6 Effective Treatments to Get Bed Bugs Out of Your Car

Bed Bugs in Your Car?

If you think bed bugs are only a problem at home, think again. These resilient pests have been known to infest movie theaters, hotel rooms, schools, and even office buildings. They can survive literally everywhere, but one place few people think to look for these pests is one of their most personal spaces: the car.

Bed bugs travel from one location to the next by attaching themselves to their host’s clothing. If your home or office is infested and you often travel by car, these pests may find their way in your vehicle and quickly breed an infestation.

The good news is there are a number of safe and effective treatments to get bed bugs out of your car. The following tips can help keep your car bedbug-free, as well as help prevent infestations from developing.

This is what a bed bug looks like.
This is what a bed bug looks like.

Start with Inspection

The first step to ensuring a bed bug-free car is to confirm you have an infestation in the first place. Treatments can be expensive and time-consuming, so it is important to be absolutely certain you have bed bugs before moving forward.

Begin by thoroughly cleaning the interior of your car and removing excess clutter where bed bugs may be hiding. Once you get that out of the way, perform a thorough visual inspection of your car. Beyond looking for the bugs themselves, keep an eye out for the telltale signs they leave behind, including blood stains and small, dark spots of fecal matter. It may also be beneficial to use tape to increase the accuracy of detection.

How to Use Tape to Detect Bed Bugs

Clean Your Car Regularly

Bed bugs love clutter, as it gives them the ability to go undetected. By cleaning your car regularly, you will be able to detect these sneaky pests and prevent an infestation from occurring. Aside from removing trash that builds up, avoid storing your clothes in your car for a twofold aim: to prevent bed bugs from attaching themselves to these items and to stop them from hitching a free ride into your home. While cleaning, be sure to thoroughly vacuum every crack and crevice in your car to help remove any lingering bed bugs that remain.

One bed bug can lay from 200 to 250 eggs in her lifetime. They prefer to lay their eggs in protected cracks and crevices and those eggs will hatch in about 6 to 10 days. If left unchecked, under normal circumstances, bed bugs will live for about 10 to 11 months. There may be three or more generations of bed bugs born each year. Because bed bugs of all ages may be found in an infestation, you must keep cleaning your car regularly to inhibit their reproduction.

Vacuum your car to remove bed bugs: pay special attention to the cracks and crevices.
Vacuum your car to remove bed bugs: pay special attention to the cracks and crevices.

Wash Seat Covers and Floor Mats

In addition to maintaining a clean car, don’t forget to wash your seat covers and floor mats on a regular basis. Laundering these items can help kill any lingering pests that may be hiding in your car, and will give you another opportunity to inspect for their presence. Once washed, dry the items at high heat to kill any bed bugs that may have survived, and examine the items again before placing them back in your car.

Steam the Interior to Exterminate Bed Bugs

Heat treatment is one of the safest and most effective ways to treat bed bugs. Although you may not have access to the same equipment as the professionals use, you can use a steam cleaner to garner the same pest-killing benefits. Be sure to use a machine that can emit more than 200 degrees of high-pressure steam in order to effectively kill the bed bugs in your car. You may also consider using a fabric attachment with a cloth cover to better control the application of this steam.

Use diatomaceous earth as bed bug abatement.
Use diatomaceous earth as bed bug abatement.

Use Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Bed Bugs

Diatomaceous earth is an off-white, powdery mineral made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms. This substance has been shown to be very effective at killing a variety of insects, including bed bugs, and is safe enough to use around humans and pets without causing any harm.

You can usually find diatomaceous earth at your local hardware store or online. Sprinkle it throughout your car and let it sit for a few days for the best results. After three days, simply vacuum up the dust to remove it from your car. Keep in mind that multiple treatments may be necessary for diatomaceous earth to be effective.

Take Your Car to a Fumigator

Fumigation has long been an effective treatment for pests in homes, but did you know it can also be performed on cars with bed bug infestations? Much like a home, vehicles are sealed and covered with a tarp for the fumigation treatment, and it usually only takes one treatment to effectively remove all pests from your car. Better yet, you can place infested belongings such as clothes or bedding in the car to be treated, as well.

Although each of these methods is effective in itself at treating and preventing bed bugs, the highest rate of success will be achieved by combining two or more methods. If bed bugs continue to be a problem in your car after the aforementioned remedies have been performed, contacting a pest control professional could be the solution you need. Professionals will be able to safely apply heat or chemical treatments without placing you, your family, or your car in danger. Remember that bed bugs are resilient, and keeping a pest-free car takes more than one single treatment, so continued preventive measures must be taken to get rid of them once and for all.

Do you have bed bugs in your car?

  • I don't know. I'm going to go check now!
  • Yes, I have found evidence of bed bugs. Help!
  • No, but I'm afraid of contamination so I keep checking.
  • I found something, but I'm not sure if they're bed bugs or not.
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Comments 6 comments

msdielise profile image

msdielise 2 years ago

Wow, thanks for sharing. Although I don't have a car, I'll try to remember all your tips and apply them once I get the car! :D

ana 2 years ago

i would not want my car infested with bed bugs

tim 2 years ago

What about putting dry ice in your car to rid it of bedbugs

anony 23 months ago

most climates will kill bed bugs if parked outside, extreme heat and cold

malik 5 months ago

If i use spray in my car to get rid of bedbugs. Is good are not

anonymouse 3 weeks ago

Don't use any sprays, pesticides, bug bombs in your car, they can persist and hurt your health in the long run. I haven't read of any 100% effective do it yourself remedies because these critters can hide real deep.

Heat and cold are also not effective according to many - even in hot weather, parts of the car don't get hot enough and bugs will go there, and for this reason heat may cause bugs to hide even deeper. Same with cold - takes a long time and bugs will find some insulated areas that won't get cold enough.

I'm going to get my car fumigated probably by a termite control company - professional sealed/tented Vikane fumigation seems to be the only, or most, reliable method.

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