I noticed a few ants in our van and wanted to get onto it before it got worse. So I was wondering: how do I keep ants out of my caravan?
The good news is there’s more than one option for both prevention AND cure. Here’s what I found:
- Sprinkle talcum powder around your tyres, jockey wheel and leads
- Put natural deterrents in your cupboards (cinnamon sticks, tea tree oil, or peppermint oil)
- Use insect surface spray on your tyres, jockey wheel, and leads
- Clean surfaces using white vinegar
- Don’t park with branches touching your caravan
- Clean up spilled food straight away
- Clean dirty dishes (or at least rinse them) straight away
- Keep all food in airtight containers
- Empty your bin regularly… or even better keep it outside
- Sprinkle ant sand around your tyres, jockey wheel, and leads
- Spray an insect bomb inside your van
- Avoid parking under trees
- Use ant rid liquid or baits
Here’s a little more detail on each of them:
1. Sprinkle talcum powder around your tyres, jockey wheel and leads
This is a natural option that deters ants from getting into your caravan in the first place.
Some people say that it’s because the ants don’t like the sticky powder on their feet so they won’t walk across it.
Other people say it’s because of the smell.
This is one of my favourite options for when I’m on the road because it’s not leaving ant poison all around the country (especially when there’s dogs or kids around).
It’s not 100% perfect against the most determined ants, but some people swear by it.
2. Put natural deterrents in your cupboards (cinnamon sticks, tea tree oil, or peppermint oil)
This one is more for if the ants have made their way into your van… it’s to stop them from getting comfortable and making a house in your cupboards.
You can place a couple of cinnamon sticks in the back corner of each cupboard.
Or, a couple of drops of oil on the shelves.
An added bonus is it smells nice!
3. Use insect surface spray on your tyres, jockey wheel, and leads
This is a pretty sure-fire way to stop ants (or other creepy crawlies) from getting into your caravan.
Unlike talcum powder or ant dust, the protection lasts even when you’re moving between sites.
And, it’s a little more water resistant when it’s raining too.
4. Clean surfaces using white vinegar
White vinegar is a pretty decent cleaning product.
It’s not quite as effective as disinfectant… but it’s pretty good.
Aside from the environmental reasons that some people use this instead of other chemicals… the smell can deter some breeds of ants.
And, as an added bonus, it’s one of the most effective agents against mould.
(Check out our article: How To Clean Mould Off Your Caravan Awning [Step By Step])
5. Don’t park with branches touching your caravan
It’s like ants feel obliged to climb off a branch whenever it’s touching a caravan.
Ants are pretty sneaky: they’ll even find a way in through your roof or an open window.
Now, it might only be one or two that do it… but if they happen to find a bit of food?
They’ll tell all their friends.
And because they’re coming in from where you can’t see… you wont even know it.
6. Clean up spilled food straight away
If you ask anyone how do I keep ants out of my caravan, car, house, whatever… making sure there’s no food for them is always the first answer.
Sure, ants might still come for a visit even in a clean caravan…
…but when there’s sweet treats out for them they’ll be coming in A LOT faster.
7. Clean dirty dishes (or at least rinse them) straight away
To be honest:
This is just as important as cleaning up spilled food straight away.
Because ants don’t care whether food is on the floor or it’s on a plate.
8. Keep all food in airtight containers
This is pretty similar to the lack of difference between having scraps of food on the bench or on a plate in the sink:
Ants can’t tell the difference.
If you keep food in containers that aren’t sealed this is actually making life easier for the ants.
Sure, it might be a little bit harder for them to find it in the first place… but if one does?
They’ve hit the jackpot.
9. Empty your bin regularly… or even better keep it outside
The very first week in our caravan we had ants that were coming in for the bin.
We used two of the super strong suction hooks on the outside of our caravan… and used a shopping bag as our bin.
[an added bonus was this kept Eddie out of it too once he was on the move]
If you would like something a little bit more purpose built these things that go on the back of your spare wheel are pretty awesome for a bin:
(They’re only about $30 here on eBay)
10. Sprinkle ant sand around your tyres, jockey wheel, and leads
If you’re at HOME and you don’t need to worry about dogs and kids?
This is way more effective than talcum powder.
It does the same thing with the ants not walking through it, but as an added bonus it will stop them from coming back.
It’s available from the supermarket (and the home brand is just as good as the more expensive brands).
[Just please don’t take this travelling with you… it’s toxic for pets. It’s not cool to be leaving this stuff sprinkled around the place when you don’t know who’s going to be there next]
11. Spray an insect bomb inside your van
This one isn’t so much about how do I keep ants out of my caravan… it’s more to do with how do you get ants out.
Spraying a large amount of aerosol in an enclosed space with gas appliances and electricity is never a good thing…
…so don’t forget to unplug things and extinguish the pilot lights.
12. Avoid parking under trees
This isn’t quite as bad as parking with a branch touching your caravan because you’re not creating a bridge for them.
Some ants are like little paratroopers and insist on jumping down onto a big white target.
Sure, you might only get a few ants… but that’s how it starts.
13. Use ant rid liquid or baits
If you get ants in your caravan this is one of the best options.
A bit of the liquid in an upside-down jar lid does wonders.
The ants love this stuff. They take it back to the nest and it kills them where they live.
Perfect for if you just haven’t been able to get rid of them and they seem to be nesting somewhere in your van.
That, or you’ve got a nest at home near where you park your caravan.
Bonus: Don’t leave the lid off your tank to let it dry out
Some people think you need to have your tanks completely full so bacteria doesn’t grow… others prefer to empty them.
But when you try to empty them?
You run the risk of ants getting in the tanks.
And contrary to popular belief:
Bacteria doesn’t need air and light to grow (think about the bacteria that’s where the sun don’t shine)
If you’re interested check out this article: Should You Leave Water In Caravan Tanks?
When you ask how do I keep ants out of my caravan it’s a case of both prevention and cure.
And, there’s some remedies that are natural, while others are more toxic. Which one(s) you choose will need to depend on where you’re travelling
Which one of these has worked best for you?