What is the Best Way to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Your Car?

Bed bugs are a huge nuisance anywhere they show up. The problem with these little critters is that they like to live in hard to reach places, such as in seams and crevices of upholstered seating. You may have thought that bed bugs only stay in houses around mattresses and other similar places, but they can actually appear anywhere. I want to talk about how to get rid of bed bugs in a car.

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It’s not a common thing to have bed bugs in your car, but it can happen and when it does you will want to remove them as quickly as possible before they have a large infestation! Luckily for you, there are some things you can do on your own that don’t require professional services.

How to Tell You Have a Bedbug Infestation​

Before you treat your car for bed bugs, you have to find out if you are actually dealing with bed bugs or something else. Here are the signs of an infestation:

-    Red, itchy welts

Most people react poorly to bed bug bites and develop itchy, red welts in the areas of the bite. You may find a lot of red bites similar to mosquito bites on skin that was exposed while you were driving. It’s possible that you won’t feel it when you’re bitten (although you might feel a slight pain), but you will feel the itching and discomfort shortly afterwards.

-    Small blood stains

Look for blood stains around the seats of your vehicle. This can be a sign of bed bugs, as they may spill a little of your blood as you’re bitten. Bed bugs feed on blood, and it’s a good sign that there is an infestation when you find small spots of blood around your seats or carpets.

-    Black or dark rust-colored spots

Wherever bed bugs are living, you will always find feces. These come in a few different ways, such as tiny, dark flecks or even small streaks. If you see something like this around your car when you suspect you have bed bugs, it is a good indicator that your suspicion is correct.

-    Previously-shed exoskeletons, hatched egg shells, or feces

Signs of bed bugs living in your vehicle will be there if you can find the right places. Remove all the trash and anything that is not part of your vehicle, such as carpets and seat covers if you have them. Check these removable parts first for signs of bed bug life, like their exoskeletons which have been shed, eggs, feces, and even for the bugs themselves. Inspect your entire vehicle, paying close attention to areas under the seat, in the glove box, and around the crevices of the vehicle.

Finding Bed Bugs in Your Car

If you see the signs of bed bugs in your car, but you don’t know where they’re hiding, then you will need to do a very thorough search of the vehicle and find the exact place they are located. This is completely necessary before you can start treating to solve the problem.

The most common places to find bed bugs are in secluded, tight spaces. They will almost never be in plain site or in the open areas of your car. So, you have to look around all the crevices and corners of the seats, the truck area, the floorboard carpets, the glove box, and the center console. It’s most common that you’ll find them under car seats or in the center console.

You’ll know you’ve found the “lair” when you find very dense signs of life, eggs, or if you can see the actual bugs themselves.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Your Car

Once you’ve identified where the bugs are staying, you can begin treating. Here are the best and most effective ways to treat for bedbugs in your car:

1.   Steam Treatment

Bed bugs cannot survive the heat of steam cleaning, so this is an effective way to kill the bugs. It can be time-consuming, but the results have been shown and it is a much safer alternative to traditional pesticide treatments. Not all steam cleaners will work for bed bugs, but there are some which are specifically designed for the job.

Here are some of the popular steamers for killing bed bugs:​

2.  Safe Chemical Treatments

Most chemical and pesticide treatments that will kill bed bugs are also very harmful to you, your children, or your pets, making them a bad choice for the car. In your home it’s possible to air out the area or move the infested furniture outdoors to spray, but a car is too closed off to safely keep chemical treatments.

Instead, you can use Diatomaceous Earth. This is a popular pesticide that’s completely natural and FDA-approved. It’s not harmful to humans or most animals, but it will kill bed bugs and other pest insects on contact. Make sure you get the 100% natural, pure mineral variety for best results and safest application.

Diatomaceous Earth

Via Amazon.com

You can apply it with a scoop, or use a convenient duster like this one:

Pest Pistol​

Via Amazon.com

3.  Heat Treatment

Some people remove carpets, seat covers, and other parts and either place them in the heat of the sun or run them through the washer and dryer. Heat over 120 degrees F is able to quickly kill bed bugs, so this is an effective method for getting rid of them. However, it only works if they are infesting removable parts of the car like the carpets or seat covers, and is totally ineffective for under the seats, the center console, or anywhere else.

4.  Vacuuming

After you’ve done any of these treatments in your vehicle, you need to vacuum the treated area to get rid of any remaining eggs and the carcasses of the deceased bed bugs. Vacuum thoroughly with a HEPA or HEPA-like vacuum filter that’s sure to catch even the tiniest eggs.

Conclusion

How to get rid of bed bugs in a car is something that’s good to know, especially if you are having a bed bug outbreak in your home or vehicle. You don’t have to get professional help, unless the problem keeps recurring no matter what you do to stop them. Try some of the methods I talked about and see if they will work well for you.

Did this guide help you? Were you able to detect or eliminate the bed bugs from your car? I’d love to hear about your experience on this topic in the comments below!

Amelia
 

Amelia Robinson is a lover of plants and gardens, as well as an educator on this topic. It’s her goal to make sure that you get the chance to learn what you need to about gardening to succeed with your own home garden at the blog RobinsonLovePlants.com. You’re not going to find just a collection of basic articles about gardening here. Instead, she wants to answer the difficult questions for you. She tweets at @robinsonplants

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