Common RV Pests & How to Deter Them

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There’s nothing quite like hitting the road in your camper, embracing the freedom of the open road, and setting up camp in the middle of nature’s splendor. But as you’re enjoying the starry nights and peacefulness of the wilderness, you’re not the only one finding your RV the perfect spot to settle. Uninvited guests, from tiny ants to curious mice, might decide to join your adventure, turning your peaceful escape into a bustling critter haven.

The good news, is that you don’t have to resort to harsh chemicals to keep these pesky intruders at bay. There are plenty of natural deterrents and smart strategies to protect your space. Pests can be super invasive and are not only a nuisance, but can cause damage to your camper and belongings as well.

Let’s face it: when you’re plunking your camper in the middle of the woods or other wild locales, you’ll need to deal with the challenge of pest control. Simple habits like ensuring that vents are securely screened can block critters from making an entrance. Cleaning up spills prevents attracting them in the first place. Additionally, storing dry food in sealed containers not only keeps your provisions fresh but also deters pests from being tempted by your pantry.

But should you find yourself dealing with one of the pests below, you’ll want to know how to eliminate them. Let’s dive into some eco-friendly, critter-proofing tips that will keep your RV a pest-free zone!

Common RV Pests and Their Natural Deterrents

Here’s a list of the most common critters that love to make an appearance in campers and RVs, and how to deter or prevent them:

Mice and Rats

These tiny rodents are notorious for sneaking into campers in search of food and shelter. They can squeeze through the smallest openings, making your RV an attractive nesting spot.

Natural Mice Deterrents:

  • Peppermint Oil: Mice dislike the strong smell. Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them around potential entry points from the outdoors.
  • Steel Wool: Stuff steel wool into gaps or holes where mice might enter, as they can’t chew through it.


A single crumb is enough to invite an entire colony of ants into your motorhome. These persistent bugs are especially fond of sweet treats and can quickly become a nuisance. Chances are good that if you see one ant, you’re probably already dealing with an infestation of others.

Natural Ant Deterrents:

  • Vinegar Solution: Wipe down surfaces with a mixture of vinegar and water to erase scent trails ants follow.
  • Cinnamon or Lemon Peels: Scatter around entry points as natural deterrents.


Seeking shelter and prey, spiders often find campers and RVs ideal for setting up their webs. Most are harmless, though some people find spiders unsettling.

Natural Spider Deterrents:

  • Essential Oils: Eucalyptus, tea tree, or lavender oil can repel spiders. Mix with water and spray around your RV.
  • Chestnuts: Place them along windowsills and in corners, as spiders dislike them.


Attracted by food smells and the warmth of the interior, flies can be a constant irritation, buzzing around your living space.

Natural Fly Deterrents:

  • Basil or Lavender: Keep pots of these plants near entryways; their scent deters flies.
  • DIY Fly Traps: Use a mixture of dish soap, water, and apple cider vinegar in a jar to trap flies.
  • Fly Tape Strips: These aren’t the prettiest, but they do seem to work by trapping flies onto their (very) sticky surface.
flies in rv

Wasps and Bees

These flying insects are attracted to sweet scents and can mistake your RV for a safe place to build their nests, especially in quieter, undisturbed areas.

Natural Wasp and Bee Deterrents:

  • Mint Plants: Wasps dislike the smell of mint. Keeping these plants around can help deter them.
  • Decoy Nests: Hang up fake wasp nests; wasps are territorial and usually won’t build near another nest.


Although they’re more of a problem in campgrounds, squirrels can cause havoc if they find a way into your RV, chewing on wires and making nests.

Natural Squirrel Deterrents:

  • Spicy Repellents: Sprinkle cayenne pepper or chili powder around the RV’s perimeter and any potential entry points.
  • Secure Food: Keep all food in airtight, hard plastic containers that squirrels can’t chew through.


Natural Raccoon Deterrents:

These clever critters can open latches and doors, raiding your food supplies if given the chance. They’re attracted by the smell of food and the potential for easy pickings.

  • Ammonia Soaked Rags or Tennis Balls: Place them near entry points; the smell mimics predator urine, scaring raccoons away. Note: Ammonia has potential health hazards for humans if its concentrated fumes are inhaled. Always take extra care if handling ammonia.
  • Secure Trash and Food: Use raccoon-proof latches on trash cans and ensure food is stored in sturdy, sealed containers.


Especially in warmer climates, cockroaches can be a problem, finding their way into your RV in search of food and water. They can multiple quickly and become quite invasive. Make sure you keep a clean RV with trash regularly removed and food sealed up and stored.

Natural Roach Deterrents:

  • Diatomaceous Earth: Sprinkle around areas where roaches might enter; it’s harmless to humans but lethal to roaches.
  • Bay Leaves: Place them in cupboards and areas where food is stored; the scent deters roaches.


Attracted to lights and certain fabrics, moths can find their way into your RV, causing damage to clothing and upholstery. Mothballs have been used for years as deterrents, but contain chemicals that are toxic to humans and pets.

Natural Moth Deterrents:


These nocturnal insects prefer the damp areas of your RV and can be found in bathrooms, kitchens, and storage areas, feeding on paper and fabric.

Natural Silverfish Deterrents:

  • Cucumber Peels: Place them in affected areas; the scent deters silverfish.
  • Jar Traps: Cover the outside of a glass jar with masking tape and place bread inside as bait; silverfish climb in and can’t escape.

Dealing with these uninvited guests requires a combination of preventive measures and timely interventions. Keep your camper clean, store food in airtight containers, and seal up any cracks or openings to keep these critters at bay. A little vigilance goes a long way in ensuring your camping experience remains enjoyable and pest-free!

Remember, prevention is key, so regularly inspect and maintain your RV. Check mattresses, curtains, towels and other textiles for signs of rodent nibbling or animals using the fabric to make nests.

Do you have any tips to add to our list or rv pest control tips? Drop them in the comments below!

Make sure you check out our many other “how to” posts while you’re here!


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