How to Keep Your RV Insect-Free

Camping in the great outdoors offers so many pleasures—fresh air, beautiful scenery and the chance to be up close and personal with nature. But sometimes nature gets a little too close when creepy, crawly visitors invade our RVs. If you’ve had a close encounter with too many bugs in the camper, it’s time to follow these easy tips for keeping your camper insect-free.

How Do Bugs Invade RVs?

To keep bugs outside on your next camping vacation, you must first know how they creep inside the camper. It may seem obvious—a door left open, a screen not latched, but there are sneakier, and sometimes more destructive, ways for insects to invade your home away from home.

Did you know, for example, that power cords left to drape across the ground can become conduits for ants and other small insects to follow into your RV? The same goes for anything left stacked against the camper.

Bug-Free Camping Tip #1: Create a clear space around the camper, removing firewood, lawn chairs, recreational equipment and anything else that might provide passage into the interior or outside storage spaces of your RV. Keep power cords off the ground if possible.

Here’s another strange fact that camping newbies might not know: the odor that’s added to LP gas to make it detectable is attractive to many insects. Spiders, ants and other creepers will follow the scent and build their nests around propane appliances, in vents and near your LP bottles.

Bug-Free Camping Tip #2: Check everywhere LP gas flows into furnaces or appliances, and all vent areas, for insect infestation on a regular basis. If this becomes a frequent problem area, consider putting those small disc-type ant traps in closets and cabinets around LP-powered devices.

Bugs will also make tracks from the forest floor to your RV interior via cracks or gaps in the camper’s undercarriage.

Bug-Free Camping Tip #3: Seal any place underneath the RV where light shines through from up above. Check around pipes, vents and power conduits and in wheel wells. Ask your RV supply store for a sealer that’s appropriate to the surface where cracks appear.

Let’s talk about some obvious ways you might be inviting bugs to share your camper. Torn screens, doors that don’t latch properly and poorly-fitted window frames are three more ways for insects to invade the RV.

Bug-Free Camping Tip #4: Your regular RV maintenance routine should include checking for and repairing all torn door, window and vent screens, adjusting door latches to allow easy closing, replacing weather stripping and seals around doors and windows and making sure there’s no ‘wobble’ in window frames due to lost hardware or sealant.

Here’s another way RVers might unwittingly invite insect (and rodent) infestation: by leaving food in containers that can be compromised.

Bug-Free Camping Tip #5: Sealing pasta, cereal, baking supplies and other consumables in bug-proof plastic containers is a must-do to prevent unwelcome visitors in your RV kitchen. Make sure you remove all food products from the RV before it goes to winter storage.

Want to know what veteran RVers use to discourage insects from making a home in their campers? Here are some of their easy, organic suggestions for keeping bugs at bay.

Bug-Free Camping Tip #6: Try spraying doorways with a solution of either white vinegar or citrus oil mixed with water. Bugs hate both! You can also sprinkle citrus peel around kitchen corners or in closets, or rub citrus peels on baseboards. Some RVers suggest spritzing peppermint oil solution around cabinets to deter spiders and ants. A popular solution for keeping mice and bugs out of RVs while in storage is to place dryer sheets in all vents and inlets.

If you’re camping long-term in one location, consider purchasing diatomaceous earth, a safe, organic substance that kills spiders, in a perimeter around your camper. You’ll find it at many hardware stores.

The point of going on an RV camping vacation is to take a break from our usual routines. If your fellow campers consistently leave a mess, however, you’ll soon find that bugs have come along for the ride.

Bug-Free Camping Tip #7: Food left in sinks, on counters and in living spaces is an open invitation to insects. Same goes for wet bathing suits, dirty clothes and trash left scattered around the camper. Enlist the family to keep living spaces free of anything that can become a hiding space for creepy crawly invaders. Keeping the camper clean is the number one way to avoid insect infestation while camping.

RV camping is all about enjoying the wonders of nature, but nature doesn’t have to follow us into our RVs. Try these seven tips to keep your camper cozy and bug free on your next camping vacation.

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