Monthly Archives: October 2019

Attack of the Stink Bugs!

presentation1.jpgLiving in the woods as we do most of the time, one has to expect wildlife. But, by and large, we’ve had very little bug-intrusion into our living space. We did manage to pick up black ants in Alafia River State Park during our first few months of RV living, but ant traps and months traveling through the desert eliminated that issue. We may see the occasional spider or fly inside the bus, but that’s about it. We saw more critters living in our South Florida house.

Until now.

220px-Pentatomidae_-_Halyomorpha_halys-001Enter …. the brown marmorated stink bug. We had been happily drifting through Tennessee and North Carolina, blissfully unaware of this unpleasant nuisance. However, when we arrived at our current camping spot near Greensboro, NC, we extended our slides to find that at a dozen or so had invaded our living space. We weren’t sure what we were dealing with at first, as these square-ish insects flew clumsily around, bumbling into walls and windows.

After catching and squashing the initial infestation, it became quickly apparent that we were dealing with stink bugs! I don’t know whether we had picked them up in Hendersonville and brought them along or acquired them here. But, as we started looking around, we realized that they were everywhere.

The brown marmorated stinkbug is not native to the US. Accidently imported from Asia into Pennsylvania in 1998 (presumably in cargo), it has spread throughout the US. With no native predators, it has become a particular pest in orchards in the east, causing millions of dollars in lost crops. And we are in one of the hot spots.

The stinkbugs survive winter by seeking inside spaces in the Fall. They don’t eat anything or reproduce, they just hibernate there until Spring. But, during their Fall drive for inside, they can worm their way through the tiniest cracks into your home. And, although our slide seals seem to be adequate barriers for most unwelcome visitors, these little buggers seem to be able to get through. And they are tough little buggers — conventional traps and insect sprays are ineffective. You just have to catch them and either squash or drown ’em.

So, now we’re on stinkbug patrol. We make rounds a couple of times per day, inside and out, disposing of any stinkbugs we see. The weather is getting much cooler here and we’ve noticed that the bugs are far less active. It looks as though we’ll be able to clear our bus of stinky stowaways before migrating back to Florida.




Faucet Frustration

After our successful visits to Entegra and Spartan Motors for our warranty and service work, we have been enjoying a time of defect-free camping! At least, until a few weeks ago.

Our original kitchen faucet was lovely, but had a screw-on handle that began corroding within a few months, causing it to detach and fall out. At our 2 year warranty visit, Entegra replaced the faucet with another that was, frankly, sort of cheap looking. It didn’t appear to be the same quality as the original but it was what they had, so we went with it. It worked, which was all that really mattered.

After a pleasant morning at DuPont state forest, we returned to the bus to find water dripping from the bottom of the kitchen slide. That was NOT normal! We immediately searched for the source of the water leak, only to find that the 3 month old faucet had sprung a leak! The cheap plastic attachment that connected the pull-down sprayer to the faucet unit had failed and was leaking profusely under the sink. We quickly shut off the water flow, mopped up the leaked water, and began assessing our options.

Now for a quick primer on motorhome plumbing. Individual sinks don’t come equipped with shut off valves – the only control point is the main water valve into the bus. So if the kitchen faucet is out of commission, there is no water at all. No bathroom sink. No toilet flushing. No refrigerator cold water-through-the door. Nada.

A call to Entegra revealed that, although they could ship us out a free replacement faucet, it would take days. We had experience replacing faucets from our stick-and-brick home days, and could surely handle this on our own. So, off we went to a nearby Home Depot to shop for a suitable replacement. We purchased a Delta faucet of similar style and dimensions, and bore it triumphantly home to install. A faucet is a faucet, right?

Not exactly.

Our RV plumbing is equipped with screw-in fittings, while residential faucets come with pressure-style fittings. We hadn’t even opened the new faucet box before we realized this. I guess we should have looked at that first …. but never mind. We noted a Camping World not too far away, perhaps they would have a proper RV faucet? Off to Camping World only to find … no joy. They had a few (cheapo) faucets in stock, but nothing in the style we needed.  By now, it was getting to be late evening. Back to Home Depot to return the faucet we had purchased earlier and then buy plugs to temporarily cap off the kitchen sink water lines. Installed, the plugs allowed us to re-pressurize the rest of the bus and at least have water overnight while we evaluated our options.

We commenced researching and identified a suitable adaptor that would allow us to install the residential faucet. Jeff was concerned about leaks springing from fittings not designed for RV application, but further research indicated other motorhome owners had used the adaptor successfully. We were in business!

The next morning we headed back to Home Depot to repurchase the Delta faucet that I had previously selected and the aforementioned adaptors. We finally opened the faucet box only to discover that Delta, in its infinite wisdom, had “improved” their units by attaching non-flexible plastic supply lines in place of flexible metal-clad lines. Since we needed those supply lines to bend like a pretzel, this wasn’t going to work. GAAAAH!

stainless-steel-kohler-pull-down-faucets-k-r18594-sd-vs-64_1000Back to Home Depot. By now, the employees knew our names and our life story. We exchanged the Delta faucet for a comparable Kohler faucet. We opened the box on the spot to verify fittings and supply hoses. All good!  Back at the bus, the actual installation went smoothly. We now have a beautiful, and functional, high-quality kitchen faucet that should last as long as we own our bus. Entegra even sent us a reimbursement check.

Life is good. But we kept those water line plugs …. just in case ……