Get the Bug Out of Here! Our battle with Bugs in the RV


bug out

Over the course of our travels the last couple years we have had to battle several different bug invasions. When you travel far from your home area you encounter a class of bug you may not be familiar or quite prepared for. Here are a few of the most memorable battles with bugs in the RV.

Mosquitos of PEI

PEI Beach

Having lived most of my life on Vancouver Island my experience with this evil bugger is fairly limited. Sure I have encountered them at a lake in the summer or when some neighbors store their tires outside. But man oh man nothing comes close to the hyper-swarming cloud we endured on the so called “gentle island” of Prince Edward Island.

We setup in a nice spot inside the campground area at Cabot Beach Provincial Park during a sunny afternoon totally unaware of the impending insect armageddon that was about to hit. First hint should have been when the neighbor gave me a friendly wave and I noticed he was sporting several dryer sheets tied to his apparel and ball cap. I proceeded to setup the RV and did notice a few bites. Soon the sun started going down and they began to arrive, I applied my deep woods bug spray and started to cook up some hotdogs for dinner on the barbeque. Big mistake! The heat and carbon dioxide put out by the BBQ caused a huge swarm to arrive and I was chased inside the RV.

Now these were not your normal run of the mill skeeters, they were like mosquitos hopped up on crack and blood hungry as heck. Every time we opened the door for a microsecond a dozen would be inside the RV. When I ventured out to get the hotdogs they were covered with hundreds of charred bug bodies. We spent the evening hiding inside the RV and even had to plug any tiny hole with paper towels. They were so aggressive they would come in by the dozens through the slide corners.

Anne, I and the two dogs must have lost a quart of blood and a good portion of it was showing up as we frantically killed the ones trapped inside. Needless to say we skedaddled out of there early the next morning. We found out later that the nearby potato field had been flooded a month earlier by a storm caused ocean surge and had not been plowed and sprayed. This caused a humongous mosquito hatch. The rest of our PEI trip was fantastic and I highly recommend it for an RV trip.

Lady Bugs of Virginia

Blue Ridge Parkway

We were enjoying the fall leaf turn in Shenandoah National Park and camped at the Swift Run RV Park. It was a little off season and the park was empty except for the long term residents. We used it as a base camp to explore the south end of the park.

After a nice morning spent visiting the park we returned to relax during a sunny (warm for the time of year) afternoon. After lunch I headed outside to begin puttering around and to my amazement the entire sunny side of the RV was covered with hundreds, maybe thousands of Lady Bugs! I looked around the campground and the air was thick with them.

At first it was very amusing and fun to watch but being that there were so many of them, tons found their way inside the RV. Even after the swarm was over and for weeks later we were finding Lady Bugs crawling out of every nook and cranny.

“No See Ums” of Jekyll Island

Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island, Georgia was a favorite of ours. Outstanding campground, beaches, bike paths, history, nature but like any great location I’ve found there usually is a tradeoff. The tradeoff here was tiny, tiny little biting flies called by many “No See Ums”, midges, chiggers but I ended up calling them a#@holes. Every day around 4pm they would rise up from the grasses and swamps looking for a meal. The problem wasn’t so much the bite, it didn’t really hurt but the next day and for several days after we endured the extreme itch. It was almost impossible to not scratch yourself raw.

Adding to the misery was these little buggers were so small they could go right through the bug screens. The only thing I found that helped with the itch was rubbing the bites with bleach. Some folks had success with oils and Avon Skin so Soft but us Canadians must have tasted good because they were relentless. Luckily they must not have a very long life span because once we were out of the area they dissipated out of the RV quickly.

Sugar Ants in FLA

Florida Gator

This invasion came in full force during a stay at a beautiful RV park on the Space Coast of Florida called Manatee Hammock. We spent a awesome week there enjoying the Kennedy Space Center and hiking/photographing in the nearby nature reserve. In the days after the visit we started to notice we had picked up a few unwelcomed little guests. Tiny little ants would appear every now and then on the walls of the rig. They didn’t seem to bite and were easily dealt with.

Soon though their numbers began to grow and we found them in our food, especially anything sweet. One night Anne freaked out when finding a few ants in her bedtime cookie snack. I laughed and told her to get over it; they are so small it doesn’t matter. Extra protein I said. Well she would get the last laugh on that one. Soon they were in my coffee sugar, our cereal and worse of all my prized stash of Kraft caramel candies! Anne bugs me to this day about how I only got really upset when they were found inside my candy.

Getting rid of sugar ants turned out to be fairly easy. Anne had battled ants before in the kitchen at her previous house. A product called Raid Ant Drops got rid of the infestation in a few days. It’s a squeeze bottle and you just apply a few drops along the ant trails. They eat it and take it back to the nest where it kills the colony. I now apply a little around the tires, hoses and electric cable when in sugar ant territory.


During our RV travel adventures we have battled many other insect pests like wasps, spiders, flies, fire ants, etc. but these were by far our most memorable wars. What are your worse bug encounters while RVing. Let us know in a comment below.

Note: This is the first posting in a new RV Happy Hour blog category called “RV Road Stories”. If any members have an interesting or funny story from their RV adventures and would like to publish it here on the RV Happy Hour blog please contact me. Cheers Ray

6 thoughts on “Get the Bug Out of Here! Our battle with Bugs in the RV”

  1. We had an incident at Wakonda state park in Missouri when we tied our dog out to a tree at the back of our campsite while we got things out to make a meal by our picnic table. Lulu started jumping around the tree and running around it. My wife went to see what the problem was and ran into a wasp ground nest. She unhooked the dog who was getting stung all over and she received about 10 stings and fell down with the dog leash tangled in her legs. What a mess.. We called our niece who is a Doctor in Wisconsin. She told us to give my wife and the dog Benedryl and Advil immediately . Good thing neither were allergic to bee’s. It was a miserable night and we went through all our ice cube tray’s trying to sooth the stings. I thought we would lose our dog that night. She was in so much pain and panted all night. Lulu’s, eye was swollen shut and my wife’s arm and shoulder was a mess. We notified the camp manager and he came and sprayed the nest and told us where the nearest hospital was in case we needed it. No one got any sleep that night and we headed home at 5:00 in the morning. We now carry wasp spray and only hook the dogs to our RV or truck and don’t trust the edge of the woods anymore. We had camped in the same park, in the same site several times before, but you never know what you are getting into.

    • Ack! Thar sounds terrible. Hate wasps. Last summer around August our whole RV Park was infested by them. The park has underground electrical wiring and so there are these metal access boxes. Well the little buggers made nests inside them, just feet away from the RV. The Hydro company had to come out several times and get rid of them. Lucky we knew about them and didn’t get stung.

  2. Oh man, that is one of the things that I don’t look forward to when we will be travelling to warmer/southern areas. How did you end up getting rid of the lady bugs Ray? I know if you get them in your house it can take forever to get rid of. Other bugs that I have heard can be a bit of a problem in your RV are stink bugs. Any problems with them? And of course, having pets, we always worry about fleas too.

    • They slowly disappeared as we traveled, took a few weeks though. 🙂 Never had a stink bug problem, I think they are a seasonal thing and we missed them. We use a monthly product called Revolution on our dog and never have had a flea problem, it also protects against ticks and heartworm, etc.

  3. Whoops, need to look before I leap… Lol
    I just posted this in my “Newbie ” group:
    The QUESTION : in North Carolina there exists a teeny-tiny, super small ant. Nothing seems to deter it ( other than manual slaughtering). Has anyone run into these? Has anyone found a “cure”?

    I was commenting that I had read An RVing article stating to keep ants out you should put Comet cleaning powder on your support jacks/landing gear, tires, tongue jack and pretty much anything that creates a pathway from the ground into your camper, you can keep the ants out. EXCEPT for this kind of sinister ant that, much like the above posting, get Everywhere!

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