When most of us think about bed bugs, naturally, we think about bugs that infest beds and other types of furniture. However, bed bugs are adventurous, and they are found many other places, including your car. Though finding these pests in your car isn’t as common as other places, the fact of the matter is, it can happen. So how do you avoid a bed bug infestation in your car, or eliminate bed bugs that have taken up residence in your automobile? Read on to learn more about this situation and how to remedy it.
How Do I Spot Bed Bugs?
If you’ve never had bed bugs before, you may not have a clue what these critters look like. The fact is, they are very small insects that have flat bodies. This makes it easy for them to slide into just about anywhere. If you have a feeling you may have bed bugs in your vehicle, you’ll need to inspect the car completely to confirm. To do this, remove any excess clutter, trash, or debris from the car so you can get a clear view of the vehicle.
Look for signs of a bed bug infestation, like bits of blood on the upholstery, brownish spots, and dried out bug exoskeletons. Check places bed bugs can hide, such as the glove compartment, in between your seats, and in the center console. Bed bugs can also bite, so if you’ve seen small bumps on your body that itch violently and look like bright red welts, you may have been bitten by the bugs.
Bed bugs can be easily carried into your home and infect your bedding and other furniture, so launch a plan of attack before this happens and you’re in an even worse situation.
How Do I Get Rid of Them?
Get rid of bed bugs living in your car by making your car an uninhabitable environment for the bugs. First, strip the car of any upholstery you can, including any and all seat covers, rugs, or mats. These need to be washed in very hot water. Clean and vacuum your car thoroughly, using a HEPA vacuum meant for bed bugs, such as this ATRIX model. Make sure the vacuum has a sealed filter so no bed bugs escape while you vacuum.
Use attachments to get into the crevices of your car, including under the seats and between the seats. Don’t miss side pockets or back pockets behind the seats, seams between the seats, and floorboards. Vacuum every spot of your car to leave no trace of bed bugs behind.
Once you have vacuumed your vehicle, move on to steam cleaning. Steam cleaning uses heat to effectively eliminate insects from your car. It kills all of the bed bugs and it’s a chemical free method to do so.
There are many chemical methods of destroying bed bugs on the market. Some may be more powerful than others. A good method that isn’t toxic is called diatomaceous earth. You can shake this powder into your car and it kills on contact. If you wish to use chemicals to get rid of the bed bugs, make sure you are careful and wear gloves when applying chemicals, and stay out of your vehicle for 48 hours after treating your vehicle with chemicals. Don’t allow your kids or pets anywhere near chemicals used to treat bed bugs.
How Do I Avoid Another Infestation?
Dealing with bed bugs is frustrating and can be costly. Avoid the hassle by reducing the risks of any other infestations. Keep your car cleaned and vacuum it on a regular basis. Remove trash from your car. Make sure you don’t have any bed bugs in your home, which you could transport to your car, and don’t let anyone ride in your car that has bed bugs in their home or you suspect could be carrying bed bugs.
Keep your car free of trash and clutter, and regularly remove and wash seat covers and floor mats to keep them clean. Just to be on the safe side, before vacuuming your car, you can always sprinkle some diatomaceous earth inside your vehicle and let it sit for awhile before you vacuum. This ensures that any bed bugs in residence will die immediately.