The food crumbs, beverage stains, dead insects, and moisture in your car attract ants. Ants will sneak inside your vehicle through any small gap or opening that they can find.
Ants in the car will bite and can cause severe damage to your car’s electricals by chewing on them.
Extensive cleaning of the car’s exterior and interior, taking your car to the car wash, and using ant bait stations and ant spray to get rid of ants in your car.
In this guide, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to kill ants in your car and the indispensable steps to prevent ants from coming back.
Below are the steps I followed to get rid of ants in my car quickly.
I Inspected The Car After Getting Ant Bites
There are two primary ways to find out there are ants in your car – their physical sightings and ant bites.
I found out that there were ants in my car after ants bit me on my neck and elbows while I was driving.
So, the first thing I did was inspect my car for ants.
I checked for ants in the following places and found a ton of ants in them –
- Under car seats
- Ants underneath car’s floor mats or carpets
- In the gaps in the console box
- Glove compartment
- In holes below foot paddles
- Below the hood on the car engine compartment
It was shocking to see so many ants. And, as an entomologist who studied ants for a considerable amount of time, I knew for sure that there was an ant infestation in my car.
Thorough Cleaning of the Car
I took my vacuum cleaner and thoroughly cleaned the car’s interior. It removed most of the ants and tons of waste inside my car.
But before that, I removed all the fabrics, such as seat covers and floor mats, from the car.
I meticulously cleaned all the car’s edges, tight corners, windows, and the trunk. It removed the majority of the ants in the car.
Vacuum cleaning the car’s interior, including the car’s roof, removes their food sources, such as food crumbs and dead insects inside the car.
However, I also washed the car fabrics in warm, soapy water to remove all the beverage and liquid stains.
But I know that it’s not enough. So, I used ant bait stations inside the car.
Ant Baits or Ant Bait Stations
There are many ant baits available in the market. I used Avon because I trust this brand and have had extensive experience using it to get rid of ants in my kitchen and home.
Avon ant baits come in gel form in a tube. All you’ve to do is to put a few drops of these baits in the car.
But there’s a catch.
You’ll need to be strategic on where to keep the bait. I used the ant bait drops where I saw noticed ants. But I also put a few drops on the window edges.
Ant baits lure the ants. The ants feed on them or take them back to their nests. Upon consuming the bait, the ants die.
As a result of this bait, I started to notice dead ants inside my car.
The bait doesn’t work instantly. You’ll need to leave the car for a few hours after putting placing the baits.
One drawback of using baits inside cars is that they can attract more ants. So, it’ll be best to park your car in an ant-free area to ensure that the baits don’t end up attracting ants from outside the car.
I Cleaned The Car Again
Ants will not consume all the ant baits. And leaving the dead ants will attract other ants and bugs inside the car.
Not to mention, unused ant baits pose health risks because they contain harmful chemicals.
So, I vacuumed the car again. I also cleaned the car’s interior with a citrus-based cleaner.
The citrus smell repels insects and other bugs from entering the car.
I Took The Car To Car Wash
The exterior of my car also had ants. There were honeydew stains and tiny bugs on the car’s body. Both draw ants.
When ants are in your car, it’s only a matter of time before they get inside.
So, I took my car for a thorough wash to remove all the stains and bugs on the car’s exterior.
What Attracts Ants To Cars
If there is a food source for ants in your car, your car will draw ants. Food waste, food wrappers, candy wrappers, undisposed coffee paper cups, dead insects, and empty soda cans inside the vehicle attract ants.
That’s why eating sparingly in the car and keeping the car clean is vital.
What Causes Ants In Your Car
Car owners, including myself, are guilty of making silly mistakes that cause the ant problem inside cars.
Food waste inside the car is one of the factors that causes ants. However, ants invade cars if your car is close to an ant habitat.
So, choose your parking spot carefully and do not park your car near –
- ant mounds or ant hills (these are ant nests, and there’s always an ant colony underneath an ant hill)
- Tree stumps (ants such as carpenter ants, and termites, prefer rotten tree stumps to build their nests)
- Underneath trees and near dense bushes (ants from vegetation end up in your car)
- Confined space, such as the garage, with ant infestation
- Keeping potted plants with ants inside the car
- Any furnishing, such as carpets or rugs, or produce boxes and grocery bags with ants in them
How Does Ant Infestation In Car Begin
On finding food sources or keeping the car near an ant habitat, foraging ants, also known as scout ants and worker ants, enter the car.
Ants leave behind pheromone trails, a type of scent trail, for the other ants to follow. All the ants follow the pheromone trail and get inside the car.
That’s why cleaning the car’s interior with soapy water is vital to remove the ant pheromone trails.
Ant infestations in homes and kitchens also begin when a random ant enters your home, leaving behind scent trails.
Ant Species That Get Inside Cars
Any household ant that infests homes can be in your garage. And from your garage, they can get inside the cars.
Also, ants nesting outdoors in your yard can invade cars if you park your car near the ant nests.
Carpenter ants, pharaoh ants, sugar ants, argentine ants, pavement ants, and the worst, red imported fire ants can invade your cars.
Stains of greasy foods and beverages will draw these ants to your car.
How To Keep Ants Away From Cars And Trucks
Regularly cleaning the car and using natural products that repel ants help keep the ants away from your vehicle.
Essential oils such as peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus are ant repellents. Pour two to three drops of these essential oils into a spray bottle with water and use the mixture in the car’s interior to repel ants.
You can also use white vinegar mixed with water as a spray if the acidic smell of the vinegar doesn’t bother you.
Also, ensuring that you park your car away from waste, such as leaf piles, and from areas where ants live will drastically reduce the chances of ants getting inside cars.
If there’s an ant infestation in your garage or home, get rid of ants by hiring a pest control professional.
Ants in the garage and home will spill over to your car.
The cracks on the garage door and windows become the entry points for ants. So, seal them.
Also, seal the wall voids and crevices on the garage’s floor. All these areas become the nesting sites for ants, such as pavement ants.
You can also keep sticky ant traps inside the car, especially at night, to eliminate ants that may sneak inside your clean car.
Final Thoughts On To Get Rid Of Ants In The Car
It’s a straightforward process to exterminate ants in your car. Cleaning, baiting, and exclusion measures (such as blocking the entry points and removing their food sources) eliminate and prevent ants.
However, there’s a drawback.
It might take two to three treatments to thoroughly purge ants off your car, especially when there’s an ant problem in your parking space, such as the garage, or in your house.
You might need to address the ant issue in your home by hiring a professional pest control expert.
Not only ants from your home can get inside your car, but also blood-sucking pests such as bed bugs.
Therefore, monitoring your car for any ant activity and repeating the steps in the post are vital to keep ants away from your car.