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Why Ants Are In Your Car and How To Get Them Out

Why Ants Are In Your Car and How To Get Them Out

Ants can invade any place. You can find them in your kitchen, bedroom, and in your living room. Thankfully if ants have settled in, it is not difficult to remove them. In most cases, they trespass into places where either food, water, or shelter is available. One place you might not expect to find ants is in your car.

Ants will enter your car in search of food and make your car their home if the food source is reliable. They get into your car when it is stationary by climbing through small cracks and crevices. In addition they can attach themselves to clothing and other items you bring in and out of your car.

Here is a breakdown of the two main reasons ants may be in your car:

Unintentional invasion: this is where the ants are in your car by accident. They were searching for a potential food source and entered your car. This may be possible if you parked your vehicle near a tree with ants or close to an ant hill. If they do not find food, they will most likely leave on their own.

Permanent home: the other reason why there are ants in your car is that they have identified a food source that keeps renewing. There is a possibility that they are sending workers to collect food from the source and bring it back to the colony. In most cases, ants cannot establish a colony inside your car and will have to enter frequently to remove the food. Therefore, removing the food source is enough to make them leave.

Types of ants you can find in your car

Once you notice you have a problem with ants, it is important to know the type of ant you are dealing with. By knowing your enemy, you can use a more direct method to remove them. There are some simple termination methods that work better for certain kinds of ants. Sometimes, removing the entire food source inside a car or changing your parking location can be difficult. In this case, you may need to apply pesticides and make use of baits to fully eliminate them. If you cannot identify the ants, an alternative is to capture some and show them to a local pest control expert for advice. The most common types of ants you can find in your car include:

  • Pharaoh ants: Long bodies, light brown or yellow, and known to be the cause of much annoyance
  • Pavement ants: These ants are black or brown, and normally move in groups on the sidewalks.
  • Thief ants: Notorious for stealing food. You may find them near other ants nest. They are attracted to grease and can be seen carrying food scraps.
  • Carpenter ants: These ants can appear in many colors. They also have long bodies and are very active during the night.

How can I get rid of ants in my car?

Now that you know the reason why there are ants in your car and the types of ants you might find, you need to know how to get rid of them. Remember, ants are small, tiny, and are mostly active at night. You might not be able to remove them completely with a single method. Instead, a combination of various actions you can take will ensure you eliminate them completely. Some of the best strategies to use include:

1. Cleaning your car

The first and most important thing to do is to clean out your car. Vacuum any food particles that might be attracting the ants into your vehicle. Be sure to vacuum all the cracks of air vents, seats, under the mats, and below the seats. These are common places where food crumbs can go unnoticed.

If there are any sticky substances or surfaced in your car, you must spot clean those areas. It is important to note that ants are extremely attracted to sugary foods so make these areas a priority. You can also wash the interior of the vehicle with soap after vacuuming it. Washing your vehicle with a cleaning product will help remove the smell which ants use as a signal for food.

2. Changing your parking area.

If you have vacuumed and cleaned your vehicle but there are still ants returning to your car, you will need to identify where they are coming from. Check whether there is an ant nest near your parking area or an ant hill. Be careful if you park your car near trash bins or areas that ants are seen frequently.

In addition, it might be a good idea to change your parking spot after cleaning because ants leave chemicals behind to let their friends know the source of food.

3. Use of natural deterrents

If your car is clean and you are parking away from ants but you are still noticing them, you may need to consider natural methods of removal. Most natural remedies are affordable, simple to use, non-toxic and effective. Some of the natural methods you can try include:

  • Peppermint: use of peppermint can help to get rid of ants in your car. By spraying peppermint oil in your vehicle, you can get results and have a great scent. Peppermint can be mixed with water or used in its concentrated form.
  • Salt: a solution of salt and water is known to be a good strategy of getting rid of ants in various places. This process is inexpensive and very effective. Start by boiling water, and then add salt. Use a spray bottle to apply to the affected areas. The mixture will eliminate the ants completely in your car.
  • Chalk: chalk is another method that can help to get rid of ants in your car. Chalk contains calcium carbonate that acts as a repellent. Draw lines near your car tires, doors, or at various spots, to help keep the ants away. Even though it might look strange, the strategy can be very effective.
  • Clove essential oil: the oil has an element known as eugenol. It is a component that can help to eradicate pests, especially ants. It is safer than chemical products and often used as an alternative.
  • Cayenne pepper: this is another common product that can help remove ants in your car. By scattering the pepper around your car tires or inside the car, the ants will be irritated and not want to get much closer.

4. Use of ant specific traps and bait

In some cases, cleaning your car or using natural remedies is not enough. Hence, you may be forced to try more powerful methods to get rid of the ants completely. It is wise to use methods that are safe to you and your car. Some chemical products are harmful to pets and humans. When choosing the products, make sure you understand the ingredients and keep them out of reach of kids and pets.

Ant bait is a product that is known to get rid of ants very fast. When you buy ant bait, set it in your vehicle where you suspect the ants to be entering from. This should eliminate the ants completely over time and ensure they do not come back. Before you use the product, be sure you have read and understood the label.

5. Preventing future invasions

Preventing A Future Ant Invasion

Understanding the cause of ant infestation in your car, can be helpful to prevent further invasion. First, if you have a tenancy of leaving food or crumbs inside your car, staying away from this will go a long way. Ants will not have much incentive to invade your car if there is no food inside. If you have a habit of parking your car with the windows rolled down, you should avoid this in the future as well. Be sure all the windows are rolled up after parking your vehicle as to not give the ants an easy method of entry.

If you can abstain from eating in your car, you can easily get rid of the ants completely. Keep in mind it is more expensive to eliminate the ants than to prevent them from invading. Make sure your car is always clean, especially if you enjoying eating while driving.


Ants can cause mayhem inside your car. They can distract you while you are trying to relax or even worse while driving. It is best to prevent ants from ever entering your car so you do not have to deal with the annoying pests.

However, if they have already invaded your car, the above strategies can help you get rid of them quickly. Either by cleaning your car thoroughly, changing your parking slot, or using natural remedies, you can eliminate the ants effectively. Use of ant baits is another effective strategy that you can use after the natural methods have failed. But make sure your car manufacturer has suggested it is safe to use them. Always use ant baits when the car is parked and ensure you remove them before you start driving. Baits are effective but should be used with caution.

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