I thought I had all "emergency" situations covered, but learned something new when I checked into the campground I had in San Diego. I was in a campground high on a hill with a terrific view that I had stayed in before, but this time I was not quite as prepared as I thought I was. What happened? Ants. Thousands of the little critters inside my motorhome, marching three and four abreast in little lines across my floor, both in my front area and in my bathroom. I noticed these as soon as I woke up, and I ran outside to grab my ant kit, which consisted of Terro ant liquid in a little bottle and borax powder in a plastic milk bottle. I put dots of it along their two major trails inside, then went outside and sprinkled the borax around the electric cord where the army was marching to get inside. The ants fell off the electric cord and the ones inside started dying, so I wiped them up, hung the electric cord outside so it was not touching the ground, and went off for the afternoon.
I came back about four hours later, and found new trails of ants marching across my floor. They were now climbing up my tires. So I quickly sprinkled more borax around each tire and on the ground near where they were coming from. I could not see their nest because of the shrubbery. Luckily, it was still daylight, so I took my rental car and headed out to Lowes to get some real ant poison spray. I sprayed a circle around the entire motorhome, filled my water tank, and unhooked the water hose. Sprayed the electric hose and the power pedestal. This definitely stopped them, but I had a lot of vacuuming and wiping up to do inside.
Anyway, here are some things to carry with you so you are prepared and do not have to make an emergency run to Lowes' as I did. I keep all of this stuff in plastic bags in one of my underneath storage bins. It is a good idea to keep it all in the same place so you know where it is.
- The ant baits are OK if you have pets, but my experience is that the ants just march around them or walk over them. The Terro liquid does a much better job, and you can hide dots of it behind things or in crevices beside furniture. It is a danger to pets, but I don't have pets. I store the bottle in a plastic bag.
- Borax powder is hard to find, but you should always carry some. I have had the same box for four years, and ended up putting it in a plastic milk bottle because the box disintegrated. If you park next to a big ant hill, sprinkle a little around it, and they will be gone in a couple of hours. (I have not tried it, but some fellow campers also recommended Comet in a pinch.)
- The above two items work well most of the time, but some heavy-duty ant and crawling insect bug spray is also helpful. I bought two kinds for ants and keep them in my pest area because the borax was not working fast enough.
- I have two kinds of mouse traps--the regular kind and the ones where the mouse goes into a box and you just discard the box. (These are kind of creepy because they do not actually kill the mouse, but if you can handle discarding a live mouse, fine.)
- Flying insect killer is also handy. I have not been in too many places where there are a lot of mosquitoes or flies because I spend time in the west and dry places, but I have it anyway.
- I also have three of those mosquito net things you wear over your head. My grandkids who grew up in almost-mosquito-free California freaked out in Michigan one summer until I passed out the head nets. They LOVED them! I have also used one in the Everglades while attending an evening ranger talk. (Why do they wait until dark for these talks instead of holding them in daylight when there are fewer bugs?)
- One of my first purchases for my motorhome was an electronic, handheld bug zapper that looks like a small tennis net. You cannot exactly swat bugs with them, but moving them gently toward the bugs or trapping them against a window or wall works great. It is also satisfying to sizzle bugs.
- I also have a couple of mosquito-control candles for outside eating, but frankly, I don't think they work well enough. Luckily, I don't go to mosquito areas very often.
- In some desert areas where pack rats are common, it is recommended that you keep your engine hood up in all vehicles and put a work light of some sort near the engine. Pack rats will chew electric cords, which is not helpful when you want to start your vehicle in the morning. People also use those colorful light strings under their RVs to prevent pack rats from moving in.
- Finally, it is always a good idea to keep all storage areas closed and latched at all times. I once had a raccoon move in and tear up a roll of paper towel to make a nest. Luckily, she did not move her babies in, and I quickly evicted her in the morning.