It’s Monday morning. You’re already late. You approach your car, moving through the driveway like a football player trying to score in the last minute of the game. Coffee mug in one hand and keys in the other, you get into your car. Trying not to spill the hot drink all over yourself (again), you place it in the coaster. Right before you turn on the ignition, your eye focuses on a little black spot that’s moving on your hand. It takes you a second to realize you’re staring at an ant worker. Congratulations – you have ants in your car!
This scenario might seem like it was taken out of an early 2000s sitcom, but it’s a more plausible situation than you think. While ants aren’t the most destructive pest that can take residence in your car, they’re certainly not the welcome kind of passenger. Let’s examine what can ants be possibly doing in your car and how you can get rid of them.
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What are ants doing in your car?
If there are ants in your car, there’s only one logical explanation – they’re looking for food. Most of 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 performing a complicated dance. Their colony is probably very closeby.
How to deal with ants in your car?
The ants you’re seeing around could be scouts. If that’s the case, they might “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. You can never eat something perfectly and given that you’re eating it in the car, you’re probably in a hurry, anyway. A proper suggestion would be that there are some leftovers here and there that might seem small to us, but are huge for ants. In order to get rid of the infestation, simply clean your car thoroughly and regularly. This includes the upholstery, too.
What do you do if cleaning doesn’t help?
In most cases, simply giving your upholstery a nice, thoroughly clean and getting rid of all food leftovers should be enough to remove the ant population from your car. Ants are actually pretty good at taking a hint.
That being said, sometimes they decide to be stubborn and manage to find new reasons to stick around. Whether it’s 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: as it stands, unless you have a hover car, the tyres are the only part of your vehicle touching the ground. This means there’s 100% chance one of your tyres is the entry (if there isn’t some other out of the ordinary contraption sticking out of your car). 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 might 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 pretty 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. Also, beware of “natural remedies” – in most cases they’re useless on their own and in some instances can be harmful. Be sure to carefully read the labels whatever method you decide to use.
Preventing Further Ant Infestations in Your Car
There is no definitive method to keep ants out of your car. You already know what they’re doing there, so don’t give it to them. Regularly perform a thorough cleaning of your interior. Make sure all food leftovers are properly disposed of. If you can avoid it, don’t eat in your car. And rolling your windows up won’t prevent an infestation – ants are minuscule and can pass through the smallest of holes, which your car has enough of. We’re not saying you shouldn’t roll your windows up – you should, but don’t feel like you’re solving your pest problem like this, because you’re not.
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 if you can manage it, don’t eat in your car. This should be quite enough to solve your problem. If it doesn’t help, then perhaps the good old chemistry will. Just make sure you stay safe and you’re aware of the potential downsides. If not, you can always turn to the professionals!