How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Car

Ants in car
Artikom jumpamoon /

While ants aren’t the most destructive pest that can take residence in your car, they’re certainly not the welcome kind of passenger.

If there are ants in your car, there’s only one logical explanation – they’re looking for food. Most of the ants' existence revolves around finding and foraging for food in order to survive. First, they send in the scouts. Once the scouts find a proper food source, they mark a chemical trail and make sure to let the other ants know where they can find it, too. The ways of communication are different for different species and can range from wiggling their antennae to perform a complicated dance. This means that their colony is probably very close by.

What types of ants are in your vehicle?

Before you try to get rid of ants in your car, you should know the specific ant species you’re dealing with, since not all treatments work on every ant. Knowing what type of ants you’re dealing with can make the whole process a lot easier and faster.

How to deal with the ants in your car?

The ants you’re seeing around can be scouts. If that’s the case, they may “realize” there’s no food around and leave on their own. Ants are not malicious and won’t stay in your car unless there’s a “reasonable expectation” for them to find food there.

In case you see them carrying something, they’re probably workers and your car has proven to be a great source of nourishment. This is particularly possible for people who often eat in their cars. A proper suggestion would be that there are some leftovers here and there that may seem small to us, but are huge for ants. In order to get rid of the infestation, clean thoroughly the interior of your car as well as the exterior.

Be careful where you park

Cleaning your car doesn’t necessarily mean that the ants will leave. You should take into consideration the area where your car is parked. There’s a big possibility that active ant hills are around. Treat the surrounding area with different types of ant baits to ensure the problem is solved.

Keep in mind that even if you managed to get rid of the ants once, they can come back. So make sure to treat the area regularly, to ensure no additional infestation.

What do you do if cleaning doesn’t help?

In most cases, simply giving your upholstery a nice, spotless clean and getting rid of all food leftovers should be enough to remove the ant population from your car. Leaving them with no other choice but to find another food source.

That being said, sometimes they decide to be stubborn and manage to find new reasons to stick around. Whether it’s a food you didn’t manage to reach while cleaning or something else, apparently they’re there to stay. Fret not – all is not lost. There are still a few ways you can fight off the invaders:

  • Treating the tyres: tyres are the only part of your vehicle touching the ground. This means there’s a 100% chance one of your tyres is the entry. This would be a good place to start the treatment with insecticides;
  • If that doesn’t help, you can spray inside your car. The downside to this is your car will be out of commission for a few hours and you need to make sure you’ve properly aired the pesticides out before you drive away. Also, there may be some unpleasant smell lingering in the air for a while;
  • In case you don’t want to opt out for the above option, you can use a gel bait. This should be effective, but the downside is that it’s slower. The ants need to take it to the colony and deposit it with the rest of the food. Then you need to wait for it to make its way and circulate throughout the nest, killing some of the workers in the process. The real target is the queen, though. Once the queen is dealt with, the colony will (almost certainly) be finished. With that – your infestation;

All three methods have pros and cons. If you’re unsure about what to do, you can always opt out for professional advice or service.

Preventing further ant infestations in your vehicle

Having ants in your car is rarely more than a minor inconvenience. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the problem. In order to remove them, the best way approach is to eliminate the reason they’re there – food. Make sure you properly dispose of food in your car, clean it regularly, and try not to eat inside.

This should be quite enough to solve your problem. If it doesn’t help, then perhaps the best solution is to hire a professional ant control service.

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