Although we don’t really like to talk about it, spiders and mosquitoes are an inevitable aspect of the camping experience.
Having a travel trailer or RV helps to mitigate the problem, but you still have to open and close the door from time to time. When that happens, bugs are sure to follow you in.
That doesn’t mean you have to give up the fight, however. Here are some of our time-tested tricks for keeping your travel trailer as bug-free as possible.
How To Keep Spiders Out
Because spiders are some of the creepiest pests you’ll encounter, let’s start with those.
In addition to being annoying, spiders will also set up webs wherever they go, which creates another messy problem that you’ll have to deal with. Even if the spiders are harmless (and most of them are), you don’t want them sharing your living space.
Keep Things Clean
This is good advice for many reasons, but it’s essential when it comes to spider control. Regularly dusting and vacuuming your rig will remove the beginnings of any potential webs and help to dissuade the spiders from coming back.
Say It With Vinegar
Or perhaps we should say spray it with vinegar. White vinegar is a useful cleaning solvent—and it turns out spiders hate the acrid scent. Use a spray bottle to spritz any nooks and crannies that look as though they could be appealing to spiders.
Ward Them Off With Peppermint
If you’re not a fan of vinegar either, try using peppermint oil to ward off the eight-legged pests. We would recommend diluting it with water after adding it to the spray bottle. It will spray more easily and last longer as a result.
Citrus Is Your Friend
The scents of lemon and orange are also effective spider deterrents. This method can be as simple as using lemon-scented furniture polish to clean your tables, cabinets and appliances.
If you use air freshener in your RV, try to find a citrus-scented brand. As an alternative, you can use an orange peel to rub the fragrant oil over potential problem areas.
Keep Away From The Wood Pile
When you’re looking for a spot to park the RV, try to keep it away from piles of wood, grass clippings, or leaves. Their warm, humid environment draws spiders in, but they’ll happily give up their spot in the wood pile to come hang out in your travel trailer instead.
Incidentally, while some folks claim that cedar will drive spiders away, other experts have debunked that theory. In fact, putting cedar shavings in your camper might give the spiders more opportunities to hide.
How To Keep Insects Out
Aside from keeping the rig as clean as possible—which is good advice even if you aren’t trying to ward off pests—here are a few ways to keep out mosquitoes and other bothersome insects.
Make Minor Repairs
Carefully inspect the door and window screens on your RV. If there are any visible holes, now is the time to patch them up. The more holes there are, the easier it is for bugs to fly in.
Scotch tape is an easy fix, but we would recommend buying a screen patching kit from a local hardware store. It’s more reliable and aesthetically pleasing to boot.
Caulk It Up
While you’re at it, take a look at the rest of the trailer to make sure there aren’t any convenient entry points.
The best way to do this is to enter the RV without turning on any of the lights. If you see sunlight peeking in from any crevices, chances are you’ve found a hole.
We would recommend using rope caulk to seal up these areas. It’s easy to apply, and you can always remove it later if you find a more permanent fix. Best of all, it won’t damage the surfaces of your RV.
Try A Commercial Pest Repellent
As a last resort, you can pick up insect poison at a hardware store or a big-box outlet like Lowe’s. Ant killer is particularly effective, as it kills both the ant that eats it and the rest of the colony as well.
We’re not huge fans of this method, particularly for anyone who’s traveling with pets or small children. If you can find a less toxic way to keep insects out, stick with that before resorting to poison. If all else fails, just be sure to keep the product well out of reach.
How To Keep Stink Bugs Out
We’re devoting a separate section to stink bugs because they can cause lasting harm to your RV’s interior.
These pests have a broad, flat appearance and a grayish carapace that makes them easy to spot. Unfortunately, because they love to creep into small spaces, they can take up residence in the burner tubes of your RV’s water heater and oven range. If the infestation is bad enough, they can actually block the tubes, which is both annoying and potentially hazardous.
To keep stink bugs from setting up camp in your appliances, caulk up every small crevice that you can find. It’s also a good idea to check your stove and hot water heater regularly for any signs of the little gray pests.
Finally, remember that if you’ve had similar issues in the past, there’s a good chance that the bugs will return during the next season. If the problem is too advanced for you to deal with it on your own, call an exterminator for assistance.
If you notice any tears or holes around the walls of your RV, don’t hesitate. Seal them up so that mosquitoes and other creepy-crawly pests won’t have a chance to ruin your camping experience.
Best of luck, and happy camping!
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