Ants are one of the world’s most common pests, and ant infestations can pop up anywhere – including your car! If you have an ant infestation in your car, you will need to use an integrated pest control plan to deal with the problem.
Most common causes for ants to invade your car
Ants are associated with picnics, kitchens, and pantries – but why do ants infest cars?
The answer is simple: ants will go anywhere with a food source so, if you’re the type to snack on the go, you may be unknowingly inviting them in.
Food crumbs under car seats, sticky candy wrappers, and any other food traces can attract the attention of nearby foraging ants. Ants can easily get into cars through the cracks around a car door frame and, if they find food inside, other ants will follow. If you find even one ant in your car, don’t ignore it! This is a sign that something in your car is acting as ant bait, and will continue to attract ants until you get rid of it.
Types of ants you can see in your car
There are literally thousands of different ant species on Earth, and these insects are found in almost all parts of the world. If you have an ant problem in your car, it is important to identify them before attempting pest control. This is because different ant species may require different pest control approaches, so it helps to know what you’re dealing with first.
Some of the more common ant species found infesting cars include:
Carpenter ants are found in every state of North America, so they are common pests in homes and vehicles. They are ¼ to ½ inch in size and black or red in color. Carpenter ants eat fruits and other sweet things, and will invade your car if they find a sugary food source (e.g., spilled soda or food crumbs).
These tiny, reddish-brown ants get their name from their erratic foraging patterns. Crazy ants also like sugar, and will be attracted to your car if there’s food inside. Given their small size (⅛ inch), they can easily enter your cars and build a nest.
If you have fire ants in your car, you may want to call a pest control professional for help. These small, red ants are notoriously aggressive and can deliver a painful bite when disturbed. Fire ants have a varied diet and eat other insects, proteins, fats, and sweet things. This means that any open food in your car could attract fire ants inside.
Pharaoh ants are common in the warm, southern states of North America. These tiny, yellowish insects can move an entire ant colony with ease, so they can be quick to infest cars and other spaces. Like most ants, they are attracted to areas with available food sources and will happily nest in messy cars.
If you can’t identify your ants, call a local pest control service for help. Not only will they be able to pinpoint the species, but a pest control professional can also recommend the best way to get rid of ants.
How to get rid of ants in your car in 4 simple steps
Ants in your car can be a problem for more reasons than one. Stinging or biting ants can be dangerous in larger numbers, and large ant infestations can even damage your car’s engine and electrical wires. Fortunately, you can kill ants and reclaim your car in X simple steps.
- Move your car – Are you parked by a tree, or perhaps on top of an ant hill? Certain areas attract ants more than others, so you may need to rethink your parking space.
- Clean out your car – Worker ants are attracted to areas with lots of available food. If your car is full of crumbs, you’re almost guaranteed to end up with an ant problem.
- Vacuum – Vacuum up any remaining ants in your car (and any crumbs you may have missed while cleaning).
- Set up ant bait – If you have a whole ant colony living in your vehicle, you will need to set up traps. These traps typically contain ant bait, which the worker ants take back to the colony. The bait will kill ants soon after it is eaten, and is an effective way to get rid of ants in your car.
Frequently asked questions
How to prevent ants from coming back?
You can prevent another ant problem by removing their food sources. Crumbs, food wrappers, and spilled food are all leading causes for ants in your car, so you can deter ants by keeping your vehicle squeaky-clean.
You should also make sure that all of your doors and windows are shut tightly for the night, and avoid parking on top of an ant nest (or any other place you see ants crawling around).
If you see a single ant inside your car, squish it immediately. Some worker ants act as scouts for the colony and will alert the others if they find food. Ants follow pheromone trails left by other ants so, if you see even one, wipe down the area with soapy water to destroy the trail.
What damage can ants cause?
If you find ants in your car, you will need to make sure they haven’t made nests in the engine. Ants can damage the electrical system of cars by forming nests or even by chewing through wires. If your car is heavily infested with ants, you will need to check for any damage to your vehicle after you get rid of them.
Why do I keep finding ants in my car after their removal?
There could be two potential reasons for this; one, your first attempt to get rid of ants was unsuccessful or, two, your car is still attracting ants. If you have removed all food and wrappers, it could be that you need to tackle the upholstery, next – especially if you or someone else has spilled soda at some point.
Repeated ant infestations could also be a result of where you park. Always make sure you are not on top of an ant hill, and try to choose parking spaces away from trees or grassy areas.
Final thoughts – can I get rid of the ant infestation in my car myself?
If you find a few ants inside your car, you should be able to handle it yourself by cleaning out your vehicle and setting up ant baits and ant traps. If, however, your car is crawling with insects (or, if your car is infested with fire ants), you should call a pest control service for some expert advice.