You may already know that removing insects from your windshield is going to be pretty easy. A quick spray of windshield wiper fluid and a wipe of the window is enough to remove them. However, getting rid of pests inside your car can be quite difficult.
Before we begin, make sure to assess the damage and the type of bug
In order to make sure that you do the best thing for your car, you need to make sure you have a good grip of the situation. Here’s what to look for:
- Check to see what type of bug you’re dealing with. Bed bugs and cockroaches will have two different solutions here. Even if it’s a matter of wasps or spiders, you should be ready to identify what bug you have. Most of the time, you’re seeing carpet beetles.
- Check for car damage inside and outside. In particular, watch for holes in the upholstery and fabric. If you have bees or carpet beetles, this can indicate that you may need to replace parts of your car. If your motor has been compromised, call a mechanic immediately.
- Consider getting pesticide specifically for the type of bug you have. In the case of bed bugs, you may be able to kill them all by just leaving your car in a hot, sunny place for an hour. Since most “little black bugs” are carpet beetles, you’ll need carpet beetle foggers and sprays.
How to remove carpet beetles from inside your car
This is going to be a multi-step process once you’ve assessed the damage. Here’s how you should make it happen. For the sake of this article, we’re going to focus on carpet beetles.
1. First, consider taking your car to a car wash
The best way to start getting rid of bugs is to make sure that your car has been sanitized as best as possible. This starts with the exterior of the car. A car wash will also remove dirt and bug eggs from the undercarriage, making it a smart move at curbing problems.
2. Remove all items in your car and treat them if necessary
You will need to remove all rugs, fur, floor mats, clothes, curtains, and other natural fibers from your car and have them treated. They may need to be sprayed with pesticide, and then taken to a laundromat for additional cleaning.
Many car owners end up choosing to get rid of their floor mats after this.
PRO TIP – Are the bugs closer to dark brown? That’s a bed bug. With bed bugs, you may actually be able to leave your car in a hot area and kill them all off that way. Bed bugs instantly die when temperatures reach above 140 degrees. Cars regularly get hotter than that.
3. Vacuum the inside of the car next
Before you start using any sort of spray, you need to clear out as many bugs, eggs, shells, and droppings as possible. Grab a handheld vacuum cleaner and go through all the nooks and crannies of your car’s interior.
We also suggest that you vacuum out areas that you may not expect them to get into, such as your glove compartment or your armrest compartment. Don’t forget to vacuum under the seats, too!
4. Now, it’s time to treat the actual interior of the car
Now that you’ve vacuumed up all the tiny black bugs you could find (or whatever’s there), it’s time to get started on the actual extermination part of your work—if it’s needed. In many cases, you may not even need bug sprays if you clean out the cracks.
Still, we strongly suggest using a little spray (or a bug bomb) in your car’s interior, even if you think you cleaned up all the carpet beetle larvae, you never can be too careful. Here’s what you need to know about fumigating your car interior:
- Use a pesticide that is geared towards the type of bug you have. Not all bug bombs are going to work well. You need to use the right fumigation tools for your infestation.
- Foggers work best. They offer a great ability to dust out the areas that vacuums can’t get. This way, bugs can’t flee from the gas.
- If the infestation has gotten out of control, you may need a professional pest control company’s help. Foggers are great, but if it’s gotten to the point that your seats have serious issues with damage from mites, you need to call professional exterminators.
- After fogging your car, wait two hours, roll down the windows and let the car air out. Do this in a pest-free garage. You want to avoid having other critters come inside.
- Clean up the area after the fogging. You will need to wipe down the windows and dashboard. Once everything is aired out, vacuum again, and then keep an eye on preventative measures.
How bad is a carpet beetle infestation in a car?
For the most part, carpet beetles can be a serious menace to property. A small infestation can still damage your car’s upholstery. A large one may require the full replacement of car seats and even cause your car to become listed as “totaled” by insurers.
The biggest issue that you have to worry about with your car is the possibility of bringing those beetles into your home. If you end up with a “hitch hiker” on your items, you may have a far more difficult to control infestation. Worse, it’ll be in your home!
Even if it seems like a light infestation, you need to take this seriously. It’s the only way to ensure that you don’t end up having a major problem. Carpet beetles are notorious for multiplying rapidly. Don’t give them the opportunity to do so!
How can you prevent carpet beetles from making a home in your car?
The best way to avoid having to remove beetles is to make your home unfriendly to them. Here’s how to do it:
- Continue to vacuum your car regularly and keep it tidy. No food crumbs, no articles of clothing left out, and no random piles of junk!
- Do not leave windows open. This is how insects get in, especially when we’re talking about a stationary car. That’s the easiest way to invite vermin into your home.
- Consider using essential oils and other natural ingredients to deter pests. Eucalyptus oil and certain citrus oils are great for this. You can also spritz stuff down with vinegar from time to time. Just make sure that the oils you use are pet-safe, if you have some critters you love.
- Avoid keeping clothes in your car for a long period of time. That cute silk scarf you have will look like dinner to a typical adult carpet beetle. Remove your stored clothing as soon as you can when you are traveling long distances.
- Watch out for tiny hitchhikers. If you recently visited a home that has a known carpet beetle infestation, do not underestimate their ability to hitchhike. Now is a good time to check your shoes, socks, bags, clothes, and even hair for beetles before you enter the car.
If this is not your first infestation, it may be time to figure out what’s causing you to get beetles. You may have a friend who unwittingly has an infestation in their home. Don’t be afraid to do some sleuthing to find out the real cause of your repeat infestations.
When should you call a professional exterminator?
As noted before, a carpet beetle infestation that is truly nightmarish usually requires a professional exterminator to help out. However, there are other signs that you may need more help that don’t deal with the magnitude of the infestation:
- You aren’t sure if they’re carpet beetles. They also could be fleas, bed bugs, or even something else entirely.
- Pesticides did not work out. If your foggers and sprayers did nothing, you need more help. This is a sign of pesticide-resistant bugs.
- There are multiple infestations at play. If you see wasps and beetles, or beetles and bed bugs, it’s time to run out to find an exterminator.
If you have a carpet beetle infestation in your car, you are going to have to give your car a deep cleaning. Then, you’re going to need to treat the car using pesticides and also take preventative measures to ensure that they don’t come back.
In cases like this, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you are worried about an infestation, make sure to keep your car clean and keep windows rolled up.