How to Keep Ants Out of Your RV

Ants in RV living spaces can be a real problem—one that many RVers have encountered from time to time

If there is one thing that can bug you (pun intended!) in your RV, it’s ants! Ants can be incredibly annoying because where there is one, there are usually hundreds. 

You might walk into your kitchen to find just a few exploring your countertop. Or, you might wake up to a full-blown infestation! 

If you are like most people who have an RV you probably take a lot of pride in your vehicle. You keep it clean and well-maintained so what to do if you have an ant infestation in your RV?

How can I keep ants from entering the RV via water and power lines?

I’m being invaded by ants! Best solution besides a blow torch?

Camping at Sand Hollow State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You can get rid of ants in the RV by using natural repellents such as vinegar spray and cinnamon powder. Simply apply it to the area in your RV where you see ant trails to eliminate ant pheromones.

Pesticides that can be used include ant foggers, baits, sprays, and similar. However, ensure that you do not use the RV during treatment with toxic pesticides.

Following is a step by step instructional guide for getting rid of the ants in the RV. Follow the guide and tips and you will clean your RV from ants without a hassle.

Let’s start with suggestions on how to keep ants out of your RV in the first place. One way ants can quickly gain access to your RV is by entering through an opening. 

If you have an open window or any open gaps around slide-outs, water lines, or power lines, this gives ants enough space to squeeze into your RV. So what can you do about it? 

Camping at Meaher State Park, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Close the gaps

Ensure all weather-stripping or gaps are filled and closed from outside access. Check the space around all water and power lines at entry. 

Check for gaps around vents, windows, doors, cabinets that also open to the outside and slide-outs. 

If you need to fill gaps, spray expanding foam around pipes and holes. Or, you can use a sealant.

This is a great thing to check when de-winterizing your RV for the upcoming camping season. 

Diatomaceous Earth

If you’re in an area where ants are prevalent, you can use Diatomaceous Earth (DE) around the outside of your RV to prevent them from establishing a new colony in your RV. This is a natural and completely safe powdery compound that is mined from calcium deposits on the seabed.

Put DE anywhere under and around your RV where ants might gain access. You can put it on your electrical cord, sewer connection hose, water line, tires, or anywhere ants might establish a path into your RV. Ants can gain access from overhanging foliage so don’t park your RV where tree branches touch your roof or they can crawl up and under anything that is connected to the ground. 

Diatomaceous Earth is such a fine dry powder that it literally clings to the dampness found at the joints of any exoskeleton insects (ants, fleas, ticks) causing the joints to freeze up much like a motor freezes up if the oil gets too gummy. Because it only works when it’s dry you may need to repeatedly apply DE to exterior surfaces.

Camping at River Sands RV Resort, Ehrenberg, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cedar oil and diluted vinegar

If your environment is too wet to use DE, other options include Wondercide flea and tick spray. That’s just cedar oil. Diluted vinegar is also effective as an ant repellant.  Of these three, DE is usually the most effective but it must be dry to do any good.  Of course, it’s better to prevent an infestation rather than deal with it after the fact but that’s not always possible.

Bug spray

If you spray around the lines and any opening to the RV you might prevent an infestation. Administer the bug spray to all cords at the spot where they leave the ground.

Be careful using sprays around your water line.

Clean the lines

Another great option is to clean the lines once you have already gotten rid of the pests. Use white vinegar to wipe surfaces where they have been to destroy scent trails since the elimination of the trail is critical to avoid a repeat infestation. Follow the wipe down with an application of Advion around connections and any area with potential for entry.

Camping at Whispering Hills RV Park, Georgetown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Use powders

Try using baby powder. Ants do not like crossing powder of any sort. Baby powder is a non-invasive and non-toxic solution to sprinkle around the spots where the cords touch the ground. 

You can also encircle the campground power pedistal with baby powder. 

Some campers use ashes from the fire pit to encircle their tires and anything else that touches the ground. Not only are ashes a natural substance but they are easily found at almost any campsite. Just make sure the ashes are completely cooled.

If you prevent the ants from accessing the lines they will not have a bridge to your RV. 

Camping at Canyon Trails RV Park, Boulder City, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sticky fly tape

Sticky fly tape is a tape that attracts bugs. They land or walk onto the tape and get trapped. 

Depending on your setup, this might be a good solution for you. You can place the tape on either end of the water line or power cords. 

You can also place this at the base of the power box or where the lines touch the ground to prevent the ants from accessing the line. 

How to get rid of ants once they’re inside

Sometimes, despite our best efforts we still find ourselves infested with ants. So what are the best ways to get rid of these buggers? 

Ant baits

Bait products such as Terro liquid ant baits work well for many RVers. Place the ant baits all over the rig, the gel type.

Camping at Peach Arch RV Park, Surrey, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Non-traditional repellents

Some campers use natural repellents or other products that are not typically thought of as something to repel ants. Try a mixture of cinnamon and water to control ants. Mix these two ingredients and wipe them on and around the lines. This can be an effective DIY option because ants do not like the scent so they stay away from those areas. 

Other natural repellents include using borax, baking soda, lemon, and vinegar to name a few. 

Worth Pondering…

If ants are such busy workers, how come they find time to go to all the picnics?

—Marie Dressler