Bed bugs in car

Bedbugs in Cars: How to Prevent and Get Rid of Them?

Avatar of author Ismael Girard
Ismael Girard
min read

Ever found yourself itching after a long drive, wondering if your car's become a moving bed bug motel? We're here to shed some light on this problem. Bed bugs aren't just for beds anymore. They're hitching rides in cars, making your commute a nightmare.

In this article, we'll answer the following questions for you:

✔️ How to search for bedbugs in your car?

✔️ How to rid your car of bedbugs?

✔️ How to prevent future infestations in your car?

✔️ When should you call professional bedbug control?

We promise, it's not because you dropped that french fry under the seat last week. Let's take a look at it together!

Can Bed Bugs Thrive in Your Car?

bedbugs on car seat

Even though its uncommon environment, bed bugs can indeed thrive in a car. They can survive in varying temperatures, from hot summer days to cold winter nights.

Effectively removing these insects involves several potential methods. These include professional pest control services, using heat treatments or steam cleaners, and even employing home remedies like diatomaceous earth. They all aim at the same result—a bug-free vehicle.

Bed Bugs in Cars vs. Homes

Bed bugs in vehicles are just as menacing as those in homes. You might assume that these critters only infest areas with furniture and beds. But, that's not true. Any space, such as the small, narrow gaps inside car seats, can serve as their hiding spots.

Comparatively, bed bug hideouts in homes often include mattresses, box springs, and other bedroom furnishings, making residential settings equally vulnerable to infestations.

⚠️ Be aware that vehicle infestations can also lead to house infestations, highlighting the need for immediate action upon spotting signs of these insects.

Recognizing the Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation in Your Car

Checking your vehicle regularly for signs of an infestation can help prevent bigger issues. Key indicators include:

  • Dark spots on seats or floor mats
  • Discarded skins, resembling tiny, light-colored shells
  • Tiny eggs, often tucked within seat seams

How to Eliminate Bedbugs From Your Car?

Targets wiped out, let's investigate into the action plan to eliminate bedbugs from your car.

1. Start with a Thorough Inspection

First, we begin on a detailed car inspection. The initial check is always crucial. It's about spotting signs of bed bugs, such as dark spots of insect excrement, blood stains on the seat, or less visible areas like seams, all indicative of an infested vehicle.

The magnifying glass could prove handy for smaller signs, while the flashlight could light up the dark spots.

Using Tape to Detect Bed Bugs

Secondly, in detecting bed bugs, the simple household item, tape, comes into play. By placing the sticky side around potential hiding places, insects unwittingly find themselves trapped, a clear signal for immediate action.

2. Clean Your Car

Vacuuming: A First Step in Removing Bed Bugs

Once identified, it's time for cleaning, the first vital step in removing bed bugs. Powerful vacuums are recommended for periodical comprehensive sweeps of the interior, effective against the unwelcome passengers - bed bugs and their eggs.

Washing Seat Covers and Floor Mats

Washing seat covers and floor mats comes next, preferably on the hot cycle. The raised temperature acts as a natural exterminator against the bugs, catering to longer-term prevention as well.

3. Use One of Our Bedbug Treatments

Heat Treatment

Treating the car with heat is a firm favourite, especially among professional pest control companies. Repetitive exposure to high temperatures over a specific period is daunting for the bugs, increasing their mortality rate, an excellent method if you're aiming for a bug-free vehicle.

Steam Cleaning

Alternatively, steam cleaners can work wonders. Working on a similar principle as heat treatments, their utility extends beyond surface cleaning. Steam cleaners promote deeper penetration into the harder-to-reach bed bug strongholds and effectively kill the insects.

Chemical Treatments

A barrage of chemical bedbug killers such as insecticides, pesticides, and natural substances like diatomaceous earth, offers another line of attack. These can be directly applied to affected areas. But, do exercise caution and discretion in the selection of appropriate substances, prioritising personal health and safety.

How to Avoid Future Infestations in Your Car?

In maintaining a bed bug free vehicle, it's vital to ensure the following tips are in place.

Maintain a Clean and Clutter-Free Vehicle

Keeping a clean and clutter-free vehicle decreases the likelihood of bed bug infestation. Quite the climbers, bed bugs find hiding spots in cluttered items, making it harder to spot them. Here's our recommended course of action:

  • Make vacuuming a routine: Diligent vacuuming removes not only adult bed bugs but also tiny eggs they stow within the vehicle's nooks and crannies. Exercise particular caution in tight seams where they are most likely to lay their eggs. Remember to immediately dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag to ensure no escapees.
  • Steam clean your car: After vacuuming, steam clean your car. Bed bugs and their eggs cannot survive heat. At temperatures above 120°F (49°C), bed bugs meet their demise in about a minute. Hence, a thorough steam clean method is a proactive way to kill bed bugs as well as sanitizing your vehicle against other germs.
  • Use diatomaceous earth: Diatomaceous earth, a pesticide-free insecticide, eradicates bed bugs by sticking to them, dehydrating, and eventually eliminating them. Spare no spot; sprinkle it in all areas, including floor mats and seats.

Travel Smart

Smart and vigilant travels prevent bringing bed bugs from infested places to your vehicle. Here's how:

  • Inspect your luggage and clothes: Before hopping in your car, check your luggage and clothing, particularly after hotel stays. Bed bugs find comfort within the seams, pockets, and folds of luggage and clothing.
  • Avoid infested areas: As much as possible, refrain from parking or stationed near an area reported to harbor bed bugs. Bed bugs, drawn to carbon dioxide, might find entry to your car while you're away or even while you're inside with windows down.
  • Seek professional help: At the sight of dark spots, blood stains, or suspect a bed bug infestation, call out a professional pest control company. High proficiency in pest control enables them to effectively remove pests, saving time, and preventing any further infestation.

Ridding your car of bed bugs isn't an overnight try. But, by maintaining a clean vehicle and travelling smart, you cut down the possibility of calling your car home to these blood-sucking insects. Armed with these tips, you can keep your vehicle bed bug free.

When to Call the Professionals?

Before panicking at the first sign of bed bugs, it's good to know when the situation becomes questionable. We've gathered some insights on two key areas: how to recognize when DIY solutions may not suffice and the net benefits of calling a pest control professional.

Identifying When DIY Methods Aren't Enough

Fixing minor infestations, be it vacuuming regularly, applying steam cleaners, or using diatomaceous earth, you'll often find DIY methods helpful. But, when the car space is constantly plagued with signs of bed bugs like tiny dark spots or itchy bites, it's crucial to contemplate professional intervention.

Insecticides sold to the public might not be powerful enough when managing large infestations. If you've tried multiple methods and they're not producing results, that's a clear signal to consider a professional pest control company.

The Benefits of Professional Bed Bug Treatment

When you call professional pest control, you're not just hiring someone to take care of an insect issue. You're securing peace of mind, knowing that your problem is in the right hands. These professionals possess the knowledge and experience to eradicate an issue that's literally been bugging you for days or even months.

Professional treatments usually involve heat treatments that raise the temperature high enough to kill all life stages of bed bugs in your vehicle. They can infiltrate the smallest of hiding spots that DIY methods may have missed. Unlike DIY methods, these professionals provide a guarantee against the bugs' return.

Next, you're saving a ton of time. DIY methods demand consistent effort. A professional takes the burden off your shoulders, letting you focus on the next thing on your to-do list without the nagging worry about your bug problem.


Getting rid of bed bugs in a vehicle demands diligence. Here's a concise plan of action:

  1. Recognize the Signs: Look for dark spots or blood stains in your car. These are clear indicators of an infestation. You might find small, itchy bites on your skin, another symptom of a bed bug presence.
  2. Clean Thoroughly: Start by vacuuming the interior, focusing on the crevices like seams, under the seat, and floor area. Vacuuming helps remove bed bugs and their eggs, reducing the infestation level.
  3. Heat Treatment: Subject your car to heat treatment. Remember, bed bugs cannot survive at extreme temperatures. Hot steam from steam cleaners plays a crucial role in disinfecting the hidden spaces within your car.
  4. Use Pesticides: If the infestation persists, choose insecticides specifically designed to kill bed bugs. Do remember to take precautions when using these chemicals.
  5. Professional Help: Where these measures don't seem enough, or the infestation is extensive, engage a professional pest control company. They have the knowledge and tools designed for thorough eradication and future prevention.

Stay Vigilant and Informed!

Awareness and vigilance are key in dealing with bed bugs. Continue to stay informed about the best practices, latest treatment methods, and prevention strategies.

Regularly check for signs of bed bugs in your car, clean frequently, and don’t introduce infested materials like luggage, furniture, or clothes.

If you suspect a bed bug infestation, remember to adopt an immediate action plan, dealing with it decisively to prevent it from spreading to your home premises. With the right approach, a bed bug problem doesn't have to cause long-lasting troubles.

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Frequently asked questions

How do bed bugs initially infest vehicles?

Bed bugs often infest vehicles by hitching a ride on personal belongings like luggage or clothes, especially when these items have been in infested areas.

What are the optimal conditions for bed bug survival in cars?

Bed bugs thrive in warm temperatures, ideally between 70°F and 80°F (21°C and 26°C), but can adapt to the consistent climate provided by cars, allowing them to survive year-round in vehicle interiors.

Can bed bugs survive in a car during winter?

Yes, bed bugs can enter a dormant state when temperatures fall below 46°F (8°C), allowing them to survive in a car during winter, although their activity and reproduction rates decrease significantly.