Why You Can’t Afford to Not Keep Mice Out of Your Camper

Why You Can’t Afford to Keep Mice Out of Your Camper

Spring is finally here and it’s camping season!

It seems like winter has lasted forever and I am so ready to return to our camper at our seasonal site for the summer.

I love spending the entire camping season in our travel trailer at our favorite campground with our friends.

It’s always great to see everyone for the first time at the opening of the season. We all meet “up on the hill” and begin taking off the tarps, flushing the water lines and airing out the camper cleaning.

And of course accessing the dreaded mice takeover of our camper over the winter while we were away.

I dislike them. I really do.

I feel like they are so disrespectful. I know they are rodents and they have no concern for respect. But why?

Why do they have to poop EVERYWHERE!

It is so disgusting.

And this is only what I can see. My fingers are always crossed that they haven’t gnawed any electrical wires, burrowed into our cushions or built nests where I can’t find them, but can SMELL them.

This year we found a ginormous nest in our oven! They took the insulation from our walls and built themselves a warm, cozy home!

Ugh!

Besides from just being a complete nuisance I have listed some of the potential dangers to you and your family that mice can cause that you should be aware of.

  • Contamination of food and surfaces from urine and droppings.
  • Spread bacteria and harmful diseases such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome .
  • Chewing holes and damaging walls, furniture and other items in your camper.
  • Electrical fire risk if wires or electrical equipment have been gnawed on.

So what do we do to protect our families and ourselves from disease, destruction and risk possible fire?

Don’t want to give up camping?

Here’s what you need to do when you have mice in your camper.

Clean up Mice Droppings and Urine

People can contract Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome by breathing in Hantaviruses so it is extremely important to air out the space that you found the mouse droppings for at least 30 minutes before you begin cleaning.

I have added a video so that you can can have more info on the Hantavirus: How it’s contracted, symptoms and how you can prevent infection.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following procedure for cleaning mouse dropping and urine.

  • Wear protective gloves either rubber, vinyl or late.
  • Use a disinfectant or a mixture of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water and spray the droppings and urine and let soak for 5 minutes (do not vacuum or sweep the droppings as you will stir up the dust and risk breathing it in).
  • Use a paper towel to wipe up the droppings and urine that have been pre-soaked with disinfectant and dispose in the garbage.
  • Spray the surfaces again with disinfect, mop floors and shampoo furniture and carpets.

Not all mice carry Hantavirus but it is better to take extra precautions when cleaning up droppings and urine.

But how do we keep them out in the first place?

I have found that there is no one tried and true solution but I have found a few ways that help deter them. I also included some suggestions from fellow campers that have tried some other methods that have worked for them.

Keeping the Mice Out

Fresh Cab

When we first open our camper I always come armed with a few basic necessities. One being Fresh Cab. Not only does this stuff help keep the mice away but it smells nice.

The fresh cedar smell helps get rid of that musty camper smell. You know the one I am talking about.

Ultrasonic Plug

Once the power is turned back on and we have done our safety check the Ultrasonic Plug plugged in.

This device is supposed to use ultrasonic technology to keeps mice, spiders and mosquitos away.  They work by emitting a high pitched sound that irritates them so they stay out of your space. Good thing is it is totally safe for humans and pets and is a chemical free alternative.

Bounce Dryer Sheets

Bounce Dryer Sheets are another one of my favorites.

They are inexpensive, smell wonderful and seem to work well in cabinets.

The only disadvantage is that I have to replace them about once a month. But like I said they are an inexpensive solution.

Peppermint Oil and Cotton Balls

Peppermint Oil and Cotton Balls also work great. I tend to use this when we are closing up the camper for the winter.

You just put a few drops of peppermint oil on each cotton ball and put them everywhere. I probably do about  100 of these when closing up.

Our neighbor uses this method all coming season and has had great results. He doesn’t do 100 cotton balls (way to pepperminty and it will keep even you out of your camper)  but puts a few in the areas where mice would tend to be like under the sink, storage compartments, etc.

Irish Spring Soap

I have talked with several campers that recommend Irish Spring Soap. And I have talked to several campers that dislike it.

I haven’t tried it myself but is you would like to check out some thoughts on it click the link to myusefulideas.com.

Moth balls 

Moth balls can be thrown underneath your camper and will keep mice and other rodents.

I am not a fan of the smell of moth balls. Yes, they are very affordable and some people have had luck with using them. But they contain the chemical Naphthalene and can cause adverse health effects with high exposure. 

The National Pesticide Center states that mothballs slowly turn from  solid to a vapor, the smell is the insectiscide that you are breathing in.

According to WebMD naphthalene can cause symptoms of headache, nausea, dizziness and difficulty breathing. And exposure to high amounts of naphthalene can potentially damage or destroy red blood cells causing hemolytic anemia.

Steel Wool

Good old fashioned steel wool is my favorite for blocking up holes that they have chewed or small spaces that mice can potentially come into my camper.

Mice hate this stuff and won’t touch it. It’s very affordable and easy to use. Just stuff it in the hole. Done.

We had a hole in our bedroom wall. At some point, who knows when but one of those little buggers burrowed through our wall. My husband stuffed a piece of steel wool in there and they have stayed away from thet hole.

Now, what they did do was move about 2 inches over and made another hole!

Arg!

So we stuffed that with steel wool and so far so good.

Diatomaceous Earth with Essential Oils

The final product I am going to mention is Diatomaceous Earth mixed with essential oils

I have not tried this and neither has any of our camping friends but I have read on several blogs and forums that this stuff has had great results.

The Diatomaceous Earth is super absorbant is supposed to hold onto the smell of the essential oils longer that a cotton ball.

I grabbed the “recipe” of making it from DiatomaceousEarth.com and I think I am going to try it.

Here’s the “recipe”.

  • 1 cup food grade diatomaceous earth
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 2-3 drops essential oil
  • A container to store your essential oil infused Diatomaceous Earth

Mix together the essential oil and water. Slowly add the food grade Diatomaceous Earth  to the water/oil mixture. Stir until completely moistened. Once fully moist place in a container.

Place the container where you suspect mice are in your camper.

This mixture won’t harm the mice but they dislike the smell and will leave the area.

Conclusion:

Nobody like mice in there camper. Not just because they can cause expensive damage when they chew holes in walls and furniture but also can potentially put you and your family in danger if a  fire is caused from mice chewing electrical equipment and wires.

Also, they contaminate surfaces with their droppings and urine possibly putting you at risk for Hantavirus.

Since I don’t want to get sick or have my camper damaged I usually go over the top and use several of the recommendation for keeping them out of my RV.

What do you use to keep mice out of your camper?

How Camping Can Help You Live a Better Life

How Camping Can Help You Live a Better Life

 

Do you feel like you are a hamster on a wheel? I sure do.

Everyday it’s wake up, coffee, get ready for work, come home from work, eat dinner, go to bed.

Repeat,

And Repeat,

And Repeat,

 

 

 

 

Some days I’m not sure I can do it one more day. It sure is tempting to just pack everything up and run away….

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in  2016 the average American worked 1783 hours per year. 

Are we just working our lives away?

That’s why I HAVE to camp and that’s why you NEED to camp.

Why you can’t afford to not camp

Nature has a super calming effect on me. I remember to breathe and slow down. It’s so much easier to be in the moment. I am not thinking about I have to get the reports done, meeting at 1pm or why isn’t the fax machine working now?

Our lives are so busy doing. We forget to live.

I read an article not to long ago from the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, it said that “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.

Wow! That’s a lot of people. I hate to think that there are that many people distressed and suffering.

When I am mentally off track I find that spending a few days in nature really helps me. I feel restored, almost cleansed. There is something about slowing down and enjoying the beauty around me that creates and overall sense of peace within me.

What about you? Have you noticed a difference in your mood or attitude when spending time outdoors?

I think an overall sense of well being is the best way I can describe it.

Research has found that nature has a positive impact on us and can reduces anxiety and boosts mental health and well being.

According to the website Healthy Place:

Nature relaxes the mind, thus reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.

  • Being in nature reduces the amount of stress hormones, like cortisol, in our system.
  • Experiencing nature increases the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system responsible for digestion and rest; part of its activity involves slowing the heart rate. When the parasympathetic nervous system is active, physical side effects of anxiety decrease and subjective feelings of peace and relaxation increase.
  • Getting out into nature reduces anxiety by decreasing activity in the part of the brain’s prefrontal cortex that is active when we ruminate. One of the features of anxiety is rumination, seemingly endless worries and what-ifs. So to create a welcome break from anxiety’s rumination, get out and go experience nature.

So….. how to jump off the wheel of the monotony of everyday life?

I go camping.

Why do I camp?

Camping helps me…

  • Relax
  • Good Night’s Sleep
  • Fresh Air
  • Sunshine
  • Socialization

Here’s what I mean and why you need to take time in your busy chaotic life to spend time in nature and go camping.

  • Relax

    The simplicity of being outside is amazing. I love to sit and listen to the wind blowing through the trees. The sound of birds chirping. Watching all the little furry creatures running around.

    My favorite are the chipmunks. 

    They seem so happy and playful. They are constantly running around, chasing each other and chirping to one another. I love it. It makes me laugh!

    At our campsite we have our resident chipmunks that I have fondly named Chippy and Chipetta. I have imagined that they are husband and wife. And WOW, does Chipetta  get mad at Chippy sometimes!

    But more importantly these moments turn my overactive brain off for awhile. There is no thoughts of work, bills or other daily life stresses.

    Just time to relax, sit and enjoy the moment.

  • Good Night’s Sleep

    Imagine that! Sleeping all night? Is it really possible?

    Yes!

    When I am camping it is the only time I sleep through the night.

    Like most of you, sleeping is a challenge for me to say the least. It takes me forever to wind down, relax and fall asleep. And then when the miracle of sleep has come…

    Bam! I am awake again!

    Like clockwork I wake up at 2:30am. Every morning…

    Most days I am functioning on about 4 hours of sleep. But when I go camping….

    I fall asleep almost immediately and can count on 6-8 hours of sleep. It’s feels amazing! I wake up well refreshed, clear headed and excited to start my day.

    I read a cool article from Time Magazine “How Camping Helps you Sleep Better”

    The article explained that camping helps us sleep better because our internal clocks are reset to a more natural sleep cycle when out in nature away from electronics and exposed to natural light.

    In 2013 Kenneth Wright, a researcher from the University of Colorado Boulder began a study to see how week-long camping trips affected peoples internal clock. Before and after the trip he measured peoples melatonin levels (the hormone that tells the body when it’s time to go to sleep and help’s set your internal clock).

    Wright found that in our daily environment our internal clocks are delayed by two hours.

    Yikes! This might explain my fight to sleep!

    This out of sync sleep cycle isn’t great for our health and has been linked to health problems including sleepiness, mood problems and increased risk of obesity.

    Good news is your body has the amazing ability to re-calibrate itself. Wright found that within a week in nature the body was able to reset it’s internal clock.

    Whew! There is hope for us!

  • Fresh Air

    There is something revitalizing about being outside in the fresh air.

    The crisp, clean and pureness of it is amazing. If I am out of the woods to long, I think my lungs feel icky and my brain gets cloudy.

    Is that weird?

    I thought maybe it was just me so I looked it up….

    It has been found that oxygen levels in the brain have been linked to serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is a natural mood stabilizer. When you have to much serotonin you may become tense or irritable and too little can cause you to be depressed.

    Fresh air make me happy!

    And the increased oxygen cleanses my lungs! Our lungs dilate more with the increase in oxygen and release airborne toxins.

    No more ickiness!!

  • Sunshine

    I love Spring and Summer! They are totally my favorite seasons. After a long New England winter Spring feels sooooo amazing.

    Can you relate?

    Today is March 17th and I have had it with winter storms, cold & cloudy days, wet feet, windburn face and cold hands.  By the end of winter I feel a little at my wits end.

    According to the Mayo Clinic a decrease in sun exposure has been linked to decreased serotonin levels.

    Maybe my serotonin levels have gotten low?

    Sunshine helps the release of serotonin by activating certain areas in our retinas. When we have the right amount of serotonin we feel happier!

    Thankfully Spring is only a few days away! I know the sun won’t magically show it’s glow on March 20th but at least the end is in site!

    Another health benefit of sunshine is Vitamin D. It is produced by the body when exposed to the sun.

    This happens when we are exposed to ultraviolet B rays (aka sunshine).

Some of the health benefits of vitamin D include:

  • lowers blood pressure by decreasing the hormone renin which may play a role in hypertension
  • healthy bones by promoting the absorption of calcium and phosphorus (low levels of vitamin D have been linked to rickets in children and  osteoporosis in adults)
  • reducing the risk of diabetes by reducing insulin resistance, increasing insulin sensitivity and enhancing the function of the cells responsible for producing insulin
  • keeps away cold and flu by regulating gene expression that influences your immune system to fight bacteria and viruses
  • May aid in weight loss coupled with a healthy diet. At the University of Milan, research was done that showed that vitamin D deficiency has been associated with a higher risk of obesity and obesity related complications.

Wow! All those health benefits from a little free sunshine?

Sign me up and get me outside!

 

  • Socialization

Okay, so I think this may be the best part of camping.

Seriously.

We have a seasonal site at a campground and camp from mid-April until mid-October. “Up on the hill” as we fondly refer to it we have been blessed with a group of friends that return every year and have become family.

It’s like a mini neighborhood or community.

My husband and I spend the entire season in our camper while our friends will usually come up on the weekends. Every friday, one by one cars pull up the hill and everyone comes “home”.

I can’t explain the feeling without sounding totally dorky…

Hey, I missed them all week and am excited to start the weekend and have a good time!

Sitting by the campfire on having a few adult beverages and laughing with friends is the perfect way to leave the work week behind you and forget the everyday stresses of life.

Hanging out with friends is good for you and benefits to your mental and physical health.

Research has shown that connecting with others can boost your sense of well being and decrease symptoms of depression.

In fact there has been evidence that spending time with friends can lower your risk of dementia. People that spend time with friends tend to do better on memory and cognitive tests.

But most importantly it is just fun. When we hang out we laugh. Like full blown belly belly laughs. The kind of laughter where you can’t stop even if you wanted too.

You know the kind of laughter that is just good for your soul.

And your body….

It has been found that laughter reduces stress hormones (immunosuppressant hormones) and can improve our immunity. While at the same time it increases beneficial hormones like endorphins and neurotransmitters easing mood, tension, anger, and pain.

Your immune system is given a boost by triggering antibody cells to develop at faster rates by changing the body’s chemistry through hormonal shifts allowing your body to fight off illness and infection easier. It has also been shown that laughter can help fight against cancer. When you laugh the levels of Interferon-gamma (IFN) is increased. IFN stimulates the B-cells, T-cells, NK cells, and immunoglobulin, and it also works to regulate cell growth. All of these compounds are defend against cancer and are essential for a healthy immune system.

In November of 2016 The Center for Disease Control published that “About 75 million American adults (29%) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 American adults. It (high blood pressure) greatly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death in the United States.”

Studies have shown that laughter decreases blood pressure. When you laugh you have an initial increase in arterial blood pressure because of the physical response to laughing. This is followed by a decrease in arterial blood pressure below your normal resting blood pressure therefore helping to reduce blood pressure and helping to prevent heart disease.

So get out there and laugh like your life depends on it!

 

 

Conclusion

Our lives have gotten increasingly busier and chaotic.

We only have one life to live and only one body to do it in.

Why not take the time to take care of yourself and have fun while doing it?

Nature is providing us with the free resources to improve our mental and physical health, ward off disease and improve our over all well being.

Get rid of your daily stresses, laugh, smile, spend time with friends….

Go Camping and Enjoy Life!

What do you think? Is your life worth it?