So there you are, out in the woods in your nice, comfortable camper or motor home enjoying the great outdoors with perfect weather, and a gorgeous sunset.
All of a sudden, you see two beady little eyes staring back at you, munching on crumbs from the day’s breakfast. This uninvited house guest just turned your perfect weekend getaway into a potential nightmare because where there’s one, and there’s more.
Mice in any sheltered environment can cause a multitude of problems including wiring damage, nesting near warm, dry places such as your engine compartment, and several health concerns from their droppings and fur.
There are two instances when mice can and will invade your house on wheels. The first is during extended periods in one spot (think camp host lengths of stay), the second, and far more common, is during long periods of winter storage.
Both instances have the potential to cause detrimental damage to your camper. Below we’ll show you a couple of inexpensive ways to keep mice out of your camper.
What You’ll Need
For Both Winter Storage And While In Use
- Cotton Balls-Oil of Peppermint ($10-15 for 4 oz.)
- Irish Spring Soap (about 4 bars)
- Medium Sized Kitchen Knife
- Sealable Plastic Containers (Rubbermaid or Tupperware)
For Winter Storage
- Moth Balls
- Mouse Traps
- Chicken Wire and Stakes (optional)
- Steps to Defend Your Camper
You’ll have to think very similar to Kevin in Home Alone anticipating where the mice will infiltrate, where they will want to get to, and how they will try to get around your camper.
It’s best to keep in mind that mice are generally looking for two main things when they begin to invade your outdoor sanctuary: food and shelter.
One of the best defenses is to keep your camper clean and take any and all food trash out on a regular basis.
Step 1: The Food Supply
To keep them from your food supply, it’s best to store all non-canned foods in sealable plastic containers (i.e. bread, cereal, chips, etc.).
The thicker the plastic, the better as there is anecdotal evidence of mice chewing through plastic.
In addition to the plastic containers, soak cotton balls with oil of peppermint (ensure it is an oil of peppermint and not peppermint extract), and place them in the cupboards and food storage areas.
This will provide and outer protection to keep the mice from even considering going to the food bins.
Step 2: Nesting And Movement Areas
To keep mice from traveling through your camper, or worse, nesting in it, cut the Irish Spring soap bars into quarters using the medium sized kitchen knife.
Place the quarters throughout your camper in dry, dark places such as under the bed, behind the couch, any storage compartments without food, etc.
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Many of us aren’t able to use our campers for extended periods, especially during the winter months when the weather rarely cooperates. This is often when mice will invade campers as the weather entices them to be inside out of the wind and rain.
As we are often not using them, rarely do we monitor the camper during the long winter months and can develop quite an infestation. Diligence is key when keeping mice from our campers during storage.
Step 1: The Interior
Before locking your camper for storage for long periods of time, always thoroughly clean the interior. Ensure all unmanned food is taken out and stored outside of the camper and ensure minimal food debris.
As with in-use defense, store cotton balls with oil of peppermint in cupboards and food storage areas, ensuring to change them regularly as the oils evaporate over time.
Place Irish Spring bars throughout the interior where mice would most likely enter and congregate. Again, ensure to change the bars on a regular basis.
You can also place mouse traps (without bait) throughout the interior for those mice able to break through your interior and exterior defenses. Ensure to check these regularly to avoid any odors from caught mice.
Step 2: The Exterior
After cleaning out the interior and setting your inner defenses, place one to two moth balls atop the tires and around the wheel wells.
Many of the openings mice use to get in are in and around the many intricate parts of the axle and drive shaft.
DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, USE MOTH BALLS ON THE INTERIOR OF YOUR CAMPER.
An optional defense is to stake chicken wire around the skirt of your camper.
It’s optional based upon the location of your camper during storage as some storage companies will not allow you to use the chicken wire or otherwise alter the landscape around the camper.
Stake down the chicken wire and ensure the bottom is secure to the ground, placing a stake every 3-4 feet.
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Remember that the best way to keep mice from entering your camper is to have multiple methods and layers of protection.
We hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any tips or tricks that worked for you, feel free to comment below.