Tips for Getting Rid of Ants in a Caravan

18 TIPS! How to Get Rid of Ants in the Caravan

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Ants… those dreaded little black insects that like to freeload their way around the country in every second caravan! If you’re after some solid hints on how to get rid of ants in the caravan, work your way through these 18 tips.

I noticed that whenever we stopped for any lengthy period of time, ants seemed to move in and treat the caravan like one big giant ants nest. When I say move in, I mean they take up residence in any number of places, such as the walls, awning arms, roof and behind the fridge.

There are a number of ways to get rid of ants from the caravan, including talcum powder, bicarb soda, peppermint oil, talon gel, ant rid, bug spray and even lemon juice. How you attack the ant situation in your caravan depends largely on your situation.

Ants tend to make themselves known by marching up the awning pole or straps, along the outside of the caravan, across the roof or even up the tyres.

As soon as anyone in the van saw an ant we would run straight for the ant spray to get on top of the situation before they multiplied into the thousands. P.S: I hate ant spray, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

So, how do you get rid of ants in the caravan? Here are a number of ways to help eliminate them… until their next invasion!

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How to Get Rid of Ants in the Caravan

Avoid Parking Under Trees

BIG 4 Airlie Beach

You can secure the perimeter of the caravan from ants until the cows come home, but if you’re parked under a tree, you’re wasting your time.

There have been many occasions where I knew we had ants in the caravan, but couldn’t find them crawling anywhere on the outside walls. Without fail, if we got up to check the roof, we’d find some up there.

Quite often, ants will fall off the tree branches right onto the caravan roof. I swear they go off to tell their mates and before you know it you’re hosting 547 squatters in the walls!


Don’t Let Branches Touch Your Caravan

My first tip for how to get rid of ants in the caravan is to avoid tree branches.

Just like parking under trees, if you have branches touching your caravan, you’re basically building a bridge between your world and the ant world. If you think the odds of them wandering across that exact branch to your caravan is slim, think again. They’ll be setting up home before you know it!


Talcum Powder/ Bicarb Soda

Bicarb Soda around Caravan Stabilisers
Ring of Talcum Powder/ Bicarb Soda

Some people swear by putting a ring of Talcum Powder (eBay) or Bicarb Soda (eBay) around any part of the caravan that touches the ground. This way you create a barrier between your caravan access and the outside world. Ants can’t stand the stuff and won’t dare to cross it.

You can sprinkle it on the ground (as pictured), but there is the risk of ants still finding their way up from the ground. The best bet is to sprinkle the powder actually on the items (stabiliser legs, jockey wheel etc.) to create a solid barrier against the ants.

Talcum Powder and Bicarb Soda are more natural options, especially for wildlife, pets and children that play or forage around the caravan.

This is a great option for when the caravan is parked up between trips. For more ideas, check out these caravan storage tips.

Sprinkle Talcum Powder/ Bicarb Soda around:

  • Wheels
  • Jockey wheel
  • Stabilisers
  • Awning poles & ropes
  • Leads & hoses

Trays Filled With Water

Water Bath for things touching the ground
Water bath to create an ant barrier

If you know that your caravan will be parked in the same spot for an extended amount of time, you can literally park the wheels inside a tray filled with an inch or two of water. You could use metal baking trays or improvise with whatever you can find that will do the job.

In addition to that you can put your stabilisers and jockey wheel inside some sort of container that will hold a bit of water as well. Obviously they need to be items that won’t rust from the water or break from the weight of the caravan.

With this technique you can rest assured that there is always a barrier that the ants can’t cross. Just don’t forget to top up the water from time to time!


Don’t Stand Things Against the Caravan

Bikes leaning against Caravan
Don’t leave things leaning agains the caravan

As we’ve already spoken about, you want to minimise the number of entry points that ants have to your caravan. So, avoid leaning things against the caravan.

This may seem overkill, but I’ve definitely founds lines of ants coming up from items leaning against the van in the past and kicked myself for it. In particular, if there is rain on the horizon, you’ll notice lots of ants on the move – they’ll do anything to relocate before their underground nest gets washed out!


Keep on Top of the Dishes

Dishes
Keep on top of the dishes

Make sure you keep on top of the dishes. If you’re trying to save water (especially while Free Camping), you can use a small amount of water outside to rinse dirty dishes. At least this way they’re not sitting around the caravan covered in yummy goodness for ants in between washes.


Wipe Up Spills & Crumbs Pronto

Keeping the kitchen and in fact all spaces in the caravan clean is paramount. This may sound rather obvious but think about how much food a few crumbs provide for teeny tiny ants.

If there’s a spill, wipe it up straight away. After lunch has been prepared, wipe down all of the surfaces right away. It won’t take long for any resident ants to sniff out lunch and swoop in.

22 Tips for Cleaning the Caravan →
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Store Food in Air-tight Spaces

Tupperware Containers
Store food in sealed containers

Another way to keep ants out of the caravan is to not give them access to your food.

When you open a packet of food and only eat half, store the rest in a good quality, sealed container. Some foods will keep well by storing them in the fridge (such as bread) .

Rice Syrup
Rice Syrup jar in a lid of water

One of the first places I noticed ants seemed to appear in the caravan was around the lid of my Rice Syrup jar, which usually lived in the tea & coffee cupboard. When ants were on the prowl I’d move it to the fridge (when travelling) or sit the jar in a lid filled with water. This works the same as the talcum powder strategy by putting a barrier between the prize and the ants.

EXTRA TIP: This water bath method can work for a number of different items.


Dispose of Rubbish ASAP

Notch Point, Dirty Gear Bag
Dirty Gear Bag on the spare tyre for rubbish

The next tip for getting rid of ants from the caravan is to take out the rubbish regularly. You don’t want to give the ants any extra reasons to be in your caravan.

Some people store their rubbish outside, but unless it’s in something that’s properly sealed, the wildlife will just get into it and make a huge mess. I preferred to store it inside, but got rid of it as often as possible.

We had a Dirty Gear Bag on the back of the spare car tyre for when we were Free Camping and couldn’t dispose of our rubbish every day.


Ant Rid

Not that I’m a fan of these chemical solutions, but sometimes you find yourself at your wits end. A few drops of strategically placed Ant Rid will have the ants taking it back to the nest and subsequently destroying the nest.

Ant Rid
Ant Rid (eBay) →
40 Tips for FREE Camping →

Talon Ant Gel

There’s this gel-like stuff called Talon that you can get from the supermarket. It’s as easy as squeezing some out of a tube in the trail of where ants generally go, which stops them in their tracks.

We would put a line of Talon around the awning strap and wherever else we would see ants walking and it completely stopped them from continuing on into the caravan.

You can also put a dab of it in cupboards and on the bench top if you see ants around inside the caravan.

Talon Ant Gel
Talon Ant Gel (eBay) →

Bug Spray

Again, I hate the stuff, but I’m guilty of using bug spray while in amongst an ant infestation. Usually by the time you realise you’ve got an ant problem in the caravan, they’re already nesting in the walls.

Another good idea is to spray the ends of everything that’s touching the ground (poles, ropes, stabilisers, wheels, jockey wheel). That way the ants are deterred from the onset.

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Natural Alternatives

Bicarb, Lemon & Vinegar

For those who prefer to use natural alternatives to get rid of ants in the caravan, here are a few natural ant deterrents and exterminators.

PEPPERMINT

• Natural insect repellent
• Ants hate the smell of it
• Put few drops on cotton ball & place around
• Wipe affected areas with Peppermint Oil
VINEGAR

• Mix 50/50 solution in a spray bottle with water
• Spray directly on ants to kill them
• Spray around benches, windows etc. as a deterrent
• Destroys scent trail
LEMON JUICE

• Mix 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts water
• Spray affected areas as a deterrent
• Destroys scent trail
CINNAMON

• Kills ants when they inhale it
• Sprinkle ground cinnamon around potential ant areas
• Mix Essential Oil with water and spray on affected areas
CAYENNE PEPPER/ BLACK PEPPER

• Won’t kill ants, but they hate these peppers
• Works as a deterrent
• Mix with water and spray
• Sprinkle powder as a barrier
FOOD GRADE DIATOMACEOUS EARTH

• Microscopic edges are razor sharp
• Will kill ants
• Sprinkle affected areas

Peppermint

Peppermint is a natural insect repellent, which ants hate the smell of.

It is really easy to use. Simply put a few drops of Peppermint Oil (eBay) on a cotton ball (eBay), then sit the cotton ball on your benches and in cabinets as needed. You can also wipe affected areas with Peppermint Oil.


Vinegar

The best way to use vinegar (eBay) as a natural ant repellent solution is with a spray bottle. Mix a 50/ 50 solution of vinegar and water in your spray bottle. Then you can spray your solution directly onto ants to kill them. Don’t forget to spray around your benches and windows as a deterrent as the vinegar works to destroy the scent trail that ants follow.


Lemon Juice

You’ll again need a spray bottle for the use of Lemon Juice as a natural way of stopping ants from coming into your caravan. All you need to do is mix 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts of water. Spray affected areas around your van as a way to destroy the ant’s scent trail, just like vinegar does.


Cinnamon

The key with using Cinnamon as an ant repellent is that it will kills ants when they inhale it. Just sprinkle Ground Cinnamon around potential ant affected areas. Another way to apply it is by using a few drops of Cinnamon Essential Oil (eBay) with water and spraying it where you need.


Cayenne Pepper/ Black Pepper

It’s important to note that Pepper won’t kill ants, but it will work as a deterrent. They really hate these two Peppers! One application is to mix either of the Peppers with water in a spray bottle and spraying it around as needed.

Another way is to sprinkle Cayenne Pepper (eBay) or Black Pepper as a barrier between the ant world and your world.


Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

The microscopic edges of Diatomaceous Earth (eBay) are razor sharp, which will kill ants. All you need to do is sprinkle the powder around your affected areas to put a stop to the ants that are trying to come in and out.

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Tips From the Facebook Community

What I do and found effect so far is WD40. I spray the jockey wheel shaft and stabilisers with it. It seems to stop the ants and rust at the same time. I spray the tyres with silicone spray inside along the bottom and out side. Looks good and protects the tyres. Can spray your grey water hose and normal water hose and electrical cable just around where they touch the ground.
Peter

Ant rid seems to have eradicated them from my van.. I leave a lid full in their track permanently in case more emerge later.. I have blue tacked the lid in place so it doesn’t move when travelling or bumped.
Kay

I use Mortein Long Lasting Surface Spray on everything touching the ground, never had a problem. Use it every time we stop. Stay away from trees.
– David

Vinegar in a spray bottle is much safer than insect spray, and equal amounts of castor sugar and boric acid in water will be taken back to the nest and wipe them out.
Rog

$15 Bunnings citronella burner oil, put it in a pressure sprayer undiluted, spray the whole undercarriage of your van legs wheels jockey wheel.
– Darren

Vaseline around all the legs, jockey wheel shaft, leads and hoses.
– Kevin

I have gauze bags of dried bay leaves in my cupboards and have never had an ant in my van.
– Maureen

Jockey dock and leg pads are great for stopping ants. Fill with water or talc.
– Vicki

We cut a milk carton in half, put the caravan feet in each one and half fill with water. No more ants.
– David

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Tips for Stopping Ants Getting into the Caravan
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13 thoughts on “18 TIPS! How to Get Rid of Ants in the Caravan”

  1. Awesome tips and I never would’ve thought to use talcum powder! Will defs test out vinegar in a bottle as opposed to insect spray.

  2. This is so helpful tips for Camper van travel.I have never done any such trips,but looking forward to do such trip in future to new Zealand. I am saving these post too.Thank you for sharing!

  3. What a nuisance! I never would have even considered that ants would be a problem when you’re caravan camping, but it makes total sense. We always have problems with them in buildings in the spring and find that little borax traps tucked around rooms seem to keep them at bay. But you are absolutely spot on that keeping a clean, tidy space is critical to ant mitigation.

  4. Wow, I never would’ve guessed that ants could be this persistent especially in a moving vehicle! That said, you have a great comprehensive list with many things I never would’ve though of. It makes sense to stay away from trees and to not prop anything up against the caravan. Thanks for sharing, I’m sure this will come in handy for a lot of travelers!

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