One of the lesser known places that you can harbour a bed bug infestation, is inside your car. Despite their misleading name, bed bugs can actually infest any area where they are sheltered by weather conditions and have easy, regular access to their food source: human blood. This means that they can live in your carpets, your couches, your bed and, yes, even your car.
How do they get into your car in the first place?
It’s commonplace for bed bugs to follow their food source. Human beings are the most common carrier of bed bugs, and their number one method of travel, to anywhere, not just your car. If you’ve come into contact with an infestation, bed bugs can attach to your skin, hang to your clothes, or grip your hair. From here, they can be deposited in your car. Alternatively, bed bugs can be transferred to your car via household items, such as children’s stuffed toys, or cushions.
Once they’ve made a home for themselves inside your car, you’ll be hard pressed to get them to leave, since cars in regular use can provide all the nutrition the critters need to survive, thrive and procreate- they can even survive in winter, unless you live somewhere where the air temperature is well below freezing for the whole season.
Where should you be looking for bed bugs in your car?
Bed bugs can create nests in the seams between the seats, in cup holders and storage vessels in your car- but they can hide anywhere. More often than not, however, they’ll be taking shelter in any removable upholstery you have on the seats, or underneath, and around, the floor mats, and underneath the seats.
How do you clean your car to get rid of bed bugs?
Since bed bugs can live pretty much anywhere in your car, you need to be pretty thorough in your efforts to remove the little blighters, otherwise they will just repopulate your vehicle- even if you only leave one or two, or miss a couple of eggs here and there. Here are the steps you can take to clean your car and hopefully get rid of your bed bug infestation for good:
- Remove any removable fabric components, such as seat covers and floor mats, vacuum them, and wash them at a high heat to kill any bed bugs they continue to harbour.
- Vacuum the inside of your car with a high-power vacuum. It needs to have strong suction, since you’re likely to miss some bed bugs and, more likely, their eggs, if you can’t quite reach certain areas, and your vacuum has a low suction power. Make sure to focus on your floor, in the seams between your seats, and anywhere else which is made of fabric or soft material.
- Wash your headboard, seats, compartments and crevices with a cloth and warm soapy water.
If you want to do it yourself, the above method is your best bet. However, if you want to ensure that your car is bed bug free, it’s always best to rely on the professionals, who usually offer a warranty in case some bed bugs are missed during the first treatment.
About The Author
Rick Blackham is the owner of Mantis Pest Solutions a pest control company in Overland Park, KS. Rick has over 20+ years of experience in pest control through owning his own companies and working for companies such as Terminix and Orkin.