How To Remove Ants From Your Car

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Reasons why you may have ants in your car, and how to get rid of them.

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Finding ants in your car can be quite a surprise - this isn't usually a place ants get to. But, given enough time, ants can properly infest your vehicle, making it particularly difficult to truly get rid of them. Not only are ants unwelcome pests, but some drivers have noted being bitten while driving, or feeling ants crawling over their skin - imagine swerving your Ford F350 across the freeway because something's nibbling on your ankle. It's a terrible distraction that could be hazardous while you drive.

These insignificant and harmless-seeming creatures have been known to make nests in door panels, in severe cases where the infestation has been left unattended. This does extensive damage to the door padding and internals. Ants can also do damage that prevents your vehicle from functioning optimally. Some ant species have been known to infest the engine bay, building nests and destroying the vehicle's wiring, or blocking off the air conditioner vents. Some ant species, like fire ants, red ants, and carpenter ants chew through wood, foam, and even wires, and can cause some serious damage to your car, so an infestation should be taken as a serious problem.

Ant Infestation In Car unsplash.com
Ants In Car unsplash.com

Possible Reasons Why Ants Have Infested Your Car

If you've discovered an ant infestation in your car, the reason for their unwelcome appearance is usually a simple one:

  • Food - The main reason you may find ants inside of your car is that there is food and water that has attracted the ants while they are out foraging. They may come and go in one fell swoop, in which case it would be easier to get rid of them. But if your vehicle doesn't move often, the scent the ants leave for return scouts to collect food can lead to a whole nest of them setting up camp in your automobile. So, if your car is dirty, untidy, and littered with food sources, and if it is damp or leaking, the chances of an ant infestation increase exponentially.
  • Nest - If your beloved Subaru Impreza doesn't move often because it's kept aside for track days and hasn't been cleaned out in a while, the ant queen and her colony may simply move in, having chosen your car as a viable nesting area. They will usually build their nest in the inner workings of the car such as in the engine bay or in the panels of the car.
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How To Get Ants Out Of Your Car Naturally

If you're not intent on using an ant bait, glue traps, or chemicals such as boric acid to kill the ants in your car, then we can offer some guidance on how to get ants out of your car naturally:

  • Relocate your car: Ants typically won't infest a car that is driven regularly as their nest-building will continuously be interrupted. If your car is parked for extended periods of time, however, and you regularly find ants in your car, then it could be that there is a nest nearby. If this is the case, it's best to simply choose a different parking spot for your car, or eliminate the nest. Much like issues with rodents, securely storing your vehicle over the long term requires some careful planning.
  • Keep it clean: The most effective way to ensure that your car isn't invaded by any pests is to thoroughly clean the interior and to keep it free from foodstuffs. Throw out any trash and go through the entire cabin with a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any crumbs in the carpets and seat covers. Clean up spillages and make a habit of removing rubbish, food wrappers, and the like on a daily basis.
  • Block their path: Check your car's exterior - ants will use your car's tires as access points into your car, so treating your car's wheels with a deterrent will prevent them from getting in at all.
  • Maintenance: Check for leaks or dampness in the car as this will also be something that ants can be drawn to.
  • Home remedies: Without resorting to harsh chemicals and other poisons, there are a few home remedies you can try. Depending on the severity of the infestation, however, it may not be enough:
    • Dawn dish soap: Mix three tablespoons of Dawn dishwashing liquid, two cups of water, and three tablespoons of table salt in a spray bottle, and spray directly onto the ants. This will get rid of those you see, but it won't affect the nest and remaining ants.
    • Essential oil: Use a couple of drops of lemon, orange, peppermint, or tea tree oil mixed with a cup of boiling water. You can spray the solution directly onto the ants or soak some cotton balls in the solution to leave around in your car. Again, this is a good deterrent if you've noticed a few stragglers, but won't eradicate the nest, if there is one.

If That Doesn’t Work, How Do I Get Rid Of The Ants In My Car?

If all of the above just doesn't work, then there are some more extreme measures you can take to get ants out of your car:

  • Use an insecticide: Buying specific insecticides to treat the type of ant that you've found in your car is on the more serious side of things. Your local Home Depot or Lowes should have what you need to get rid of little pests like ants in your car, including ant traps you can safely use in your car.
  • Pest Control Professional: If the home remedies and relocation plans have not made a difference, there is a chance that you may have a nest somewhere. You can contact a professional pest control service to fumigate your car or get rid of any nests in or around where you park your car. Experts are knowledgeable about removing ants from your vehicle, whether it's an electric car or a pickup truck.

FAQs

Do I need to consider the type of ant when treating my car?

Knowing what type of ant is infesting your car can help speed up the process of getting rid of them as not all treatments will work on every type of ant. Knowing how to get ants out of your car requires that you do a little bit of research too, as some bait or traps may not be effective for all ants. What works for fire ants may not work for black ants in your car.

Can I still use my car after using insecticides in it?

It's best to let your car sit for at least 24 hours before using it again after spraying chemicals in it. Not only are these poisons harmful to pests, but they can be harmful to you, too. Furthermore, you need to give them time to do the job. It's best to let it sit for a while.

How do you get ants out of the dashboard of your car?

If you find ants crawling out of the air vents around your dashboard, you should be proactive in getting rid of them. Chances are that they may be nesting inside, so approach a professional sooner rather than later, as full-scale fumigation may be needed before they manage to do damage to wiring, insulation, or wood.

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