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The Best Way To Get Rid Of Ants In Your RV

This post was updated on March 15th, 2024

Biser Todorov, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Best Way To Get Rid Of Ants In Your RV

If you’ve owned your RV for any time at all, it’s pretty likely you’ve dealt with pests of one kind or another. From mice to spiders, there are all kinds of critters that try to make themselves at home in our little homes-on-wheels. Not only is this annoying, but it can be downright unsafe, unsanitary, and damaging to the RV.

One of the pests that RVers tend to have the most trouble with is ants. They’re amazingly good at finding their way into human living spaces and wreaking havoc while they are there. Fortunately, it is possible to get rid of the little buggers fairly easily.

In this article, we are going to address some of the best ways to ensure you win the war with ants in your RV. This will help you continue your adventures without ever feeling the irritating tickle of a rogue ant crawling up your leg again.

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Create ant barriers

If you aren’t battling ants at the moment but would like to prevent the war from happening in the first place, you’ll want to find a way to prevent them from getting into your RV. This is often difficult, as many campgrounds have countless ant hills—especially in Florida, where many RVers head for the winter. That said, it is possible to hinder them from entering, and this almost always prevents any future problems.

In order to do this, you will need to create barriers around the rig. Begin by sprinkling a ring of Comet cleaning solution around the entire site. This repels the ants and they refuse to cross the line. Be aware, however, that this ring will need to be reapplied every time it rains. Additionally, it is important to keep young children and pets away from the Comet.

Try natural preventative measures

Nobody wants to use ant spray, bug bombs, and other awful-smelling chemicals in their camper. After all, an RV is a pretty small place, and all those strong chemicals can’t be good for a person to breathe in. Therefore, it is best to try other methods of repelling ants inside your rig when necessary.

Peppermint oil
Photo by Katherine Hanlon

One of the best ways to go about this is to use essential oils. Ants hate peppermint oil, and diffusing this particular oil may keep them at bay. If diffusing it doesn’t help, try putting a few drops of peppermint essential oil on several cotton balls. Place these cotton balls in various places throughout the camper in order to try to keep the bugs away.

Just be careful of getting essential oils on your skin, and immediately wash any such areas to prevent irritation (or worse, accidentally rubbing some into your eye).

You can also try a solution of 50/50 white vinegar and water. Simply coat your jacks, wheels, freshwater hose—along with any other things that the ants could use as a way to get into your rig—with the mixture. This will keep the little bugs from entering your home-on-wheels.

Make food unattainable for them

Ants don’t hang out in your RV for any reason. These little guys are looking for food, and if they’re able to find some, they are sure to return and bring their friends. For this reason, you must do your best to prevent the ants from getting to your food. This is actually much more difficult than it seems.

To ensure the ants won’t get to food in your rig, put any opened food into airtight containers. This includes dry goods such as cereals, chips, cookies, and even oats. Make sure all packaging is closed after every use, and clean the sides of jars of any drips.

Photo by Roxanne Ready on Flickr

Of course, simply putting food away doesn’t help if crumbs, drips, and dirty dishes are left out as an ant buffet. For this reason, you are going to need to sweep after every meal, continuously wipe down counters and tabletops, and wash the dishes as soon as they are used.

Additionally, you will want to take out the trash at least once a day, and more often if you notice the ants feasting in your trash can.

Sprinkle cornmeal around your RV

If you are overrun with ants and none of the tips above are fixing the issue, it’s time to pull out the big guns. This is the last option before you turn to bug bombs and spraying inside of your RV, but it almost always does the trick. The funny thing is, the only thing required is something you probably already own: cornmeal.

By pulling out cornmeal and sprinkling it in various places around your camper, you’re essentially feeding the little pests to death. This is because the cornmeal—which they will gather up and take back to their queen—expands inside of the ants when they drink water. This causes their internal organs to rupture, and results in their death, making this a very effective way to rid yourself of ants.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to head out into the world without fear of ants. If some of these tiny creatures do find their way into your life, be sure to stay calm, break out the necessary solutions, and get rid of them as soon as possible in order to avoid bigger issues on down the line.

You can also keep out creepy crawlies with these Easy RV Bug Screen Mods