Whether an infestation crept in whilst your RV, trailer or camper was in seasonal storage, or you’re on the road and the tell-tale signs of stowaway mice have made themselves known, getting rid of them humanely can be a difficult task and a long-fought battle.
During the winter months is when they’re most likely to stage an occupation, to escape the harsh outdoor weather conditions, and settle down on your upholstery. But that doesn’t have to ruin a trip you’ve planned, or lead to any more than superficial damage.
We’ve produced a handy step-by-step guide for any victim to follow, that will help you eradicate your pest problem without too much mess or fuss.
You MAY need:
Caulk, sealant or expanding foam according to preference
Wire meshing (if necessary)
Repellents, whether homemade or storebought
If it comes to it, humane traps
The Steps To Take
Step One: Search Everywhere, Identify Possible Entryways
So you’ve found some droppings, partially nibbled food in your cupboards or, worse, seen a pesky critter run by from the corner of your eye.
First things first: how have the blighters made their way in?! Wear clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty for this part.
Being careful not to bash your head, crawl beneath your camper and try to locate any potential points of infiltration, particularly concentrating on areas where plumbing or wiring enters through the floor - mice are tiny and good at squeezing, so don’t rule out any gaps!
Now take a lap or three of the outside of your camper and again, keep a lookout for spaces that rodents could sneak in, especially around your doors and windows; if you have an RV, take a peek under the hood, too.
Last, but not least, head back inside your camper and examine the interior, making sure to have the lights turned on or the curtains open to maximize visibility.
Open every cupboard, closet, drawer and cabinet - leave no cushion unturned in looking for those mice-sized holes.
Step Two: Fill. The. Holes.
Now you’ve identified the possible ports of entry, it’s time to seal them up forever, using your preferred method.
We’d recommend expanding foam spray, as it’s easy to use, dries quickly and will fill up the entire space in a couple of seconds.
However, it can spray out quite quickly, so we would also suggest having a practice squirt before the real thing, just so you’re prepared for how fast things will happen and don’t waste any product.
Caulk (a form of silicone sealant) may be better if the gap, hole or crack is on the small and doesn’t warrant the use of foam, and it’s also more likely that you’ve already got some lying around the house from DIY projects gone by.
Reinforcing larger holes with wire mesh, wood or a sheet of metal before sealing up is advised so you can really make sure the gap is plugged, though of course if a hole is that big, you might want to seek professional assistance!
Step Three: Problem Solved?
You may well find that after closing off and blocking up all identified possible routes, there’s nothing else that needs to be done, and the mice will simply find somewhere else to find their snacks and have a good snooze.
If not, you may need to move to slightly more drastic measures… it’s possible that they were especially well-hidden and you’ve accidentally sealed the trespassers in!
A humane, live mouse trap is recommended for safe extraction, just remember to check it every day!
Step Four: Keep Bold Mice At Bay
Once your camper is clear of unwanted passengers, it’s time for preventative action to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
One solution is to use a repellant, such as the popular Mouse Free made specifically for use on RVs.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t involve pumping your precious camper full of chemicals - it’s not fumigation! A non-drip, lubricated coating is sprayed on the underside of the RV, preventing mice and other rodents from being able to enter in the first place.
If you’d rather not use anything that extreme, you could try a homemade repellent: the idea is to create a strong, pungent smell to discourage, as mice dislike powerful scents: many campers swear by cotton pads soaked in a potent essential oil like peppermint.
These are dotted around your camper at points of entry, but you could also replicate this with fragrant dryer sheets, or frequently lighting incense or candles to act as a kind of smoke repellant.
Don’t worry - none of these methods are toxic to you, other animals, or the mice.
Step Five: Completely Clean After Every Camp
Planning to store your camper away for a season, or even just a couple of weeks until your next trip? It is IMPERATIVE to remove all traces of food from your cupboards and refrigerator. Mice can chew, and chew they will - no matter how well you hide it!
Likewise, ensuring that every time you return from taking the camper for a spin, you all pitch in to perform a thorough clean before storage, is equally as important in rodent prevention. Even the smallest trail of crumbs can pique the interest of an inquisitive mouse visitor.
This also means cleaning out any accessories, like the fridge, microwave, toaster, or coffee maker if you’re that fancy. Don’t think you can skip this step either, or all the time you spent mouse-proofing was for nothing!
Life will be a lot easier if you just tidy up after yourselves as you camp, as this means your work at the end of the trip will be much easier, so you don’t end up begrudging the camper because of the grueling clean at the end!
Vacuuming will save you a lot of time over an old fashioned broom - make use of the nozzle and try to get in every single nook and cranny. Trust us, it’ll be worth it in the long run, and your mice nightmares will be over!
Top Tip: Time to put the camper away for the winter? Make sure you’re storing on a solid surface, preferably closed off and away from nature, and definitely consider regular checking whilst it’s put away, to avoid any nasty surprises!