trap a Mouse
OK, I use the spring-loaded trap, myself, but occasionally, I will use one of the disposable box type simply for the convenience and it being a clean and sanitary of disposing of a dead mouse.
I buy several of these traps at a time because they are so cheap. I place a drop of superglue onto the lever. Then I place a piece of bait onto the superglue. This way the bait will not be stolen by a smart or super-fast mouse.
I then place the trap where needed and, Voila! Within hours, I have a dead mouse.
Then I toss the mouse, trap and all (remember traps are cheap) into the garbage, and then I repeat the process until there are no more mice for me to deal with.
A Mini Mouse-and-RV Summary
OK, I had to do it .... Get It? .... Mini Mouse?
Oh well, I tried.
What I have given you here is a good reference document on how to manage mice when they manage to get into your camper.
You just need to make sure your camper is not an open place where mice can easily enter and live off of your foods.
To get rid of them, you need to remove their food supply.
Not so hard, right?
Two at a Time
Funny Mouse Trap Video
Questions & Answers
© 2014 Don Bobbitt