Thursday, December 22, 2011

Squirrelly Neighbors

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My husband found a great deal on a new travel trailer. It was exactly what we wanted. It was from the previous model year and had been parked for over a year on the dealers lot. We took delivery and immediately left for a host job we had in Yellowstone National Park. Our first week as campground hosts kept us very busy. To make things even more hectic, I could not sleep at night. We had squirrels in the walls of our new trailer. At first we thought it was a small problem we could deal with and trapped a couple. Soon I knew we were infested with them. They had a year in the dealers lot to take over this unit and dig in. After contacting the dealer and complaining, I could tell he thought we were overreacting. It was so bad I finally told my husband I was not going to live in a rat infested RV. I insisted we cut our host job short, drive back to Wisconsin, demand a new trailer and start fresh. My husband was not keen on the idea, but finally capitulated to keep peace in the family. We did get a new trailer once the dealer discovered the extent of the damage these furballs had caused. That helped smooth feelings over with my husband who was still a bit upset with me. We drove four thousand miles round trip to solve this little dilemma. Now, however, my husband is always nervous when I point out any little problem with the rig. I am trying to convince him that I am not that paranoid. I just want our home on wheels to be clean, safe and comfortable. Any suggestions on how I should have handled the squirrelly neighbor situation any other way.
--Nuts in New RV

Dear Nuts:
I think you made the right decision. I know it must have been a tough one, being so far away and just beginning your RV adventure. It is always wise to take a few shake down cruises with a new rig. It helps to solve all evident problems before you get on the road and have to find repair services in unfamiliar territory. Gnawty little rodents can be a huge problem and a safety issue. They create havoc by chewing wiring insulation causing electrical nightmares. Like the dealer, you will have to take this into account whenever your rig is in storage. There are many methods. You can use electronic devices, regular traps, tea bags or poison. I prefer to use bucket traps. Five gallon paint buckets filled with non-toxic, RV anti-freeze. Across the top I stretch a wire, string two soup cans duct taped together on the wire, and smear with peanut butter. If I do have visitors they go for the peanut butter and roll into the bucket. This method continues to work during the whole storage period. If you do not deal with this problem you will develop a lot of aggravation, extra work and maybe even marital problems when you pull your rig out of storage and hit the road. As for other problems with other systems, you just have to deal with them. It's not a perfect world. You will always have small problems to solve on your rig as you make it your home. It's part of the adventure. Enjoy the journey.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink


Myra said...

Can you post a picture of your bucket set up? Sound interesting...

Anonymous said...

Your bucket method works great to eliminate mice, but has no effect on squirrels as they are much larger and will just tip the bucket over. Most grey and red squirrels would barely fit into your 5 gallon bucket.

Ken Ishoy said...

Last winter I had a squirrel problem in the engine compartment of my Class C motorhome. Vacuum tubing and electrical wiring had been chewed up. It cost me over $600 to get everything working again. This year we are trying moth balls inside of plastic baggies with holes cut into the plastic. I have placed them on top of each of four tires and a couple under the hood. We will report back later. Ken Ishoy Winder, GA