Given your car’s interior environment (warm, dark, and in some places, humid), your car can be a host to many different types of bugs.
But from time to time, you come across tiny black bugs that are oval-shaped and with a shiny hard shell crawling on your car’s foot mat and seats.
You ask yourself – “What are these little black bugs in my car?” and “where do they come from?”
This guide will reveal answers to these questions.
Plus, you’ll also find out why bugs get inside the car. And how to get rid of these little black bugs in a car, naturally.
Let’s dive in.
Little Black Bugs In A Car – Carpet Beetles
The most common tiny black bugs that you see in your car are the carpet beetles.
Carpet beetles are garden pests that sneak inside your home and cars. Outdoors, carpet beetles will feed on the pollen, flower petals, and dead insects.
They’re oval shaped. Carpet beetles can be black or dark brown. However, there are carpet beetles with white spots which are also known as varied carpet beetles.
But why do carpet beetles get inside the car?
There are two main reasons for it.
First, which is the most important reason, they enter human dwellings to lay eggs.
There are some things inside your home and, at times, in cars that draw these bugs inside.
And that is the material made from animal products.
Carpet beetles lay eggs on stuff made from animal products.
So, things made from fur, silk, wool, leather, and feathers are their top targets to lay eggs.
It’s because, after the eggs hatch, the carpet beetle larvae from the eggs feed on these materials and natural fibers.
And if your car upholstery is made of leather, then that draws them to your car.
The second reason, which is a mix of different reasons, is that when the outdoors becomes too hot or too cold, they look for a more temperate place to live.
Also, parking the car at a place with carpet beetles can cause carpet beetles in a car.
These pests get inside your car through open windows or the tiny gaps between the doors and the car’s floor.
Carpet beetles can easily sustain themselves inside your car and can even lay eggs.
Later in the post, you’ll find out what keeps them alive inside a car, but for now, let’s find out if they can cause any damage in your car.
Can Carpet Beetles Damage Your Car?
Adult carpet beetles don’t cause any damage inside your car and home. The University of Minnesota has confirmed it too.
But there’s a catch.
The larvae of carpet beetles do.
The larvae of carpet beetles can cause damage to your car’s floor mat, seat covers, fabric, and if there’s leather in your car, they’ll damage it too.
And these larvae can attract wasps to your car because the wasps eat hunt and eat the larvae and adult beetles too.
The damage that these larvae cause is visible in the form of tiny holes in the matter.
These holes are the signs that the larvae have chewed on the surface.
And believe it or not, there can be many larvae inside your car that can cause some expensive damage inside your car.
When you inspect carpet beetle infestation in your car, you’ll notice the larvae and the carpet beetles damage in the form of chewed holes on car’s interiors like car seats and floor mats.
So, what do the larvae of these carpet beetles look like?
The larvae of carpet beetles look like tiny grub-like worms that are blackish brown.
The most noticeable feature of the larvae is that they’ve got hairy bristles on their bodies.
These larvae will feed on the waste inside your car.
Then they’ll turn into a cocoon from which they’ll break out as adult carpet beetle.
So, to save your car’s expensive interior from any damage, you must get rid of these tiny black bugs in your car and their larvae too.
The following section covers it all.
Tiny Car Bugs That Are Not Carpet Beetles
Bugs infest cars if the conditions inside cars provide them food sources and hiding places.
Ants, roaches, fleas, and even bed bugs can be inside your car.
And when your car is full of bugs, spiders will follow suit because spiders hunt and eat them.
Most of the time, bugs in the car are a spillover from the bugs in your garage.
For example, roaches in the garage will surely get inside your car if your car has all the ingredients for them.
German roaches are one of the most common roaches that infest cars and garages. These roaches can survive in dry places like cars and electrical appliances.
When the infestation in your garage skyrockets, bugs will look for an alternative place to hide.
That’s the time when they can sneak inside cars.
Little flies, like fruit flies, horse flies, fungus gnats, and house flies, can also get inside your car.
Fly infestation is common in dirty cars. These flies can also lay eggs in the gaps of car seats and floor mats.
And when the eggs hatch, maggots will appear in your car.
Your car’s trunk can be a place to find pantry beetles like flour beetles, weevils, and drugstore beetles.
These beetles will appear as little brown bugs crawling inside the car trunk.
Pantry beetles can be present inside the food packets you buy from grocery stores.
These beetles can break out of the food packets and take refuge inside the car.
How To Get Rid Of Carpet Beetles In Your Car?
Cleaning your car and using natural products and sprays are the go-to ways to eliminate carpet beetles and all other car bugs.
Here’s what you’ll need to get rid of carpet beetles in the car –
- Vacuum cleaner
- Steam cleaner
- Essential oils
- Insecticide sprays
- Diatomaceous earth
Let’s find out the seven steps to eliminate little black bugs in your car.
Remove The Car Interior Furnishings
Before eliminating bugs in the car, it’s important to remove all the fabric like seat covers and floor mats.
Removing them from your car will help you to treat them separately.
It’ll also expose the cracks and gaps where the carpet beetle larvae and other car bugs are hiding.
So, take off the car’s interior furnishings and keep them separately. You’ll get back to them in the next steps.
Use A Steam Cleaner To Clean The Car Interiors
Let’s face it. At times, you’re guilty of eating in your car on the go.
So, it’s obvious that food crumbs and beverage stains will be on your car seats and floor mats.
These food stains and crumbs emit a smell that attracts bugs like carpet beetles, ants, flies, and roaches.
And when these bugs are in your car, they attract their predators like wasps and spiders.
To remove the garbage and crumbs in your car, take a steam cleaner and give your car a thorough cleaning.
Do not skip over the tight gaps and hard to reach places underneath car seats, dashboards, and consoles.
Also, (this is important) thoroughly clean the car trunk.
You keep many things in your car trunk, including grocery bags. Foods spill over in your car trunk, attracting bugs like roaches and ants to your car.
Steam cleaners produce heat. The heat from the steam cleaner will break down tough beverage stains in the car.
Another important benefit of using a steam cleaner is that the heat will kill any bugs, including adult carpet beetles, carpet beetle eggs, and carpet beetle larvae.
Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth In The Car To Kill The Carpet Beetles
After steam cleaning the car, many bugs that might have encountered heat would have been dead.
But many bugs will escape and hide in the gaps and corners inside the car.
So, to kill them, scatter diatomaceous earth inside the car.
Use generous amounts of diatomaceous earth inside the gaps of the car windows, glove compartment, car seats, consoles, surface underneath the dashboard, and inside the car trunk.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural bug killer that breaks through the outer layer of the bugs’ bodies and absorbs the fats and bodily fluids that keep the bugs alive.
It’s a desiccant that dehydrates the bugs from the inside, which results in their death.
So, you’ll need to wait 30 minutes after scattering diatomaceous earth to let it do its work.
You can also use boric acid inside cars. It works in the same way as the diatomaceous earth works.
Vacuum Clean The Car To Remove Dead Bugs And Diatomaceous Earth
Take your vacuum cleaner and give your car a thorough cleaning. Let the vacuum cleaner suck up all the diatomaceous earth from every nook and corner of your car.
Cleaning the car of diatomaceous earth will also remove the bugs that diatomaceous earth killed.
Ensure you clean the car trunk and other storage sections, like the glove compartment inside the car.
Clean The Car’s Interior Fabrics Like Floor Mats
Remember you took off the car fabrics like seat covers and floor mats from your car in the first step?
Now it’s time to clean them.
Give them a good wash with hot soapy water. You clean them with a leather cleaner if they’re made of leather.
Some car owners like to give their cars’ interior fabrics for dry cleaning, especially when they contain wool or fur.
Cleaning them is vital because it’ll remove the food stains, crumbs, dirt, and any bugs or carpet beetles hiding in them.
Use An Insecticide Spray Inside The Car
It’s always best to use a bug spray in your car before you restock your car with the interiors that you’ve removed.
Spraying the insecticide in the corners, gaps, and places near the pedals and storage trunks will ensure that no bugs remain inside the car.
Sprays like Raid kill carpet beetles and many other bugs in your car.
An IGR grade insecticide spray is also a better option. It kills bugs in your car and also prevents them from growing into adult.
But refrain from using bug bombs inside the car.
Bug bombs make matters worse, they’re risky and ineffective, and we don’t recommend our readers use bug bombs or foggers inside cars and homes.
Use Essential Oil Sprays Inside The Car To Keep Bugs Away
Spraying essential oils inside your car is one of the easiest ways to keep carpet beetles and car bugs away from your car.
The strong smell of essential oils, which is very pleasant to us, is bug-repellant. Bugs hate them and keep away from the places that emit those smells.
You can use peppermint oil spray, which is most widely used and most effective, on the interior side of the car’s doors, car seats, car floor, car’s upholstery, car trunk, and below the car’s dashboard.
It’ll be best to use the spray at least twice a week, especially in the spring and summer when most bugs are active.
Leave The Car Closed For At Least Seven Hours
Now that you’re through with the steps, it’s time to keep your car closed for at least seven hours.
It’ll be best to keep the car in a clean parking space so that no bugs can invade your car.
Keeping the car idle for 7-10 hours helps in letting the sprays do their work.
Wash The Car Exterior
Once you’re through with the bug riddance car, take your car for a car wash.
Bugs and pests like ants leave pheromones on the car’s exterior, attracting more of them.
You can also clean the car’s exterior with a disinfectant to remove the pheromones stains.
How To Prevent Bugs In Your Car?
Car owners inadvertently do many things that make it easy for carpet beetles and other insects to sneak inside cars.
Here are a few preventive steps that you can take to make it impossible for bugs to invade your car –
Always Keep Your Garage Clean And Bug-Free
A dirty garage attracts bugs. And when the number of bugs increases in your garage, some will sneak inside the vehicles parked there.
Spiders, ants, and centipedes do it most often. The presence of other bugs and dead insects inside the car will attract creepy crawlies to sneak through the thin gaps in the car.
Ants can also invade cars from the car engine section.
So, ensure that there’s no bug infestation in your garage and that your garage is clean.
Don’t Park Your Car Underneath Trees
Ants and stinging bugs like wasps and hornets can live in trees. And when you park your car underneath trees, these bugs can sneak inside the car through the car’s open windows.
The likelihood of carpet beetles and bugs sneaking inside your car is highest during the spring and summer.
So, avoid parking your car underneath trees, especially in these seasons.
Don’t Park Your Car Near Ant Hills
If the car tires break an ant hill and your car is near it, then ants surely will sneak inside your car.
It can get worse when fire ants get inside the car. These ants are aggressive, and they bite and sting at the same time.
Don’t Eat And Drink In Your Car
As you know by now, eating and drinking inside the car play a significant role in attracting carpet beetles, bugs, and flies inside the car.
It causes food and beverage stains on the car’s interiors. The food crumbs fall off and get stuck on the foot mats and the car seats.
All these things attract bugs.
Carpet beetles love to feed on stained fabrics. That’s why they can also appear on dirty beds and mattresses.
Never Park Your Car With The Windows Open
The warmth of the car will attract bugs. And keeping the windows open for longer durations will make it easier for bugs to invade your car.
So, always park your car closed. And it doesn’t matter what the season is.
Regularly Clean Your Car’s Interiors
A dirty car with food waste and stains is a heaven for bugs. Keeping your car clean can avert any type of bug infestation in your car.
So, vacuum cleaning your car at least once a week will go a long way to prevent carpet beetle infestation and big and small bugs inside your car.
And take your car for a wash at least once a month.
Use Smells To That Repel Bugs
Using peppermint sprays inside the car at least once a week goes a long way to making your car bug-repellant.
You can also use lavender, eucalyptus, and citrus oils in your car to keep bugs away from your car.
The little black bugs in a car are carpet beetles that sneak inside cars to lay eggs.
When their eggs hatch, the carpet beetle larvae can feed on the car’s interiors and can cause expensive damage in the form of chewed holes on the car seats, upholstery, and floor mat.
This guide also revealed that what are the other insects that can invade cars and can cause an infestation.
It has a step-by-step process to get rid of carpet beetles inside the car with the help of cleaners, desiccants, and bug sprays.
Those steps also work on removing any other type of bug infestation in cars.
We’re Mark and Jim, and we’re retired pest controllers who made homes pest-free for more than three decades. We, along with our team of experts, founded this site to give you the pest control hacks that work.