One of the most exciting purchases we can make is for a vacation property or a travel trailer.

 

Both can give us a huge sense of calm and relaxation; a way to escape all our daily stressors and obligations.  We always know that when we use our trailer or arrive at the cabin, we’re in for a getaway from the mundane.  We share these spaces with family and friends and know when we arrive we are being met with an opportunity to relax. Unless… Imagine you open your trailer door after winter is over or you make that first trip of the year to the cabin and immediately notice things are definitely not as you left them.

 

 

Rodents, vermin, pests.

 

Not only can they be destructive but can also be incredibly unsanitary and having to clean up after they get into your space can not only be frustrating but also extremely costly (ie. Chewed wires, nest removals, etc.).  Plus, who wants to spend time cleaning and repairing instead of relaxing and vacationing?  My guess…no one.

 

The good news is that we can avoid the spring time pest infestation by investing a little bit of time during both our recreation season as well as the fall before we close our vacation spaces for the winter months.  Whether it be a direct solution like poison or traps or a handy-man fix like plugging any open spaces with steel mesh; these preventative measures can be done by even the most inexperienced of cabin and trailer owners.

 

There are a multitude of traps available on the market for all kinds of pests.  Whether you’re dealing with insects, mice, rats, or even vermin of a larger scale (raccoons, weasels, etc.) there’s something to help with all your pesky problems.  Insects traps can be as simple as an ant trap placed strategically under the sink or fly tape hanging from a light fixture.  While wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets tend to be a nuisance outside during late summer months, there are numerous traps available to purchase that are easy to use as well.  There are even several DIY options that have proven to be quite effective.

 

Make a DIY Wasp Trap Using Sugar and Empty Pop Bottle

First, use a knife or box cutter to cut the neck off the top of a plastic soda bottle (ideally, the entire neck and a few inches below). Most directions you’ll find will call for a two-liter bottle here, but you can use a smaller one if that’s all you have on hand. Then, dissolve at least two parts sugar into one part water and pour the mixture into the bottom of the bottle so that it’s a few inches full.

Complete the trap by taking the cap off the bottle, flipping the top part upside down, and setting it inside the bottom of the bottle. Now, it’s ready to go outside, anywhere you want to keep wasps away. You can either set it on your porch or table, or hang it with wire from a tree!

 

Wasps really start to crave sugar in the late summer and early fall, so you might not get results right away. Eventually, though, they’ll be attracted to the sweet smell, squeezing their way through the narrow part of your DIY trap. Just make sure to remove dead wasps from the trap regularly so it doesn’t get crowded.

 

Traps:

Now, if you’re wanting to prevent a rodent problem, a trap with a bit more power should be something to consider.  There are many types of effective traps on the market; there are the Victor brand Original traps which are very traditional and come in multiple sizes depending on your needs (you would obviously need a larger trap for a rat vs. a mouse) and also the Better Rodent Trap, which has an all plastic design and boasts a “no-touch” feature (which means you can empty the trap without ever having to touch what’s in it) although it should be stated that you should always wear gloves when handling mice/rats or their droppings.  .

 

An important part of setting your trap will be what you put in it to ensure you’re attracting whatever pest you want to get rid of.  The attractant needs to be something that they can smell from afarSome effective attractants for rats are onions, as the rats are attracted to the moisture and can smell them from far away, some have also had success with fresh vegetables and even pepperoni.  To attract mice, peanut butter or a small piece of meat has been shown to have great success.  Despite its tradition; cheese seems to achieve mixed reviews.

 

 

Poisons:

 

Before using a poison, somethings to consider are a poisoned rodent will not die instantly; they can travel and potentially die in your cabin or trailer somewhere where you will be unable to clean up the corpse.  Another consideration is that they will die outdoors and can potentially be ingested and harm other wildlife or even your own pets.  Pets should also be considered before using a poison as you need to ensure that any pets will not be able to access or ingest any of the poison.  If you have gone over all these factors and feel that poison is the way to go then these tips from HealthLink BC are a great way to ensure your choice is effective.

 
  • Set out non-poisoned food for a few days prior to baiting, so the rodent starts feeding in the area.

  • Read and follow the directions on the label carefully.

  • Set bait in areas where there is no access to children or pets.

  • Remove dead rodents and all baits once pest control has been completed.

Pest proofing preventative measures (say that three times fast…) can also be very effective at keeping unwanted intruders out of our cabins and trailers.  The first and most simple thing can be ensuring that you have eliminated all food and water sources that may attract pests.  For instance, when closing up for winter, ensure you empty all food from your pantries and cupboards and when possible store food in rodent proof containers, remove all garbage and waste that could attract pests.  Make any necessary plumbing repairs that could attract rodents etc. to a water source, and always cover pools and hot tubs when not in use.  Eliminating hiding and living places can be especially important for preventing a pest problem over the winter months.  Easy ways to accomplish this are to eliminate any plantings, lumber, or storage against any structures.  Ensure you put all outdoor furniture away for the winter and keep firewood in stands 12-18 inches off the ground.  Other ways to pest proof your cabin or trailer/RV are to make sure you cover all crawl spaces and heating/venting ducts with metal screening or steel mesh.  Also ensure you cover and seal any openings greater than ¼ inch, this includes areas like door jams, piping and wiring under your trailer/RV, as well as roofs and foundations.

Taking precautions and proactive measures early can help to ensure you are not welcomed in the spring by a costly (and often disgusting) misfortune.  Early prevention can ensure years of happiness and fond memories whether you travel the country in your RV or trailer or opt for limitless relaxation at your serene (pest-free) cabin.

 

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