Bed Bug Bites: Can You Get Them in Your Car or Just in Bed?
Bed bugs can be an extremely irritating pest to have in your life. While most people assume that they tend to only get into their beds at home, or that they live in motels and hotels, that isn’t always the case. These nasty creatures can live in a variety of other places where they will cause you serious problems.
Dealing with these bugs in your car can be a nuisance, but there are some methods that actually work. Use this guide to learn more about ridding your car of nasty bugs quickly so you don’t end up with an infestation as they breed. Once that starts to happen, you could face a much bigger challenge when it comes to banishing them from your vehicle for good.
Table of Contents
Can I Get Bed Bugs in My Car?
When most people think of the pesky crawling creatures that have infested whole neighborhoods and long been the scourge motels and hotels, they think of mattresses and bedding as the place they hide. While these bugs do commonly reside in your mattress, there are other places they can live as well.
The fact is that you can get an infestation in your car, especially if you’re traveling with luggage or you have bed bugs in your home. It’s easy to take them from a hotel or motel into your vehicle as well, leaving them there when you exit the car at your destination.
The good news is that you don’t have to live with these annoying bugs biting you every time you get behind the wheel. You don’t have to transport them from your car to the inside of your home either.
You just need to know the right way to get rid of them the first time. Luckily there are a few effective options that can work.
I Have Bed Bugs in My Car. Now What?
Most people want to know how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress or how to get bed bugs out of carpet since those are the most common places that people notice them. However, when bed bugs live in your car it can be incredibly irritating for you.
Worst of all, the bugs that are in your car can get in your clothes, bags or luggage and migrate into your home. Once they are inside, you’ll have a much harder job learning how to get rid of bed bugs in furniture.
If you’re pretty sure you have bed bugs in your car there are a few things you should do:
- Inspect your car thoroughly. You should be able to locate bed bugs with a flashlight, particularly in upholstery or carpeted floor mats. Make sure you check the corners of your car and the center console, as these are common hiding areas. A high intensity LED flashlight can be helpful for this task.
- Remove all trash, debris and unnecessary items from your vehicle. Anything that doesn’t belong in your car should be removed to make cleaning easier.
- Clean your car thoroughly inside and out. You likely won’t get rid of these nasty pests with a basic cleaning, but it is a good start to the process. You can also reduce the likelihood that these bugs will want to remain in your car by using scented cleaning products. Tea tree oil, lavender, lemon and eucalyptus are all scents that can repel them.
- Make sure you aren’t tracking bugs into your home through your clothes and belongings. If possible, remove clothing and change before you enter your home. You may also want to treat items like luggage that have been in your car for any length of time.
How to Get They Out
The idea of having these bugs in your car is enough to make some people feel a little sick to their stomach. You can get rid of them without spending days on your hands and knees scrubbing or spending a small fortune by hiring professionals though.
One of the easiest ways to get these disgusting parasites out of your car is through chemical treatment.
There are a variety of chemical options at your disposal when it comes to treating your vehicle:
- Powder products. Powders are designed to be sprinkled on upholstery and other parts of your car when you may have bugs hiding. In a relatively short period of time bugs will be attracted to the powder and die because of it.
- Traps. Traps are standard when it comes to dealing with these bugs, and in some cases they can be very effective. Traps are designed to lure bugs with a particular scent and trap them in a glue-like substance once they enter the trap. Use several traps in your vehicle if you go this route.
- Sprays. Sprays are designed to be sprayed directly onto surfaces where you may have an infestation. These can be effective since they will kill bugs on contact. The problem is that they don’t work if you don’t spray the bugs directly as the half-life of these products is very short.
Chemical treatments can be effective, but they are potentially hazardous to children and pets. If you regularly have children and pets in your vehicle, use chemical treatment as a last resort. Other methods for getting rid of bugs in your car can be effective as well, especially if you catch the problem early.
Body heat is something that bed bugs are attracted to, but too much heat can quickly kill them. For many people, especially in the summer months, heat treatment is an ideal option when they don’t want to use chemicals, or when used in combination with other methods.
- Remove floor mats, seat covers and anything else that can be taken out of your car from inside the vehicle. Place these objects in a black plastic trash bag, ideally a thick one designed for garden waste or construction materials.
- Seal the bag and place it in the hot sun. You want to look for a location that gets full, direct sunlight. Check the bag regularly to make sure the sun hasn’t shifted during treatment.
- Allow the bag to stay in the sun for at least two to three hours. Starting this process in the morning and leaving the floor mats, seat covers and other items in the sun all day is best whenever possible.
Another option for heat treatment is to use specialty products like the Zapp Bug Oven. This product is designed to hold items like sheets, clothing or car materials like floor mats and heat them to a temperature of 120-degrees in a sealed container. This guarantees that bugs will be eradicated from any item inside the bag.
Using a regular vacuum cleaner to remove these bugs from your car might seem like an effective option, but often it isn’t enough.
If you do use a vacuum cleaner to remove bugs from your car’s carpet and upholstery, make sure you follow these tips:
- Take all of your car’s floor mats and removable items out of the vehicle before you begin. You’ll want to shampoo these with warm water and an appropriate cleaner for your vehicle. You can also have this done through professional detailing services if you prefer.
- Use a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) vacuum to get into the corners, cracks and crevices of your vehicle. Using a high pressure air hose to blow debris out of cracks and tough to reach spots can also help you get all of the bugs the first time.
- Discard any removable filter or properly clean it before storing your vacuum or returning it if it’s a rental. You don’t want to transmit bugs from one area to another, especially if you own the vacuum and are keeping it in your garage!
- Have your car’s interior steam cleaned professionally. This is something you can do on your own if you have the tools and the know-how, but hiring pros to do a thorough job is usually a better choice. After all the work of cleaning your floor mats and vacuuming for bugs, you don’t want to leave any remaining in your car.
What is an Easy Way
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for getting these bugs out of your vehicle once and for all. In many cases, the best solution is a combination of deep cleaning, vacuuming, heat treatment and chemical products.
By using multiple methods together, you create an effective solution that leaves almost no chance for bed bugs to thrive in an environment that is so problematic for them.
After you have completed all of the different car treatment options, make sure you use traps once in a while to check for bugs in your car. Traps that are designed to lure the bugs to them are best. By using these, you’ll know if you have completely eradicated the problem or if more treatment is necessary.
Having bed bugs in your car can be a serious nuisance, and getting rid of them can seem nearly impossible with all of the places they have to hide in the average vehicle. The truth is that removing these bugs from your vehicle doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a special set of skills. You just need to go about it the right way as early as possible.
Use the tips above to get the nasty creatures out of your car and your life for good. The faster you act, the easier the job will be and the less likely you’ll be to have to repeat it!
You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.