How To Get Rid of Ants Inside Your Car (2021 Edition)

Not only are ants an itchy nuisance that makes a person's skin crawl, but they can also disrupt technology, including vital electrical systems. That's one of the primary reasons why you should not have them in your car. 

But is it even possible to have an ant infestation in your vehicle? And if so, how do you get rid of it in such a confined space? 

In this informative guide, we'll show you:

  • How to Quickly and Safely Remove Ants From Your Vehicle 
  • How To Prevent It From Happening Again
  • The Types of Ants That Invade Vehicles
  • Possible Damage To Look For Throughout Your Car or Truck

If trying to exterminate ants on your own becomes too challenging, we recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive. These exterminators have some of the best-trained professionals that can use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods. 

For Terminix quotes, you can reach them at 866-577-5051 or with this form.

For quotes from Orkin, call 866-701-4556, or fill out this form.

For a free quote from Aptive, call 855-521-7075 or visit the company's website.
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How to Get Rid of Ants Inside Your Car

It's a straightforward process to eliminate ants from your vehicle if you know how to do it. Here, we present a step-by-step guide for safely removing ants from your car or truck. 

Step 1. Inspection

The first place to check when you discover ants in your vehicle is the location of your parking spot. Have you parked directly over an ant hill? If so, move your vehicle away from it immediately. 

It's highly unlikely that an ant colony will form inside your car. Instead, the ants underneath it are looking for food and water. If your vehicle happens to have these two essential items, workers in the nest below will find them. 

Next, look around the inside of your car. Be sure to check these areas for foraging ants:

  • Seat covers
  • Glove compartment
  • Floor mats
  • Carpeting
  • Engine compartment
  • Wheel wells

Finding ants in these areas is not necessarily a sign of infestation. Instead, it could mean that ants have left pheromone trails to your vehicle for some reason. 

Step 2. Remove Sources of Food and Water

Immediately remove any food items, including groceries or cases of bottled water. After that, throw out any fast food packaging, soda cans, or other trash items. Also, be sure to clean food crumbs and candy wrappers that may have accumulated between or underneath the seats. 

It's essential to eliminate all food sources from the interior of your car. This one step alone can make the difference in the success of eliminating your ant problem. 

Step 3. Use Temperature Control To Kill Ants

Before using any type of ant sprays or chemicals in your car, try this first:

Park Your Car in the Sun 

During the summer months, your car can reach temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit in less than an hour, and this is enough to kill ants in a short period. You could start the vehicle and leave the heater running for about 10 minutes to speed things along, and this will kill any ants foraging in the engine compartment.

Step 4. Use a Vacuum Cleaner

The easiest way to eliminate ants from your car is with a vacuum cleaner you find at your local car wash. It provides plenty of power to suck up all the ants, and it has enough capacity to handle even the largest vehicle. 

Vacuum the interior like you normally would, starting with the upholstery and working toward the floor. Also, don't forget to reach as far under the seats as possible. You may not get every live ant, but this step will wipe most of them out. 

Step 5. Utilize Essential Oils To Repel Ants

Ants hate the smell of what humans find attractive. For that reason, essential oil sprays are a good DIY choice for keeping ants away from your home, workspace, and even your car. 

The best ones to use for ants are:

  • Peppermint
  • Citrus
  • Lemongrass
  • Eucalyptus
  • Rosewood

Mix two to three drops of your favorite ones in a 32-ounce spray bottle filled with water. Then, spray lightly under the seats, near the doors, and other inconspicuous areas. 

It doesn't take much, so go easy with it at first. The idea is not to regret it later by overwhelming yourself with strong fragrances. 

Bonus Step: Avoid The Following

There are several things to avoid when getting rid of ants in your car. These are the most important:

  • Using aerosol ant sprays in your car is a bad idea. Most of these ant killers contain pyrethroid insecticides that, coupled with the right synergist, can displace the oxygen in the air, making them dangerous to use in confined spaces. Also, the oils contained in these products tend to stain upholstery. 
  • Boric acid is not good to use in a vehicle due to the small space. No matter how little you apply, any residual amount you leave in the car is what you'll be breathing in for years to come. 
  • Ant baits, whether in a gel formula or contained within ant bait stations, are generally a bad idea for your car. That's because these products do a fantastic job of attracting ants. But do you really want to attract more ants to your car? Besides, most ant baits are labeled only for household use, anyway.  
  • Glue traps. Ant traps that contain a sticky glue substance are not good to use inside a car. If you accidentally turn one over, it could very well become a permanent part of the interior of your vehicle.

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How To Prevent an Ant Infestation in Your Car

In some regions of the world, ants are more prevalent than in others. However, you can take some simple steps to avoid having these biting pests enter your vehicle. 

  1. Park on paved areas only. This will reduce the chance of parking over a large ant mound. 
  2. Avoid parking directly over areas where ants are present. Sometimes parking on dirt, gravel, or grassy areas is unavoidable, especially in rural areas. In these instances, it's best to keep an eye out for ant mounds so you can avoid them. 
  3. Keep the interior of your car clean to limit food sources inside your vehicle. 
  4. Inspect the items you transport, such as house plants and produce boxes for ants or other insects.
  5. Use essential oil sprays inside your vehicle to repel ants and other bugs. 

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How and Why Ants Are Inside Your Car 

There are many reasons ants invade your vehicle. Here are the main ones:

  • Easy access. Ants, like any living creatures, take the path of least resistance to food and water sources. Because your car has several openings just big enough for them to squeeze through, it can become an easy target. 
  • Spilled food and soda. Even the smallest morsel hidden under the seat can attract ants. 
  • A warm place to live. Ants get cold too, so it's likely they are looking for a suitable nesting location inside your car. For example, carpenter ants often build satellite nests in houses and other structures, even though they prefer rotten tree stumps. 
  • They were carried in. Houseplants and boxes of produce you transport in the back seat often contain insects you don't notice until it's too late. A lot of people carry around bed bugs and cockroaches this way as well. 

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What Types of Ants Are Found in Cars? 

Any outdoor ant can invade your car. However, these are the most common examples:

  • Red imported fire ants are the most vicious species in the U.S. due to their ability to sting and create welts on the skin. Even the slightest disturbance of their nests can bring about an aggressive attack. For that reason, it’s not the best idea to park on top of a fire ant hill
  • Pavement ants are black ants that nest under all kinds of yard debris. They love greasy foods, so be sure to remove any leftover hamburgers and fast food from your car promptly. 
  • Argentine ants have a huge appetite for sweet foods. Although they are an invasive species to the U.S., their numbers are continually growing at an alarming rate. 
  • Pharaoh ants are also sometimes called sugar ants. These tiny insects wreak havoc in any indoor space, including vehicles. 

Will Ants Cause Damage to a Car? 

Ant bites are certainly no fun, but in addition to that, some species of ants create damage to the car itself. 

For example, in large numbers, the red imported fire ant can take over electrical boxes and cause short circuits. So, if you have that many in your car, it's probably time to call an exterminator. 

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A Final Word About Ants in Your Car

It's very rare to have a vehicle completely overtaken by ants to where you can't even move it. But it’s possible. So, it's best to hire a professional exterminator or pest control company in these extreme instances.

You may wish to do that anyway, especially if you are uncomfortable around any kind of crawling insects. You certainly would not be alone. After all, most people hate bugs and do not desire to manage ant infestations on their own. 

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