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RV Living: Pet Control and Pest Control

Keeping Your RV Pest-Free

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Pet Control

Pets are great travel companions, and while many RVers house a few of them, pets really need to be well behaved in such small spaces. But they're not the only critters that RVers need to control. Keeping insects and rodents out of your RV is far simpler than getting rid of them once they move in. Make sure you take some preventive measures to keep your RV free of unwanted invaders.

Cat-Scratchers: Kitty misbehavin'? Scratching furniture, carpets or curtains? Relieving herself in all the wrong places? Cayenne powder is an effective repellent. Trust me on this: kitty doesn't want that hot stuff on her feet or up her nose.

Just sprinkle a generous amount on her favorite haunts and watch her change her ways. The only downside is that it's bright red, but even at that, it doesn't stain and will gradually disappear.

Use hot pepper sauce on electrical cords to prevent your chewing pets from lighting up like a campfire. Better a little shock than a big one.

Debugging Your RV

No, this isn't about wiretaps or software glitches. It's about real insects and pest control. Most insects are just annoyances, but many can cause serious problems. Allergic reactions to bites or stings, infections from mosquito or spider bites, or other insect contamination can spoil an otherwise great trip. Some can even be life threatening. But if you're like me you don't want to be coated in bug repellent all the time.

Inside Jobs: When I'm working inside I spray the insect repellent on doors and windows or work areas, and wipe some around the edge of my computer screen. Insects don't like repellent there any more than when it's on me, so they just stay away, and mostly outside.

I've been leaving a couple dryer sheets in each of my cupboards. I guess spiders and crawling things are put off by the lovely fragrance. That's a win-win situation. Bugs are gone and clothes smell great. It also keeps them out of food storage areas.

And speaking of food, don't leave any lying around exposed. Seal food in airtight bags or containers, and use fruit before it attracts fruit flies. If ever there were evidence of spontaneous generation, I think fruit flies would be it. Where do they come from?

Outsiders: Now, here's one that works but isn't legal in all states. For outside storage, we throw a couple mothballs in where it's dark and something more dangerous like snakes, scorpions, black widows, recluse spiders and their ilk might hide. Mothballs even keep mice away. It only takes one or two for a couple cubic feet.

We once stored our RV at the same lot as a relative did. We scattered mothballs throughout the inside cupboards, closets, drawers, and just everywhere, and in each outside storage bin. The relative did not. After just a few months her RV was full of mice, mice droppings and smelled horrible.

Ours, on the other hand, was insect and rodent free, but it reeked of mothballs for months (and so did we.) I guess everything is a trade-off. I now wonder how many dryer sheets would equal the repellent power of a couple boxes of mothballs.

Fortunately our relative's RV insurance covered the damage and she was able to have it completely cleaned, but what a hassle.

Well worth the powder to blow them away: Ants, now, are another issue. There are lots of types of ants and each can do it's own brand of damage. But one thing they seem to have in common is that they don't like anything powdery. Talcum powder is a very cheap remedy for ants. Just sprinkle a circle around your tires and landing gear, or anything that touches the ground. They won't cross that powder line so they can't reach whatever would give them a way to get inside. Chalk and borax have the same effect.

Borax may be effective for the long term for another reason. Ants will carry it back to their nests to feed it to the queen killing her. Eventually this kills off the entire nest.

Buzz-kill: For a real buzz kill keep a spray bottle of really soapy water handy to spray on bees, Africanized bees, wasps, yellowjackets and hornets. Dish or laundry detergent are good choices for super-soapiness. In some states this is the only approved way to kill these pests. If you can pour soapy water into a nest you can kill the entire nest.

Snakes: Snakes hang out where they can hide. Bushy areas, woodpiles, tall grass or any area that provides shelter and camouflage can conceal one or more snakes. They may come out to sun themselves and later find shelter somewhere in or around your RV. Their food is insects, rodents, small animals, and birds or whatever they can catch. If you are parked near these kinds of snake habitats, use caution when digging through your outside storage areas. Look carefully and make sure you don't see any snakes before you put your hand in a dark or enclosed area. Poking around with a long stick might be a safer way to reveal the presence of any snakes.

More insect repellent ideas

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