We bought some traditional mouse traps and took care of the problem. The pattern repeated. New dry camping spot. Adopt a mouse or two. Lay down traps. Catch the mice within a couple of days.
Then disaster struck. We rehomed our cats and found ourselves wild camping in a large field outside Glacier National Park, on top of tall grass, on the edge of a hill covered with tall brush and trees.
I will never forget the morning I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to work and tiptoed to the living room to grab my laptop. As soon as I slid open the pocket door, I saw something scurry across the floor, right around my baby’s crib. I froze in horror.
What was I to do? No way was I going to catch that thing with my bare hands. And if I tried, I’d wake the baby, lose my hour and a half to work, and still have a mouse on the loose. Bizarre and terrible as it might sound, I closed the pocket door behind me and started my (very distracted) morning of work. Wondering if my baby would have all his toes and fingers when I saw him next.
The combination of no cats + isolated dry camping spot = the worst mouse problem we’ve ever had in our RV. We’ve been fighting a ruthless, take-no-prisoners battle for about a week now. I think that gives me mouse war veteran status.
Since I’ve been going through this trial by fire, I’ve collected six vital rules for anyone needing to battle mice in their RV.
Note: This article includes affiliate links. If you get excited about any of the products featured here, we’d love it if you’d shop via our links. This will encourage us to continue investing time in creating useful content!
1/ Address the Source of the Problem
Mice can only get into your RV if you have holes. Unfortunately, the little critters can fit through a hole the size of a dime. If the skull gets through, then the rest of the body will follow (I’m more squeamish about this than it might sound).
Yes, you’ll want to catch the mice already in your RV. But if you don’t identify and plug the holes, then you’ll have to go through one battle after another.
Eric and I spent an afternoon working on holes. We first laid a picnic blanket on the ground and used a flashlight to look under the motorhome, all the way around its perimeter. We couldn’t see any holes beneath the basement storage and there was no way to see holes from the mechanical components into the interior.
We realized we might be doing it wrong and adopted another tactic. This time, I opened the basement storage and looked for holes leading up. At the same time, Eric opened cabinets and removed drawers inside. When he thought he saw light to the outside, he pushed a Zip-it drain cleaner (a multipurpose tool in our home) toward the hole. I looked for where the Zip-it popped out of holes into the basement. Where there were also mice droppings and chewed-up ductwork.
Next came the task of sealing the holes. For this job, we used steel wool (you must use real steel wool because mice don’t mind chewing through lower grade synthetics) and a product called Touch ‘n Foam Mouse Shield. The procedure is simple: plug the hole(s) with steel wool, then cover the wool with the Mouse Shield.
Be forewarned: the Mouse Shield stuff is kind of nasty. You’ll want good gloves that cover your wrists, cloths you don’t mind ruining, and possibly goggles depending on the angle. It may have been because of our inexperience, but this foamy goop got everywhere. We should’ve put down some plastic or at least an old towel. Also, it smells.
Mess aside, we got the job done. Holes plugged. Source of the problem addressed.
2/ Get the Right Equipment
Hopefully you’ve found most, if not all, of the holes into your RV. Now it’s time to catch those hitchhiking mice. We’ve tried several traps, and have found that traditional Victor mouse traps and Victor Easy Set mouse traps (which are pre-baited) get the job done.
For bait, we’ve used cheese (which does get stolen), peanut butter, and a bottled product called Tomcat Attractant Gel. The latter can be used to bait the trap, instead of cheese or peanut butter. This magic substance is fairly irresistible to mice and can’t be stolen.
3/ Be Proactive
Whatever you do, don’t wait until you have mice to make a plan. Before you ever discover a mouse in your RV, follow rule #1 to find and plug holes. And consider having some gear on hand (rule #2). Chances are, mice will find you in a remote area, when you aren’t anywhere near a hardware store or Amazon locker.
4/ Be Persistent
When it comes to mice in your home, I guess you don’t have any choice other than to be persistent. They pose a health risk to your family and can inflict tremendous property damage–especially in an RV with a billion mechanical parts.
Having said that, I genuinely hate the idea of killing living things. Which is why Eric is my hero when he takes care of setting and removing traps, while yelling, “This is Sparta!” Meanwhile, I hide in the bedroom.
5/ Expect the Unexpected
It was a few days into our mouse war near Glacier. Eric had caught no fewer than 8 mice with his traps, but we still had more.
When we dry camp, I use a big plastic bowl to wash dishes. That way, I can catch the little water I use and dump it outside (assuming there are no grey water restrictions). Usually, I dump my water right after I’m done with dishes. But this time, I went to bed with the water still in the bowl.
The next morning, there were two mice floating in the water. It grosses me out and I don’t like to think about it, but it happened. And it’s somewhat ironic that it happened by accident when Eric had seven traps spread throughout the RV, which didn’t catch anything that night.
As of two days ago, we had caught a total of 14 mice through our various methods. Two nights ago, there was mouse sounds and evidence, but no caught mice. Last night, no evidence and no mice.
Did we win the battle?
And of course, the last vital rule for mouse war: if you doubt your fitness for battle, get the heck out of there. There’s no shame in retreat. In fact, our RV friends recently affected one such retreat after finding out the squirrel in their RV was actually a rat.