Our RV is Driving Us BATTY… Again!

TheRVgeeks Miscellaneous 26 Comments

If our video about a bat roosting under one of our windshield screens gave you the willies a couple of years ago, brace yourself for a small colony of them!

On a recent quiet afternoon, we heard the faint sound of scratching behind our refrigerator. Since it’s fall, and getting pretty cool at night, we assumed it was a mouse making a nest. We’ve had a few mice on board over the years and know that getting rid of them before they can do any damage is important.

So we removed the outside vent behind our fridge to scope it out, and nearly had a heart attack as about 2 dozen little brown bats spilled out!

Don’t get us wrong. We love and appreciate what wonderful creatures bats are (apart from the guano and potential rabies). They eat a ton of bugs, especially mosquitoes, and we don’t want to harm them. But we don’t want them sharing our home with us either.

This short videos shows a couple of steps we’ve taken to make our home more bat-resistant. Even though we shot this during the day, we made sure to wait until late at night (while they were out feeding) to block their re-entry. There are lots of trees and other places for them to roost, so they just had to find another home when they came back the next morning to find that we’d changed the locks.

Hopefully, the second time’s a charm. We weren’t able to capture all of them on video (running the other way screaming isn’t the recommended way to capture wildlife video). But the sight of that wall of brown fur that greeted us when that vent came off is probably all the bat visuals we need for the foreseeable future anyway.


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Comments 26

  1. You two are great! My husband and I have learned quite a bit from watching your videos. We are not full-timers, like yourselves, as we have a daughter still in school, so our trips happen about every 4 months. We store our RV in a garage. On our last trip out, we discovered we had a couple of visitors (mice)-EEK! We have caught them, but we can’t figure how they got in the RV – can’t find a point of entry. We own a Ventana LE. We thought you guys might know a point of entry since you seem to know Newmars pretty well. Any info would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much for all the great info you share with the RV world!

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      Hi Amy! We can tell you from long experience that it is virtually impossible to stop mice from getting into an RV. If you are parked in an area with mice, they will get in. We gave up trying to stop them with steel wool stuffed into openings, dryer sheets, peppermint oil, electronic repellers and all the other things that are supposed to stop them. We’ve tried them all and nothing works. The only thing we’ve ever found that works is to keep a few traps set up in areas we noticed activity (droppings) in the basement, baited with a little peanut butter, and check them regularly. We have no problem killing them humanely (i.e. quickly… we never use glue traps, which just torture them). Of course you could use live catch traps too, but we tried that, and unless we drove them a long way away, they seem to come right back in the next day. We found some awesome traps that are easy to bait, set and re-use without ever touching the mice. They’re very effective and look, and work, very much like these: https://amzn.to/2V7KvaO We love these, and leave several set up in the basement all the time. Catching them before they do damage is so important. Hope this helps!

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  3. During a power failure, does the refrigerator automatically stay ruining in the auto mode, or do I need to light a pilot light somewhere?

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      Hi Lonnie,

      In “Auto” mode, an RV refrigerator (propane/electric) should automatically switch over to run on propane. That’s what the “Auto” function is for. You CAN force it to run on just propane (i.e. if you are on a low amperage shore connection and want to free up 110V power for other appliances) or just electric (if you need to conserve propane), but we always left ours on “Auto” so it would handle it for us. Any fairly modern RV refrigerator should run this way (our Norcold fridges in both our 2002 Bounder Diesel and the one we replaced in our 2005 Mountain Aire did, anyway).

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  5. Where’s the video???? Without video this is just some internet conspiracy against Bats or RVers or maybe against refrigerators.

    Ron Howard says a good director always asks for a second take.

    Oh well, it’s still a good story.

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      Of all people in this whole world, you should know better than anyone that it will take far more than a couple of little screens and some tape to cure my battiness! CYNDY!!!!! So great to see you here!! :D

  6. I had a massive Bat problem in a log house in Idaho. I found they were roosting behind the chimmey and next to the logs. Sometimes one or two bats would find their way into the house at night, my girlfriend would go bananas an freak out. I got really good shooting them with a .22 although I did leave a few chuck holes in the interior logs. Upon locating the roost behind the chimmey during daylight I shot a stream of water onto them. A huge cloud of bats exited and swarmed over to a nearby neighbor’s log house. The bats never returned to my place.

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  7. Hmmm. Getting rid of ants should be easy for you guys. Any advice? I want to be certain that our dogs don’t get poisoned too.

    I haven’t been reading your postings, but think I will catch up reading them now that I have the time. I enjoy them, of course.

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      We’re happy to say that we’ve never had ants on this RV… but we did get them once on our first RV, after parking in Key Largo in a spot that allowed the leaves of a nearby tree to brush up against the side of the rig. Not sure we did the right thing, so take this info with a grain salt… but it did work for us. We left the RV for an entire day, immediately after setting off about a half dozen of these things all over the place, including a couple in the basement: http://amzn.to/2cJafot. They’re the Raid Fumigator, and they are the best thing we’ve ever used to get rid of EVERY pest out there (we’d used them in a house we owned about 20 years ago, and they are amazing)! What’s great about them is that they use smoke, not mist. So there is no residue. We would of course suggest reading the instructions carefully, especially as they relate to pets (we don’t have any). But the lack of residue probably makes them safer than anything else out there, since once the smoke dissipates, there’s nothing left. Just open every cabinet in the place, set them around and get the heck out (they activate with a little water, so it’s kind a like a movie when they all go off)! It killed every ant in one try. We even found bug bodies we didn’t know we had. ;-)

    2. Your concern for your dogs and bats is a valid one: Years ago the government ran an experiment in bat caves, I believe in NM or TX, where they put K-9’s in cages under the bat roost, The K-9’s did contract the rabies virus from the bat urine droppings.

  8. I am surprised your install guy’s, didn’t add the tape. Mine did. Hadn’t throught about the “other”, use of the screens.
    Now, I’ll be sure to add. I’ve been wanting to. Now, i have a real good reason. Thanks

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  9. Did you do anything to cover the roof vent? I made the same refrigerator conversion a few years ago and replaced the Not-So-Cold with the Samsung 197. I also had done a similar vent insulation project like yours including the taping of those vent slots.

    It wasn’t until this spring I covered up the roof top vent. It was a pretty easy project. I removed the roof vent cover and then I also removed the screen. After that I cut and formed insulation board to fill in that opening. I used Gorilla Tape along the edges to hold in in place but didn’t cover the corners where the mounting screws would go back into. After that I used thin sheet metal and made a cover which included a 1/2″ lip over the sides of the opening. I also used glue on the top of the insulation board to glue the insulation board to the sheet metal cover. Finally, I used a small punch to punch through the sheet metal where the 4 screws from the original vent cover would secure to the vent opening. Once that was done I replaced the vent cover using the original mounting screws and Dicored the screw heads.

    While I don’t have a scientific way to prove it, this summer I felt I also gained an improvement in comfort level. That roof top vent hole is relatively large and certainly has let out a lot of air that my AC/HP or furnace produced. My AC run times this summer seemed less than in the past. BTW…no way bats can get in with this mod.

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  10. You guy’s are great, good information delivered in a professional manner and always fun to watch!
    My wife and I have owned RV’s (two Travel Trailers and 3 Class A Motorhomes) for over 30 years and being a retired mechanic I am familiar with most of the mechanical and electrical systems involved with them. I always enjoy learning new things, especially things I am interested in like RVing and all that is involved. The information you provide is fantastic.
    Please keep up the good work, I look forward to more!

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      Thanks so much, Jim! Kind words from a professional mechanic are extremely gratifying. :) If you like the technical stuff, you’ll appreciate the video we’re currently editing for next week — a step-by-step tutorial on how we recently replaced our A&E WeatherPro power patio awning fabric (actually, Tyler from Tough Top Awnings did it… we were just there to help & video… and learn)! We posted a shorter video this week because the awning one is a bit of a bear to edit, due to all the steps involved. It’s not a difficult installation, but there seem to be more individual steps than most. Stay tuned!

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