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RV bug screens: Keeping bugs out of your RV

Insect infestations are the bane of any dedicated RVer’s existence and can turn a dream vacation into a nightmare. Thankfully, there’s more you can do to prevent this from happening than just sitting and hoping for the best. You can take cautionary measures to enhance your RV and ensure that insects stay in nature and away from your home. In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about RV bug screens so you can make keeping bugs out of your RV a fact of life rather than just a wish.

What are RV bug screens?

RV bug screens are handy little tools that are applied over vents and other openings that typically present enticing pathways for bugs to get in. They look like mesh netting and can be placed in a number of different places. These are one of the most effective ways out there to prevent bugs from getting in your RV and can be purchased at most local hardware stores. 

Before you go out and buy a bug screen, it’s important to know that RV bug screens come in all kinds of different sizes. In order to get the right ones, you’ll want to know the size of the vents that you’ll be covering up. We’d advise you to measure them and write down the dimensions before you go shopping, or even check the owner’s manual to see if the manufacturer has any recommendations. 


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How to install RV bug screens

RV bug screens can be installed in a number of places, and should generally be installed anywhere that bugs can get in. Different vents in your RV require different equipment, so you’ll find that each RV bug screen kit you encounter is specified for a particular vent, like a furnace vent or refrigerator vent. Make sure to buy the proper kits that correspond to where you want to set up your bug screens. Now, we’ll take a look at how to install these protective devices in a few key areas:

Furnace vents

Believe it or not, an RV furnace is incredibly inviting to pesky insects and is an important place to be protected from an infestation. We highly recommend covering up all of your furnace vents.

The bug screen kit that’s meant for your furnace vents should include springs, and that’s what you’ll be using to install the screen. For each of your RV’s furnace vents, you’ll use this spring tool to align the bug screen over the vent and carefully attach it. You should find that the spring has an end consisting of a hook and an end containing a crossbar. The spring as a whole will act as a connective device between the screen itself and the furnace vent cover. Simply put, attach the spring’s hook to the screen (make sure these don’t come apart!) and attach the crossbar to the vent. From here, use the device they’ve given you in your kit to move the other end of the spring through the middle of the vent cover so that the spring keeps the bug screen and vent together in alignment. Ensure that the screen is firmly attached to the vent and won’t budge, and you’re done!


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Fridge vents

Your refrigerator is not only a prime spot for a bug infestation, it’s also a particularly nasty one. Insects crowding your refrigerator can completely ruin your food, and in extreme cases, might even require you to buy a new refrigerator! Even if it doesn’t get quite that bad, it’s still gross and unsanitary, so let’s take care of it before it becomes a problem.

The process of attaching the bug screens to your refrigerator vents will look a little different than it did for the furnace vents. Rather than getting a spring and installation device, you’ll likely be provided with multiple screens and zip ties in this bug screen kit. 

Don’t fret though, this installation is easily doable on your own and takes mere moments. All you have to do is detach the refrigerator vent cover and install each of the screens by placing them inside the open vent and tying them to the cover using the zip ties. It should take two ties per screen. You’ll know you’re done with each when there’s no excess space left between the screen and the vent cover, and you’re finished with the whole process when you’re out of screens. Sometimes there’s extra length left on the zip ties, so if you find this bothersome, feel free to snip off the ends. 

When you’re all done, just put the vent cover back into place and you can rest assured that your refrigerator is protected from unwanted bugs!

Water heater vents

Your water heater is a major area of concern for bug infestations, and one that you really don’t want to be compromised. Thankfully, the installation process for a bug screen kit here is the same as the one detailed above for your RV furnace vents! Just use the spring and provided installation device to attach the vent cover to the bug screen, following the steps above, and you’re good to go.

Taking care of your RV bug screens

Once you’ve properly installed your RV bug screens to their corresponding vents, you shouldn’t have to worry about insects getting in. However, it’s wise to check up on the screens periodically and make sure they’re still intact and functioning properly. 

If they’ve sustained heavy wear and tear, it might be a good idea to go ahead and replace them. You know how to do that now, though, so that should be no trouble! It’s also a great practice to clean them every few months with your cleaning agent of preference so that dirt and grime doesn’t deteriorate the bug screens before it’s their time to go. As long as you do these small, simple steps every once in a while to take care of your screens, they should protect you from bugs for a long time.


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Other tips to keep bugs out of your RVs

While bug screens are a great way to prevent bug infestations, why not tackle the problem from all angles to maximize efficiency? Here are a few other ways you can prevent infestations:

  1. Install a bug zapper (or other preventative objects) that will keep bugs away from the RV. If you’re uncomfortable having an actual bug zapper around, there are many other items you can purchase that will do a similar job. For example, there are repellent devices that can be set up on the campsite outside your RV that emit odors that will keep mosquitoes away. Thermacell is a great brand that has a line of products designed to do just that.

  2. Place bug repellent in places you think insects would be attracted to most of all, such as underneath the sink, in dark spaces, and any other nooks and crannies you might not normally check.

  3. Generally take care of your RV and maintain its cleanliness as much as possible. A good rule of thumb is that the cleaner your space is, the less there will be to attract bugs into it. If you have trouble remembering to clean, keep some supplies handy and give the RV a quick once-over at the end of every trip. Don’t forget those hard-to-reach or often ignored spots either!

  4. Peppermint is your best friend, and most bugs’ worst enemy. Bugs tend to hate this scent and will avoid it at all costs, so you can use this knowledge to your advantage with a number of different peppermint-scented items. You can put down some peppermint oil around your doorway and other openings where bugs can get in, or even a bar of Irish Spring soap if you’d prefer that. 

  5. At night, close your doors and turn off your exterior lights. Open doorways and bright lights are natural invitations for bugs to come loiter, so if you’re ready to turn in for the night, you might as well remove those attractions.

Keeping bugs away is easy to do, but can do wonders for your RVing experience.

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