Mice in your Motorhome?
Having mice in your motorhome can be a real problem. Mice can cause a lot of damage in your motorhome quickly. They carry disease and if the problem is large you will feel like you are being invaded.
There are a few things that can be done to get rid of mice from the motorhome but it really is best to prevent mice actually getting into the motorhome in the first place.
Here are some ideas I have come across and used if you have a vermin problem.
Why worry about a mouse problem?
A lot of people find mice quite cute little animals and they can be. When they are in your campervan though, the damage they can do is extensive and it doesn’t take long for the costs of repairs to add up quickly.
They will make bedding out of your soft furnishings, they can chew the insulation off cables with ease and they seem to love plastic pipework that can create leaking pipes in the most awkward places. They love feasting on rubber seals and can wreak havoc with the running of your motorhome. They will destroy your bedding and can make your motorhome stink.
In a worst case scenario, they could short out a live wire and cause a fire.
If they are in your van you need to get them out.
How do you know you have mice?
The thing about mice is you may think you have a mouse in your motorhome but almost always there is a lot more than one.
There will be telltale signs such as droppings, food bags may have little holes in them, furnishings may be fraying in odd places. The larger your mice problem the more damage you will notice.
At first, you may just think that the small tear in the furnishings was already there or that bag of rice must have burst somehow. Eventually, you will work out that you have some unwanted guests and you need to see them off quickly.
Getting rid of Mice Fast
Once you have confirmed that you have mice the best thing to do is get rid of them as fast as possible. There are a couple of routes you can take, the humane route and the non-humane route.
Both have their uses.
The humane route tends to take a bit longer. To be humane you must find out how the little pests are getting into the motorhome and block it off. You then set up your humane traps and get rid of them one by one until there are no mice left.
We tried a couple of traps. One of them catches one mouse at a time and we also got what looks like a party trap that will catch quite a few mice in the one go. In the big trap, you can serve up a full buffet if treats for your mice. When emptying the traps you have to travel about a mile away from the house before you release them or you will have repeat offenders.
The single traps seem to work best but if you have a few mice this is a slow process. Fine if you have your motorhome parked outside your house but can be tricky if you have it in storage and the motorhome is a long way away.
The larger trap is made from metal and tends to scare off the mice with the slightest movement so as they are going into the trap it makes a tiny noise and they are off like lightning. Eventually, we did get the large trap to work by putting in cheese flavoured crisps (co-op own brand) and some peanut m&ms. These seemed to work best for our mice and seemed irresistible as we caught several in one night.
The large trap is great once you can get it to work and we caught four mice in one night. It was a bit of a shock.
Snap Traps and Poison
The in-humane route. This requires killing the mice in your van. I am not a big supporter of this route but if mice have made themselves comfortable in your motorhome and the population is increasing there may be no other option before some serious damage is done.
There are a couple of options – Traps or poison.
The traps will have some sort of bait on them, peanut butter seems to be a favourite. The mouse will come for it and get the chop. These are very effective and quick. You do have to clean the traps once they have been triggered and they very rarely miss.
The poisons you can get today are very effective. Most are designed so the mouse will take it back to its nest before killing so that the whole nest is destroyed. The problem with poison is that you will have at least one mouse rotting away in your campervan somewhere. The smell lasts for weeks unless you are able to find the rotten bodies.
Both of these methods are quick and effective but obviously, you are killing a fellow creature and there is a fair bit of clean up. I only use these methods when I am sure that I am losing the battle.
Once you are sure the mice are gone you have to give the motorhome a thorough clean with a good disinfectant or bleach solution and make sure the whole place is spotless and everything in the motorhome is spotless. Mice pee constantly and leave excrement everywhere you want to make sure all your cutlery and dishes are clean as well as everything else as eating that stuff is not going to do you any good.
Preventing Mice in Motorhome
Without a doubt preventing mice getting into your motorhome is by far the best option.
Seal up any Holes.
The problem with mice is they need very little space to get into your van. A hole the size of a pencil will allow them to squeeze in and make a home in your van.
So you have to go over the underside of the van with a keen eye looking for the smallest of openings. Any you seel should be sealed up. If the openings are vents these should be covered by a fine mesh to keep the little guys out.
Really examine any pipes coming in or out of the motorhome and look for any gaps. Also, check in lockers and cupboards for any hints of daylight.
The main place for access, for us at least, is the engine bay. They just have to climb up the tyres and they can then rummage about in the engine bay until they find a way in.
Keep your Motorhome Clean
You really don’t want to attract mice into your motorhome so when you are parking up for a while make sure the motorhome is clean and all traces of food removed. There only has to be a tiny amount of food to make your motorhome the perfect place to nest. Having the place spotless will not be as attractive to the mice.
Take out Soft Furnishings.
Take out as much material as you can. Things like bedding, cushions and whatever else you would like to remove, take out and leave as little as you can in the motorhome. Another favourite for mice seems to be toilet and kitchen rolls so remove these from the motorhome as well. All these things are great for mice to nest in.
If you think you may get mice a repellant may work to keep the mice out of the camper. There are a few things that seem to work for people.
We use the electronic repellants which make noise mice can hear and tends to keep them away. We have found them to be quite effective but they don’t really work if you already have mice in your motorhome. They are best used to keep mice away they won’t really get rid of an established nest, in my experience.
I have spoken to a few people who have used mothballs. Just put them where you think the mice are hanging around and hang a few in some small string bags or put into old cups. Not a good idea to let them touch this finishings or the furnishings.
After a while, the mice have been known to vacate the premises.
When you are ready to use the motorhome just remove the mothballs and give the motorhome a good airing for half an hour or so and that should get most of the mothball small away.
Peppermint oil put on to cotton balls and spread about the motorhome has been effective at keeping mice away and smells better than mothballs. I am not sure how effective this is but some people swear by it.
Jeyes Fluid is a strong smelling disinfectant that a lot of people use around and on the tyres of the motorhome to prevent mice from climbing up there. This may help to keep them finding easy ways into the motorhome.
Our own Experience of Mice
In our Hymer, there are very few places for mice to get in. Most of the entry and exit points into the living area under the van are well sealed and show no signs of damage. The easiest way for mice to get into the living area was through one of the air vents in the engine bay.
One of the ducts that connected to the air vents for the windscreen had come off allowing easy access into the living space. This was compounded by the dash being rotten so we were totally exposed to the world.
We repaired the dash and made sure all the ducting was sealed up and connected the way it should be and we have had no problems since.
Always keep an eye on ways in and out of your motorhome and you should greatly reduce the risk of getting mice.
Hopefully, this information will help in the battle to keep your motorhome mouse free.