Roaches Getting in Car? Here’s How to Get Rid of Them

By Austin Morris 09/14/2022 12:00pm

Roach in a car

A roach infestation in your car will make you want to take public transportation for a few days. These gross bugs can find the tiniest opening in your vehicle and turn it into their home. Luckily, with the proper steps, you can prevent infestations of cockroaches, ants, and other bugs. If the bugs already took control of your car, read on.

While keeping your car clean from dirt and crumbs helps, even the cleanest vehicle can be susceptible to a roach or bug invasion. Follow these steps to avoid seeing any bugs when driving your car.

How Bugs Get in Your Car

Roaches and ants are pesky insects that constantly look for food. Cars can be warm in the winter, giving bugs a great place to stay. Leaving the window slightly cracked to air the car out can lead to a nasty bug infestation if it’s down too long.

While the most obvious way bugs get into your vehicle is through a cracked window, they find other ways, too.

These little pests are dedicated hitchhikers. Roaches, ants, and other bugs can easily move across the planet in luggage in airplanes. If you stay in a hotel, it’s another way for bugs to scurry into your luggage. Once your bags make it to the car, that’s how they can find a new place to call home.

Leaving boxes, backpacks, and workout bags in your vehicle for an extended period can aid a bug’s quest to find moist, warm places. 

Grocery bags can be another way roaches and bugs reach your car (and your house).

According to the pest control company Orkin, roaches will not live in a car for very long “because it is generally a hot, dry place with no food.” As for ants, Orkin says they generally don’t make nests inside of vehicles. Instead, when you park your car near a wooded area or underneath trees, “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.”

Where Bugs Like to Hide

Once bugs make their way into your car, you may not know until you see one. And by then, it’s likely you’ll find more than one. Inside a vehicle, there are plenty of hiding places for bugs to take cover, including:

  • Beneath the floor mats
  • Under the seats
  • Between seat cracks
  • In the glove compartment
  • Trunk
  • Gym bag
  • Boxes

Preventing Bugs from Entering Your Car

  •  Clean your car regularly. Keeping your vehicle clean is the best way to keep bugs away. This includes removing trash and vacuuming floors, seats, and crevices throughout the car. You can use common household items such as white vinegar to remove odors and food stains.
  • Avoid eating in the car. Eating in the car almost always leads to crumbs on the floor. On road trips, take a break. And if the kids insist on snacking in the car, use a handheld vacuum to scoop up all the mess when the trip ends.
  • Don’t leave your windows down. Leaving a car window down overnight or after you left it for an extended period provides an easy entrance for roaches, ants, and other pests.
  • Watch where you park. Bugs love trees and wooded areas. So, be mindful of where you park for extended periods. Also, keep your windows rolled up if you need to park under a tree.
  • Inspect your luggage. Before and after your trip, take a moment to inspect your backpacks, suitcases, and other luggage.

How to Get Rid of Roaches and Ants in Your Car

Vacuuming car

Roaches, ants, and other bugs can be tricky to get rid of. The first step to getting rid of pests inside your vehicle is to thoroughly clean the inside of your car, including with a vacuum and a car cleaning kit. A vacuum will help eliminate food crumbs and can get in all the cracks and crevices around the inside of your vehicle. You can always vacuum up the bugs if you see any while cleaning. Once you get your car cleaned, then you can address the invasion or infestation with one of these options:

  1. Sticky, glue-based traps: Place them in your car in out-of-the-way places.
  2. Bait stations: Set these in problem areas around your car, most likely under the seats, in the trunk, center console, and glove compartment.
  3. Call a professional: If all else fails, you can always call an exterminator to eliminate pests in your vehicle.

TIP: Avoid bug bombs. According to Orkin, these are useless and will not help eliminate bugs in your car. The bomb may ruin your car seats and could cause cosmetic damage to your vehicle’s interior.