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Last Updated on November 10, 2021 by Jessica Lauren Vine
All RV owners will face the threat of ants at one time or another, and you’ll wonder how to get rid of ants in a camper.
Ants are a common pest that can be found in homes, nature, and definitely in campgrounds. The good news is that you don’t have to live with ants. There are ways to eliminate this pest and enjoy your camping experience without tiny insects crawling all over you.
We’re going to take a look at some of the best ways to kill or repel ants based on what supplies you have available. There are natural ways as well as scientifically-developed ant killers that will keep these insects at bay. Without further ado, let’s get started!
What Draws Ants to Your RV?
Ants are pesky little pests that forage for food wherever they can find it. Dirty areas and wooded areas are the number one thing that will draw ants in and allow them to overtake your RV. Here are a few hazards that will inevitably lead to an ant infestation in your RV.
If you want ants in your RV, the quickest way to do this is by leaving open containers of food lying around. Nothing will draw ants in faster than the smell of food, and once you have one ant, you’ll quickly have the whole colony in your kitchen. Put your food away when you’re done with it, and keep it sealed in airtight containers.
Along with open food, dirty dishes are a quick way to have an ant problem. Ants have incredible senses of smell and have a knack for finding their way into your kitchen where the most food has compiled. A dirty kitchen with unwashed dishes is a good way to create an ant problem where one doesn’t already exist.
Window sills and other surfaces are a great gathering spot for ants. This is mainly because it’s a place of entry for ants and there’s often a lot of activity in those areas. Sills along with doorways and any cracks that you have in your RV are the main points of entry for ants.
Food crumbs create scent trails that attract ants until they find the source. You can avoid crumbs and other food particles piling up by simply cleaning up after yourself and sweeping after you eat. If you keep your camper clean and put your food away, you can keep ants from piling up in the first place.
Best Ant Killers on the Market
Now that you know what draws ants into your RV and creates an infestation let’s look at the best methods of killing ants and getting rid of them. We’ll look at natural remedies as well as specially designed chemicals meant to prevent ants from infiltrating your home.
Diatomaceous earth is actually a naturally occurring substance that looks like a fine, white powder. In 1960, it was discovered that this substance was a great pesticide, and it’s been killing ants ever since. Because it’s a natural mineral found in the ground, diatomaceous earth doesn’t have an expiration date and will last forever as long as you keep it dry and clean.
Diatomaceous earth is organic and safe for pets and humans alike. The only reason it’s deadly for ants and other insects is because of their tiny size and exoskeleton composition. Because of its safety, it’s an extremely popular option for RVs with pets and small children. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that certain species of ants with a heartier build are immune to diatomaceous earth.
You can spread this mineral both inside and outside your RV, and it will be equally as effective either way. Its makeup is very much like a fine flower, so the best way to spread it around is with a flour sifter or strainer. You want to spread it out as much as possible to increase its effectiveness. When you’re done with diatomaceous earth, properly clean your RV by sweeping and mopping up the excess powder.
Terro Ant Killer
Another great ant bait and killer is Terro ant killer. Terro kills ants by using boric acid to draw them in and poison them. Terro comes in both liquid form and powder form, but both are equally effective in getting rid of ants. Terro is also safe for pets and humans and, at worst, will cause a stomach ache or diarrhea if ingested by animals.
The big pro for Terro is that the boric acid it contains doesn’t have an expiration date and doesn’t kill anything besides ants and other pests. Terro comes in the form of sticky pads as well so that you can put them on the walls or the ceiling or wherever your heart desires. Between Terro and diatomaceous earth, your RV will be in good hands to rid yourself of ants in a safe and effective manner.
Are These Ant Killers Toxic to Humans?
The ant killers mentioned above are non-toxic to humans and will likely not even make them sick. At worst, you could get a stomach ache or mild diarrhea if you ingest these chemicals. Other ant killers such as Raid and toxins that come in spray cans require more caution when using. They are harsh chemicals that can irritate the eyes and nostrils if their fire is misdirected. The upside of Raid is that they can take out an entire ant nest in no time at all.
Is Ant Poison Toxic to Dogs or Animals?
If you have pets such as dogs or cats or anything else, you can rest easy with the above-mentioned ant killers. Diarrhea, stomach aches, or at worst, vomiting, can result if your pet gets into Terro or diatomaceous earth ant traps, but that’s the worst-case scenario. They simply don’t have toxins strong enough to kill large beings.
Home Remedies to Keep Ants Out of Your RV
If you want to save money but get rid of your ant problem, then there are several home remedies that are at your disposal. Not all of them kill ants but act more as ant barriers to keep them at bay and out of your RV.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is a great option for keeping ants out of your RV. By spreading the oil around entrances and other points of entry, you can keep ants on the outside. They don’t like the smell or taste of peppermint, and the concentration of it in essential oil is a great repellant. Not everyone is into essential oils, however, so you might not have it readily available in case of an ant invasion.
Vinegar and Water Mixture
White vinegar mixed with water in a 50/50 ratio is a great way to make a simple ant barrier. You’ll want to mix the vinegar and water together and put them into a spray bottle. From there, spray it on any surfaces or points of entry where ants might want to gather. Not only will the vinegar keep ants away, but it will also erase their pheromone trails.
One thing to note with vinegar is that it can damage certain surfaces such as granite and hardwood. Be careful where you spray your concentration if you want other problems from sprouting up.
Cinnamon powder is something that can be found in nearly every home and RV across the country. Cinnamon isn’t deadly to ants, but it will deter them and keep them out of your camper if properly dispersed. This and mint leaves are both highly effective at repelling ants and redirecting them to the outdoors where they belong.
Dish Soap and Water
Another solid natural product to get rid of ants is a mixture of dish soap and water. If you don’t have soap to wash dishes in your RV, then you’re already on a path to ant disaster. As previously mentioned, unwashed dishes are a magnet for ants, and you’ll need dish soap for more reasons than just to make an ant repelling solution.
An often forgotten remedy for ants in your RV is baking soda. Sprinkling baking soda around the inside and outside of your RV will repel any ants in your RV and keep others from joining them. If you’re unhappy with your scientifically designed chemicals, then hopefully, one of the above-mentioned natural options will be just the ticket.
No matter what route you take to get rid of ants, getting rid of them and preventing them is essential to enjoying your RVing experience. Feel free to try multiple methods in your quest to rid yourself of the scourge of ants. Whether you’re dealing with an entire nest or just a lone ranger out looking for food, you don’t want ants getting anywhere near you or your family.
Preventative measures are still your best bet when it comes to ants. Keep your camper clean, your food put away and sealed tight, and bait traps set up around the perimeter of your RV. The scent is the number one way that ants track food and find their way inside, so by keeping things clean and tidy, you can prevent a problem from ever happening.