How to Find and Get Rid of Bugs in Your Car

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Bugs in cars are a growing problem for car owners and range from live, creepy crawlies on the car seat to dead ones splattered on the windshield glass. Insects become a problem in cars if an automobile isn't clean, there's leftover food or drinks in the car, and the car is warm, humid, or well-lit. If you want to learn about bugs in car and how to deal with them, here's all of the information you need to know!

Factors that Contribute to Bugs in Cars

There are a bunch of different reasons why you may have bugs in car. Your car's moving around which is why you might pick up bugs along the way especially if your doors or windows are open. Also, bugs thrive in dust, debris, and clutter which is why your dirty car is the perfect place for them to live. At night, your bright lights can attract bugs and they might stay a while if you've got food scraps, crumbs, or spilled drinks in your car. Here's why you may have bugs in car:

  • A dirty car: a poorly maintained car, inside and out, is the optimal breeding ground for different pests (e.g., the bed bug, cockroach, beetle, mosquito, fly, caterpillar, terminate, spider, etc.) It's good practice to have a lint remover, squeegee, cleaning cloth, scrubber, and other cleaning products in the glove compartment or trunk.
  • Food and other organic sources: if you've got boxes of leftovers, crumbs, spills, garbage, and organic debris in the vehicle, bugs in car have a reliable food source.
  • Neglected vehicle: cars left out in the sun and unattended mean that there's dust, debris, and a warm, humid environment for insects to breed in.
  • You travel a lot: Whether you're traveling a long distance or driving home from the car wash, some bugs might have hitched a ride on the mirror, or grille, or flown into the car through the window when you were speeding down the highway. Some bugs could have also gotten into your car if they're crawling on your body or are stuck to your clothing.
  • Bright lights: some insects may find their way into your car because of your headlights or interior lights.
  • Open windows and doors: open car doors and windows are entryways and bugs may choose to stay if other conditions are met and they can live in your car.

bugs at the window of the car

How Pests in Cars Spread Diseases

While not all pests thrive in cars, a lot of them can which makes your car unhygienic and a health hazard. The following pests can spread diseases by living in your car after they've found their way inside:

  • Bed bugs are attracted to warm, dark places which is why you can find them inside your car.
  • Red fire ants infest cars and spread really quickly. These ants not only have a stinging bite but can compromise the car's electrical system.
  • Rodents like mats or rice can contaminate your car and transmit diseases. They can damage your car by chewing through wiring or hoses and spread diseases through their urine and feces.
  • Silverfish are insects that eat holes in clothes but can find their way from your home into your car.

Other pests like silverfish, cockroaches, and silverfish can also damage your car and compromise your health which is why learning about bugs in car is so important.

How to Identify Bugs in a Vehicle

While it can be a challenge looking for tiny bugs in car, you can keep an eye out for these pests. We recommend:

  • Regularly checking on the interior and exterior of your vehicle if you've learned how to remove old bug stains from a car and look for any damage. Inspect the car and take note of any chewed wiring or holes in the upholstery. You can either learn how to clean upholstery, how to repair or replace it as needed.
  • Keep an eye out for live bugs, droppings, shed skin, or dead bugs.
  • Check for water damage. If there are leaks, water stains, mold, or mildew, this may mean there's a pest infestation too.
  • Watch bug behavior and let them out of the car or observe where they go. You may just find the source of the infestation.

Of course, you can consult an expert if you're not sure what bug you're dealing with or where they're coming from in your car.

Common Physical Characteristics

Most bugs in car can be easily identified by their physical characteristics. For instance, stink bugs are shield-shaped insects that are green or brown while ladybugs are usually red and have black markings. Look at the bug's shape, size, color, markings, legs, antennae, and stingers. Also, make sure to observe if they have specific odors or bodily secretions.

Impact of Bugs on Car Maintenance

Different bugs can compromise your vehicle and damage different parts if they're not dealt with immediately. Aside from cleanliness, bugs can be a problem if they damage electrical systems, the floor, seats, and other interior surfaces of the car. Some pests also secrete unpleasant odors when they are squashed, leave dropping and shed skin around the car, damage the car paint, scratch, or chip the exterior, and even cause water damage. Also, bugs can compromise the ventilation and air conditioning systems of cars. Pests can infiltrate systems through the window, door, tiny gaps, or vents and obstruct or damage the air conditioning or cause bad smells to circulate in the car if they die.

In general, bugs can harm a car's exterior, interior, and mechanical parts which is why you need to learn how to get rid of bugs in car and prevent an infestation from happening again.

Car Bug Control and Prevention

The best way to control bug infestations includes using insecticides, traps, vacuums, temperature treatments (high-heat or cold treatments), DIY repellents (e.g., diatomaceous earth or an essential oil spray), or consulting professional pest management services. On the other hand, you can prevent car bug infestations by:

  • Regularly cleaning the interior and exterior of the car. Vacuum the car seats, floor, mat, and carpet, and clean up potential food or drink sources as soon as possible. Make sure that the exterior is clean too! Learn how to remove water stains from the car window, wash your car, and wipe away any dust, debris, or dead bugs.
  • Park your car in a secure area. Choose a covered parking lot or garage as often as you can.
  • Choose a car exterior repellent and apply it as needed. You can purchase one in a spray bottle so that it is easier to apply.
  • Seal any holes and cracks in or on your car as soon as you see them.
  • Keep an eye out for leaks and water damage.

By keeping these tips and tricks in mind, you can reduce the likelihood of a vehicle infestation and know what to do if you have one.

bugs inside the car

Bottom Line: Car Bugs

In general, insects in or on your car can be annoying and unhygienic but this problem can be solved by keeping your car clean, getting rid of food and drink sources, parking your car in a secure place, fixing water damage and leaks, as well as applying an exterior repellent product when needed. Keep an eye out for any bugs on your clothes or body to make sure that you're not physically bringing them into your vehicle.

Before getting rid of bugs in the car using a natural repellant like diatomaceous earth or a chemical solution in a spray bottle, you need to know what kind of bug you're dealing with and where the pest is thriving. Read product descriptions and instructions carefully so that you can get rid of the pests effectively. Also, wear the necessary protective gear goggles, a mask, and gloves as you get rid of pests in the car. If the infestation is too much for you to handle, it's only human to ask for help. Reach out to a professional pest control provider immediately.

Bugs in Car FAQs

What contributes to the increase in car bugs?

Bugs can make a home in your car if there is enough heat, the car is poorly maintained and is in dire need of a cleaning, there are bright, attractive lights, you travel often and pick up bugs along the way, or the windows and doors were simply left open and insects found their way inside.

How can I keep my car from getting infested with bugs?

To keep your vehicle from getting infested and invaded by bugs, keep your car clean inside and out. We also recommend parking in closed or secure spaces, choosing a car exterior repellent product, addressing leaks and water damage, and removing potential food sources from your vehicle.

Are bugs in cars harmful to your health in any way?

Yes, bugs in car can be a health hazard. There are different types of bugs that can carry various diseases with them. Some bugs can cause allergies to human skin and others can cause illnesses that get into your blood. If you have been bitten or have come into contact with feces, shed skin, or a dead pest, call a pest control expert or consult a healthcare provider immediately.

What effect does an infestation of bugs have on a car's systems and performance?

Bugs that are flying or crawling around your car can be a nuisance while dead ones splattered on the windshield are also a hassle to deal with and clean. If you're dealing with a serious infestation, some pests can compromise the hoses, electrical systems, and other parts of an automobile. There are even bugs that can cause issues to occur with the air conditioning system and affect the air quality and ventilation inside your car.

When am I most likely to find bug species in the car?

While some bugs can survive in the winter, you are most likely to find pests crawling or flying around during the spring or summer months. Bugs are also most likely to make their way into your vehicle after the sun sets when your lights are turned on along the highway.

Abigail Clemente

Abigail is an experienced content creator who has worked with several big names in the home decor and interior design industry. She comes to our team with almost 6 years of experience of working as a full time content writer.

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