by Donna B.
is finally approaching the Northern Hemisphere - lots of sun and outdoors for
part-timers as well as full-timers. But while we are having our fun in the sun,
we need to remember some of the other things that summer brings - the ants,
mice, ticks, sunburns, heat stroke, food poisoning, etc.
Pests of Summer
Humans aren't the only active ones during the summer months. It's time to
prepare for the annual invasion of crawling insects. No one wants ants or
roaches and very few can tolerate the good side of spiders (myself included).
- Clean out your cabinets and storage areas, especially corners and crevices
where nests could be made. This should be done by vacuuming, not just brushing
off the surfaces.
- Wipe everything down with a mild cleansing solution, being sure to eliminate
any sticky spots that could attract insects.
- If possible, spray a good general household pesticide in all storage areas.
Allow to dry thoroughly before replacing items.
- Check for any open holes where insects could easily get inside your rig,
repair any you find.
- Look for damp areas that could encourage spiders and moisture-loving ants,
repair any you find.
- Place ant and roach bait traps where children and pets can't reach them.
- If possible, transfer all open packages of food into sealed storage
containers. This includes bird seed and pet food! (It is even a good idea to
store unopened food in sealed containers.)
- Keep trash away from the RV!
- Sprinkle common sink cleanser on all outside hoses and around tires to
discourage ants and other pests. Repeat as needed, especially after rain.
STINGING & BITING PESTS
Wasps, bees, hornets, yellow jackets as well as mosquitoes love spring and
summer. If you are allergic to their stings, it can be life threatening.
- Keep an over the counter medication such as Bendryl on hand for allergic
- If you have severe allergies and carry a bee sting kit, check the expiration
date. Renew if necessary.
- Avoid hairspray, perfume and after shave - they attract stinging &
- Don't hang plants with flowers, they also attract these pesky insects.
- When confronted by a stinging insect, try to move away slowly and don't
- If you are going to be outdoors for a prolonged period and mosquitoes or
gnats are a real problem, you need to wear some type of repellent.
- If you find a nest around or on your RV, use a specialized bug spray during
the evening when the nest is at rest. If you see no activity the following day
it should be safe to remove and destroy the nest, otherwise repeat the process
the next evening.
- Bug Zappers kill many more beneficial insects than harmful ones!
invader of our humble and not so humble mobile abodes are mice. They can destroy
- When checking for open areas for crawling pests, use steel wool to seal all
areas around pipes.
- Again, use bait traps in areas where children and pets cannot reach. RVs
have many small, hidden places where you can put them - places where mice would
love to nest. Under cabinet drawers, in night stands where pipes may be placed,
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING
As much as we love the sun, it is very easy to let ourselves get too much of a
- Number one rule - wear sunscreen!
- Drink lots of fluids, especially clear ones.
- If you feel faint or stop sweating, get out of the sun - preferably to a
- Even with sunscreen, you can still sunburn if you overstay your sun limit.
The same goes for cloudy days.
- Don't forget the warnings about food poisoning - watch how long your food
sits in the heat.
- Don't forget your pets when thinking about the heat. Never leave them shut
up unattended in any vehicle, including your RV, for extended periods. Even if
you keep the air conditioning on, what happens if the power goes off?
There are two kinds of ticks we need to worry about. The first is the common dog
tick or wood tick. Wood ticks are found in tall, grassy fields or in areas with
- Check your pets daily for wood ticks.
- When hiking, try to stay on paths that are cleared rather than going through
- Wear light colored clothing and keep as much skin covered as possible. Also
tuck your pant legs into your socks.
- Anytime you have been through areas usually inhabited by ticks, you need to
inspect your clothes and yourself carefully.
- Smear petroleum jelly on a tick - in about 10 to 20 minutes, it should begin
to back itself out and you can easily remove it. Do not pull on a tick -
you can tear the tick and leave the mouth parts attached, possibly causing an
- If you are going to frequent the woods with a pet, be sure the pet is
protected ahead of time. Check with your veterinarian for the best product to
The other kind of tick can be more deadly, it is the deer tick and is a
common cause of Lyme
Disease. Lyme Disease can be treated easily if found in the early stages but
many people are still not aware of the symptoms. Be sure you know the initial stages.
Lyme Disease is nothing to fool with.
Fleas are the bane of us all - the trick is to keep you pet from ever
becoming infected. Once again, check with your veterinarian for the best product
to use. Most of the over the counter products will not be as effective as the
ones you can obtain from your vet. By the way, did you know that the most common
flea is the "cat flea" and that it infests dogs as well as cats?
If your pet already has fleas, you will need to treat your RV as well as your
pet. It will take several weeks to break the breeding cycle, so be patient but
persistent. Once the fleas have been eradicated, you should use a systemic
product obtained from your vet for the best results.
A few other summer weather pet tips -
- Be sure they always have fresh water available, indoors and out. And never
use a metal water dish in the sun, for obvious reasons.
- Your pet can't perspire like you do, so when the temperature is especially
high take your walks early in the morning or later in the evening when it's
cooler. You'll both appreciate it!
- Groom your pet daily, always on the lookout for fleas and ticks.
- Check with your vet to see if your pet will need heartworm protection in the
areas you are traveling to. Some parts of the country are still heartworm free,
but it is spreading. Although treatable, it is quite expensive to do so and is
Oh, one last important pet reminder - be sure you pet has current
identification tags (rabies and/or license as well as emergency contact
information). We have decided to use a relative's address and phone - someone
who will always know where we are and how to reach us. Nothing can destroy your
summer quicker than losing a loved pet.
So enjoy your summer but remember that even this beautiful time of year
brings it's own headaches!