How to Get Rid of Ants in a Car

Last Updated on September 17, 2021 by Grow with Bovees

You could totally be anticipating this because you’ve been a slob or it could happen by accident. Either way, ants in your car are as bad as ants in your pants. So, let’s figure out why it happens and what you should do about it, shall we?

Why You Should Worry About Ants In Your Car

First of all, these tiny little creatures can wreak quite the havoc. And it’s not something to neglect. Not all ants bite but some of them, like fire ants and carpenter ants, sting like nothing you’ve ever felt before.

It is said that they bite when they feel threatened which is not surprising since that’s the case with pretty much all animals. Sometimes, they’re just trying to get to the food crumbs on your body. Either way, letting ants fester around is not a good idea because some of them can give you allergic reactions too. Imagine something like that happening while you’re on the road!

But it’s not just about your body. Ants are capable of biting into the electrical circuits of the car. Did you know they can destroy computer equipment too? Yeah, nothing is safe. So, even if there’s a harmless species in the car, you don’t want to ignore them.

Why it Happens: Two Possible Explanations

worker ants will be looking for food sources such as crumbs

Ant infestations in cars are actually not that uncommon. And here’s why they enter the vehicle in the first place.

A lot of these infestations are a total accident. They might just be looking for a source of heat or food in the vehicle. If they find no food, consider yourself really lucky. This is likely if your car is close to an anthill or in an area with lots of wood. If it is heat they seek, you might want to look for some permanent solutions.

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The alternative is a lot more alarming because it means there are food crumbs in your car. If you eat a bread roll in the car, or maybe a banana or citrus fruit, it is possible that some small scraps of these foods are accidentally left in the vehicle. If that is the case, then this is a DEFCON situation (we’ll leave it to you to decide the level depending on the scale of the infestation) and you need to act right away.

If they find food, ants immediately try to establish a home in your car. Once that happens, it is quite the task to get rid of them. So, get started right away.

What to Do: A Step-by-Step Guide

Don’t worry. There are quite a few things you can do to solve the problem.

Figure out the Types of Ants In Your Car

This might sound a bit ridiculous but it’s actually helpful. Once you know what kind of ants you’re dealing with, you can figure out the course of treatment. Not everything works on every type of ant. You want to know whether you’re dealing with fire ants, sugar ants, crazy ants or carpenter ants in the car. Many species are very common in the US and are always looking for food. So, identify them and make a plan of action.

Identify the Food Source

If there are ants in your car because there is food in there, well, you know where to start. Get rid of all the food and make sure you go through all the internal parts of the car with a hawk eye. You can absolutely not be nonchalant about it.

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Check the floor and the seats for the obvious culprits—empty bottles, candy wrappers and take-out food containers. Remove all of them and air your vehicle to make sure there is no lingering scent that might attract more pests. Make a mental note to clean the car every time you eat in there.

Ant Baits Can Fix An Ant Problem

Using ant baits which are designed to attract ants can be one way to get rid of ants in car cavities. You can fix the ant bait stations out of sight in the hard-to-reach places in the interior of your car and the ants will be attracted to the bait which will then kill them. You can also try any home made natural remedies to get rid of ants that you may be aware of.

Clean the Car Thoroughly Inside and Out

After you get rid of the obvious food containers, remove the seat covers and carpets of the car. Wash them and clean the console and cup holders and under the floor mats in the car. Take a go at the glove compartment and clean the insides even if there were no traces of food there. An ant infestation is an invitation for a deep clean.

Fix the car vacuum cleaner with the right nozzles and run it all over the interior of the car. If the broom missed anything, the vacuum will get it. Make sure you do the same with the trunk and the wheel wells of the car too. You will have to put in the most effort in removing the smallest particles in every nook and cranny of the car.

Wash the Tires Too

You might think this is not necessary but it is. Make sure you give the tires a good cleaning with water. The bottom of the tires should not be left out either. That is to help get rid of the scent that ants like to leave so that they can find their trail back to the source.

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Cleaning tires is important because that is typically how ants enter the vehicle. Once the cleaning is done, spray a pesticide everywhere except the brake pads. This should do most of the damage control.

Re-examine Your Parking Spot

And finally, here’s the kicker. This exercise, while painful (or satisfying depending on how obsessive you are about cleaning), does not guarantee that the ants won’t return. Unfortunately, all the vacuuming, washing and spraying of pesticides takes care of only one part of the problem—getting rid of the existing infestation. This is especially the case if there was an infestation without any food in the car.

You might want to consider the area in which you parked your car. Sometimes, it just so happens that if you’re in an area with a lot of anthills, the little pests find their way into a parked vehicle. This is like building a home in the forest. You’ve got to expect some encounters with the nearby wildlife. Poke around the nearby trees and shrubbery to check if that’s a likelihood. See if there is an ant colony hiding in the woods.

In Conclusion

And finally, if there was an infestation even though there was no food, they possibly hid in the car for warmth. In that case, you might want to consider solutions like spraying your car with ant killers. And ideally, you must do this as often as you can so that the risk of an infestation is entirely eliminated.