“Well, let me tell you, ants are the dominant insects. They make up as much as a quarter of the biomass of all insects in the world. They are the principal predators. They’re the cemetery workers.” E. O. Wilson
I certainly believe E. O. Wilson, whom I’ve met in person, is correct. And most of us who have camped be it Class A’s, travel trailers or tents have experienced an invasion of these tiny armies.
Our first experience, and it was horrible, was at White Oak Campground near Lake Eufaula in Alabama. We pulled in our site on Monday and the next day we witnessed travel trailer residents near us spraying outside the campers. Naively I thought, “those poor folks must have bug problems.”
Wednesday morning I find our kitchen invaded by ants. Immediately D (my sweet husband) and I agree to be vigilant to not leave out food or dirty dishes.
But they kept coming! They invaded our outdoor kitchen which had no food crumbs or remnants except for a pan with bacon grease. They invaded our outdoor awning area, and by the end of the day they had trails crawling up the sides of our travel trailer. It was like a horror movie.
The only bug spray we had was OFF to keep mosquitos from eating us alive but we used that whole can to spray the countertops, walls, chairs outside, and everywhere we saw them.
On Wednesday we attempted to determine where the ants were coming from and found they were climbing from a sweet gum tree that had limbs that touched our awning, down the awning arm and into the camper. Amazing !!
Wed night I woke to being bitten in bed which WAS a horror movie for sure. On Thursday morning as we were packing, a huge 5th Wheel pulled in next door and before they even unhooked the truck, they were sprinkling this white powder-sugar looking stuff around their tires, jacks, power cord and water line – anything that touched the ground from the camper. What a strange white powder! I could only assume it was something to keep insects from invading.
After we got home I was obsessed with this not happening again and researching how to keep the ants out of the camper but it had to be pet-friendly. I found Diatomaceous Earth and there is info below on this item. I assume this is the same white powder the 5th Wheel neighbor was sprinkling on their site. I bought a large bag from Amazon and used on our next camping trip and we didn’t have ants but we’ve never had an ant problem before either.
I have to say I am not crazy about how this white powder looks sprinkled everywhere. I will not hesitate to use if we go back to White Oak or other campgrounds “in the woods”. 😊 But it’s not something I’d want sprinkled all over our site if we camp in an upscale campground. Call me crazy but that’s how I feel; I don’t like looking like the redneck camper neighbor perhaps because we are from Alabama and people already assume that. LOL.
Diatomaceous Earth For those that are more stationary than your typical tailgater (or for those that are going to week-long baseball tournaments or camping trips), food grade Diatomaceous Earth has been effective for a lot of RVers. Diatomaceous Earth is a natural product from the fossilized remains of diatoms or algae. It can be used for a whole slew of things, like filtration, mild abrasives in toothpastes, liquid absorbent, cat litter, and even a stabilizer for dynamite.
For our purposes though, it is used as an insecticide. Diatomaceous Earth absorbs lipids in the exoskeleton, causing them to dehydrate. Gardeners use diatomaceous earth to prevent slugs from taking over. To prevent the ants from coming into the RV, sprinkle the diatomaceous earth around anything that touches the ground – tires, jacks, cables, power cords, hoses, etc. To get rid of ants already in the RV, you can sprinkle it around the areas the ants like to visit and in cabinets.
I personally don’t like spreading it around the RV when I’ll be using it, like during football season. It feels dirty even though there isn’t a lot of it around. Instead, it’s definitely something to do before you put the RV into storage for any length of time. It’s a great offseason ant prevention technique. Once the diatomaceous earth gets wet, it will no longer be effective. You’ll need to retreat after a rainstorm. Thus, it may be more effective inside the RV where it is less likely to get wet. Another reason it is great for offseason storage.
Another suggestion I plan on trying that I found online:
Some RVers recommend a mix of Borax soap and sugar water sprayed around the outside of the RV. The sugar attracts the ants who then carry the Borax back to the colony and it kills them there. You can also soak cotton balls with the mixture and leave them around the RV.