How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs In Car?

Bed bugs, small wingless night-crawling insects, are travelers at heart. This means they like to spread. Before getting into your car, they may have lived in your house, office, hotel, school, or other places where people meet. They hide in crevices and cracks during the day and come out at night to feed on human blood.

Bed bugs don’t spread diseases. However, they can be disgusting and terrifying because their bites can be itchy, painful, and red all over your body. Some people may not have reactions to the bites. However, others may have severe reactions and be allergic to it.

Generally speaking, bed bug infestations are not common in cars. They are usually seen in houses close to beds, where they have hours of feeding on human blood at night. But if you are reading this article, you probably have bed bugs right in your car. Below, you will learn the signs of bed bugs in cars and how to get rid of bed bugs in cars.

How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs In Car

Can Bed Bugs Get Into Your Car?

Yes, bed bugs can get into your car if they get into your bags, clothes, furniture, or any other items you bring into your vehicle. They are wingless crawling insects and are unlikely to crawl from your house to your car. Because they don’t travel that far, you will only see a few of them in your vehicle.

How long can bed bugs live in a car? They will stay there for long once they get into your vehicle. They survive with blood from humans and other mammals. They also feed on food but can go a long time without food.

Adult bed bugs and older nymphs can stay in your car for up to a year without food. The younger ones can live up to several weeks or months without food. Of course, they need blood to stay alive throughout their development stages.

Can bed bugs survive in hot cars? Even when your car gets hot, the bed bugs will most likely survive since they can stay in temperatures up to 47 degrees Centigrade. But if you stay in extremely hot areas, the heat inside your car will kill them.

Signs Of Bed Bugs In Cars

The most common signs of bed bugs in cars, especially in fabrics or areas where these little insects can hide, are as follows:

Blood stains on the floor

Since bed bugs feed on human and mammal blood, a blood stain on your car carpet, floor mat, or seat shows that a bed bug has been crushed in your car. 

Small clear eggs or egg sheds

Much like some insects, bed bugs also lay eggs and hatch them to produce their younger ones. If you see small clear yellow eggs or egg sheds, it shows you have bed bugs in the car. Clear yellow eggs mean the bugs have not hatched the eggs yet, while the egg sheds mean they have already hatched the eggs.

Shed skins under car seats

As small bed bugs grow, they leave some part of their body behind. Much like many other insects, they undergo a process called molting, where they shed their exoskeleton and grow new skins to accommodate their bigger size.

The shedding of skin is a normal and natural part of their lifecycle. Just like we use snake skin sheds to know where they have been or where they are, bed bug skin sheds also show you have bugs in your car.

Small dark spots from bed bugs

Small dark spots from bed bugs are other signs of bed bug infestation in cars. Bed bugs leave behind fecal stains which appear as small dark spots on surfaces such as upholstery, car seats, and carpets.

Sighting of live bed bugs

Matured bed bugs are like the size of an apple seed. They are reddish-brown flat, small, wingless insects that swell up like torpedoes after sucking blood. When they swell up after feeding on blood, they change to bright red and take days to return to the normal reddish-brown color.

If you see them crawling on any surfaces in your car, it’s a clear indication that they have infested your car.

My Friend Had Bed Bugs And Sat In My Car

As I explained earlier, bed bugs mostly live in sleeping areas where they get the chance to suck blood throughout the night. Although they are travelers, they can’t travel by themselves from your house to your car unless they get onto clothes, furniture, bags, or fabrics and someone carries them to the car.

If you suspect someone had bed bugs and sat in your car, chances are, the bugs are now in your car. To get rid of them, park the car under hot sun and lock it without opening it throughout the day. That’s all you have to do to kill them. These little insects are vulnerable to heat. So, if you were wondering, does sunlight kill bed bugs, now you know.

However, if this happens during the cold weather season (winter), there are other ways you can get rid of them.

my friend has bed bugs and sat in my car

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In A Car

If you see the signs of bed bugs listed above and suspect these little insects are in your car, you have to get rid of them as fast as you can before they follow you into your house. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps to kill bed bugs in cars.

Clean the car thoroughly.

If you suspect you have bed bugs in your car, you need to do a thorough cleaning. However, this requires more than just going to a car wash. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Remove and clean the floor carpet, mat, seat covers, and rugs, and leave them under hot sun for 2 to 4 hours.
  • Vacuum every nook and cranny part of the vehicle. If your handheld vacuum machine can’t do an excellent job, get a high-efficiency particulate air (EPA) model.
  • Thoroughly steam clean the car, or have it professionally done.

Generally speaking, thoroughly cleaning your car can help reduce bed bug infestation but may not kill all of them. That said, you still have to monitor the car to see if there are any signs that they still exist in the car.

Use heat

According to researchers at Virginia Tech, bed bugs are vulnerable to heat. They will not survive temperatures above 113 degrees Fahrenheit. If you notice bed bugs in your car, leave the car locked under direct sunlight for two hours or more. They will not survive the heat.

If it’s during winter when the weather is not that hot, leave the vehicle locked outside and use a portable heater to generate enough heat that will kill the bugs inside the car.

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is made from fossilized remains of small aquatic organisms called diatoms. Diatom skeletons are used in many products, and they can also be used as pesticides.

The diatomaceous earth dries the fat and oil in bed bugs’ exoskeleton, which kills them. However, for it to work, you need to leave it inside the car for several hours so it can thoroughly dry the bug’s fat and oil in its exoskeleton.

If, however, you choose this method, thoroughly wash the car after use.

Fumigate your car

Another easiest way to get rid of car bed bugs is to fumigate the car. Though it can be dangerous, it is a practical way of instantly killing these itchy wingless insects. So, if you are wondering, what will kill bed bugs instantly, now you know.

Close your car doors and fumigate the entire cabin. You can do this overnight and during the day. If it’s during the day, let the car sit for two hours before opening it. After the two hours, open the doors and leave them open for some hours so the smell will go away. Then wash the car thoroughly to remove the dead bugs and the smell.

Final words

Bed bug infestations in cars are not as frequent as in homes and furniture but they happen. Most times, bug infestations in cars indicate bugs elsewhere you haven’t discovered. It could be you have bugs in your house and they traveled into your car through your clothes or bags.

To sum it up, if you have a bed bug infestation in your car, check your home. Kill the ones in your house. Else, they will get back into the car.

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Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

2 thoughts on “How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs In Car?

  1. Yours posts are very useful.thanks and
    To be post new technology videos for the
    Bs6 vehicles

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