How to Keep Ants out of your Camper


Those Camper Ants Attacking Again?

When traveling on the road in a camper, there’s an increased likelihood of ants invading your space. Ants are always in search of food sources, and your camper also provides them with viable access. Not only do you likely have food in coolers or a refrigerator, but you also will probably have dry snacks in cabinets and on your countertops.

Furthermore, ants are a problem because your camper may not be as clean as your kitchen. When you’re in the middle of the woods, you’re probably not worried about keeping your camper squeaky-clean.

However, the food that your drop, drinks that you spill, and crumbs that you leave behind all put your camper at risk of pesky ants.

How to keep Ants out of the Camper Trailer

If you come across ants in your camper, there are a few methods you can use, although the main decision you’ll need to make is whether you wish to use chemicals or not. Chemicals could serve as a more immediate solution, although they are dangerous if your camper does not receive ventilation.

On the other hand, chemical-free solutions may take longer to be effective but could be safer for your health.

Non-toxic options could also be useful for those with pets. Whichever method you choose, we recommend that you first clean your motorhome extensively. Take everything out of the refrigerator and wipe everything thoroughly.

Clean your counters, grill, microwave, and stovetop as well. Then, sweep and vacuum your motorhome to remove any loose crumbs that could attract ants.

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the various chemical and non-toxic options available to keep ants out of the camper. We’ve also provided a look into some of the more specific questions we’re often asked about ants in the camper, such as:

  • How do I get ants out of an RV toilet?
  • How do I get rid of sugar ants?
  • Is there permanent ant RV protection available?

Without Chemicals

If you’re looking to get rid of ants in your RV using pet-friendly and child-friendly methods, you likely won’t want to use chemicals. One of the first things you can try is an organic pest control spray. Companies make these products without toxic ingredients.

Look for products that are “Certified USDA Biobased.” When you see this label, you can trust that the product uses natural ingredients.

Another chemical-free option that you can try is an Ultrasonic Pest Repellent. These tools can be useful not only for detracting ants, but other pests as well, including spiders, cockroaches, and mice. This product should not impact your dogs or cats, although it could impact rodent-like pets like gerbils and hamsters.

Ultrasonic repellents plug into an electrical outlet to operate. So, you’ll need to run your generator while camping to use this product. If you leave your RV plugged in at home, the repellent should work. Thus, the product could be useful not only in chasing ants out, but keeping them out when you’re not using your camper.

One last chemical -free product that you could use to keep ants out of your RV is Diatomaceous Earth. This product is entirely natural, made from fossilized diatom or algae remains. It is an excellent tool to have on-board of any motorhome, as it a wide range of users.

We’ve heard that campers have used the product for everything from a filtration system to cat litter.

In this case, the product should serve as an excellent repellent to keep ants out of your RV. We recommend sprinkling this product in any areas where you notice ants, as well as in all of your cabinets. If you would like to keep ants out, try sprinkling the product around the perimeter of your vehicle.

Also spread it on anything that comes into contact with the ground, such as:

  • Hoses
  • Tires
  • Cables
  • Power Cords
  • Jacks and other equipment

With Chemicals

If you have a severe problem and you’re not worried about ventilation in your RV, you may want to use chemicals to get rid of your ant infestation. Chemicals are often an attractive choice because of how effective they are and how quickly they work.

Pest sprays, such as Raid or other similar products, are one of the best options available.

You could also consider ant blocks and other granules that you spread around the perimeter of your trailer. These products are formulated to kill at least 25 species of ants. The pellets can also last for up to three months, useful for those expecting to park their camper for an extended period. These products are not safe for use around children.

Many RV owners have also found success when using Borax. This product technically does not contain chemicals, but rather naturally-occurring minerals like sodium tetraborate, sodium borate, or disodium tetraborate.

Keep in mind that the product is not safe or environmentally-friendly, and you should practice caution when using it around children and pets.

If you find that the ants in your RV are attracted to sweets, try combining Borax and sugar. Mix equal parts of the two ingredients, and then spread lines near where you see your ants. The ants will feast on the formula because it is sweet, without realizing that the Borax is lethal. You could also set a perimeter around your vehicle using Borax and sugar.

Out of An RV Toilet

We’ve heard from campers who didn’t find ants in their food, but rather in their toilet. Considering that many rigs only have one bathroom, you could imagine how problematic this could be. First and foremost, you should identify the source of your ants.

There’s a good chance you’ll see that a majority of the ants are outside of the toilet, climbing up the sides in search of food.

If you don’t notice ants on the outside, then the infestation is likely inside of your water line. This tends to be a problem when you use your RV for the first time in a while, especially after de-winterizing the vehicle. When adding water to your tank, ants travel through the water lines into the bowl. The problem could also be in your black tank.

You’ll need to make sure that the valves to these tanks are sealed. If you notice one that is open, look further to see if this is the tank causing the ant infestation. If you do not see any open valves, you’ll need to flush your water system.

Use something like a “Bug Bomb” in the RV when you don’t need it for a few days. Products like these are harmful to consume, so you’ll need to rinse the water system thoroughly.

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants?

Sugar ants are attracted to sweets, as their name indicates. If you notice them in your RV, you’ll need to be diligent about keeping things clean. Start by removing any sticky leftovers on your counters. Make sure you wash the sticky area with a solution that’s one-part warm water and one-part vinegar. Use soap as well. Also clean the surrounding areas, as this will remove the “sweet” scent that attracts the ants.

Eliminating the food source could be useful in removing ants. If you still notice the ants coming in and out of your RV, the Borax and sugar combination mentioned previously in the chemical section could be particularly useful.

This mixture will attract the ants and then poison them. Because Borax is white, the ants won’t be able to tell the difference between the two substances.

A similar, safer method would be to spread used coffee grounds around the areas where you see the ants. Used coffee grounds are acidic and produce a smell that sugar ants hate. Try sprinkling used grinds in the areas where you notice the ants coming in and out. This could serve as a successful ant deterrent, although it will not kill the ants.

Permanent Ant RV Protection

If it seems that ants are a recurring problem in your RV every summer, you may be interested in permanent ant RV protection. You could consider baits and granules, although you’ll need to check in on and replace these products every few months.

You could also want to think about ultrasonic options, although these are only useful when you connect the motorhome to a power source.

Unfortunately, there are no ways to keep ants away for good besides practicing excellent cleaning habits. Make sure that when you close your camper for the year that you clean and seal it properly.

Whenever you return home from taking the camper out for a trip, make sure that you clean the inside thoroughly, deep-cleaning all surfaces for food.

Similarly, you should never leave any food inside the camper. Even sealed food could be attractive to ants. Whenever you return home, take all of your food and snacks inside. Be sure to check all cabinets and drawers as well.

If you are cleaning your camper thoroughly and are still noticing ants to be a problem, you may want to check the structure of your vehicle. Year-round ants could be a sign of carpenter ants, which eat the wood structure of the vehicle. These colonies can be extensive, although you don’t see a majority of the ants.

Happy Camping!