How do I get rid of ants in my car?

Question: I have ants in my car. How do  I get rid of them? I park in a different space at work and at home. I have put down ant baits, but the ants are still there.

ANSWER: Keep the baits in place (it may take some time) and vacuum the car thoroughly—it will help to  get rid of some of the ants and any food scraps that may sustain them.

Related Questions:

Question: My car is infested with small black ants that were picked up when the car was parked for several days near a wooded area.  They are living primarily in the fender wells, etc. and not inside the car, though I have been finding some in the car. What is the best solution to get rid of them without setting off a fumigator in a garage?

ANSWER: They are not likely to remain there, but for now—vacuum the car as thoroughly as possible, then place some ant bait stations inside; they will find these stations and take up the poison bait. Spraying the wheel wells with a water hose may help.

Question: Hello, I'm a naturalist at heart, so I will not "bomb" my car ... I have little ants living in my passenger seat. I can't take the seat cover off, so I can't find exactly where they are! How can I go about killing them effectively? I live in Houston, they seemed to die off in the winter, since I had them last summer ... but like a bad dream, they are back! Please help!

ANSWER: First ... move the car ... these ants have to be coming in from the outside. It is probably best to describe the problem as an invasion and not an infestation, since it is unlikely that ants would actually establish a nest in a car./

This problem seems to happen often when cars are parked near trees, and ants may simply move into the car during their normal foraging (for food) activity. Of course, if there is food in the car, a large number of workers may be recruited to the site.

Solving this problem is not easy. The first step would be a thorough cleaning of the car (all the food scraps should vacuumed out). Ant bait stations may help remove the ants when they forage around the car. As a last resort you can try using an aerosol insecticide. It is difficult to say where to spray, but remove the carpeting (or lift it up) and spray along seams and corners.

At some large stores, such as Lowe's, you can find plastic strips (about the size of a letter envelope) that are impregnated with an insecticide. They come in a foil wrapping. You can place one of these in the car over night, or when it is parked for a long time. The insecticide disperses from the plastic over several hours.

Question: We had an Orkin Man treat our house for an ant problem. But I went out to my car today and they're crawling in my car! I've noticed they've been crawling along the timber across our driveway. What can we do?

ANSWER: The most effective ways to control bugs in your car involve the use of mechanical and sanitation control measures. These include:

• Using a portable vacuum to remove bugs you see, plus keeping the car's interior clean. Vacuuming is very important since the vacuum not only removes bugs, but also removes crumbs, etc. that provide a good source of food. It is very important to vacuum as thoroughly as possible in all crevices, gaps and under seats. In addition, don't forget to wipe clean any spills of liquids on the seats or floor.

• Using adhesive "sticky traps" to capture foraging bugs.

• Making sure you are not introducing bugs into your car by transporting items that contain cockroaches. Often, people unknowingly move bugs from one place to another via cardboard boxes, paper or plastic sacks, backpacks or items they may be getting rid of and hauling in their car.

If you continue to experience problems after following these recommendations, contact your pest management professional for advice and recommendations about other methods to deal with the problem.


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