Home Bed Bugs How to Deal with Bed Bugs in your Car

How to Deal with Bed Bugs in your Car

Bed bugs are naturally travelers and they can move from your house to any other places including your car. This article discusses bed bug infestation in your vehicle, how they get into your car, how you can get rid of them as well as ways of preventing them from getting into your automobile.

Can you get bed bugs in your car?

Bed bugs are not found only in your bedroom and the furniture but also in the rarest places such as your car.

People report that these resilient creatures hide even in their most personal space such as their car. Although it is uncommon for bed bugs to live in your car, they actually can stay for a while.

Bed bugs can live in car seats
Car seats

Most people who have bed bugs hiding in their car are those whose home is heavily infested such that the bed bugs are found almost everywhere.

Where you try to carry out bed bug extermination, the bed bugs may want to move to places that are hardly suspected such as your car. It is therefore advisable that, when carrying out bed bug treatment, you must remember to treat your car as well.

How do they get in your vehicle?

If your house or even the office you go to each morning is infested with bed bugs, you are likely to carry these bed bugs to your car. Bed bugs attach themselves on your clothes and that way, they get to your car.

When you leave your house or office with some bed bugs on your clothes, they fall off from your clothes to the car where they hide.

Apart from that, bed bugs get into your car by hiding in your luggage when you are traveling.

When your luggage has bed bugs hiding in it, the bed bugs fall of once you get the luggage to the car.  The bed bugs are therefore left in the car and that exposes you to a risk of taking them to other places such as from your house to your car.

Someone with bed bugs in my car

Someone coming from a heavily bed bug infested area can leave some of these nasty tiny creatures in your vehicle. Unfortunately, it is hard to tell who this some can be. It can be anyone.

Can they Live and Travel in your Automobile?

Once bed bugs get into your car, they find a place to hide since the car has so many hiding places such as the cracks, crevices and under the seats.

Bed bugs can stay in your car for as long as they do not need to feed. Remember bed bugs can stay without a blood meal even for a year and that means they can decide to stay in your car that long.

bed bug in car seat
Bed bugs

The bed bugs could bite the car occupants when they get a chance to do so. The time that the bed bugs are not feeding, they mate and lay so many eggs which hatch to cause a bigger infestation in your car.

Bed bugs however may decide to move from your car to another place by attaching themselves to your clothes or luggage. This happens if they do not find the car very conducive or if they need a blood meal.

What are the signs of car infested with the bugs

You can easily tell if your car is infested with bed bugs if you carry out a thorough search in your car to look for possible signs of bed bug infestation. Below are some of the indicators that your car is infested with bed bugs;

Red spots

These spots can be found on your car seats. This is usually blood that comes out when the bed bug is accidentally squeezed. You may crush your bed bug in the car by sitting on it or by adjusting the car seats which may be their hiding place.

Cast skin

Bed bugs shed their exoskeleton as they develop from one stage to another. Bed bugs shed their external skin so that they can develop new skin.

Signs bed bug in your vehicle
Cast skin

Brown spots

If you find brown spots on your seats or brown matter in your car, it may be a sign that there are bed bugs in your car. Bed bugs fecal matter has a brown color. However, you cannot use this sign alone to conclude that your car is infested with bed bugs since there are other insects whose fecal matter is brown as well.

Sweet musty smell

You can tell if there are bed bugs in your car should you smell the distinctive odor of bed bugs. Bed bugs have a sweet musty smell. Some people describe bed bug smell as being the same as that of coriander, almonds or berries that are almost ripe.

Bed bug eggs and egg shell

If you find some white eggs that are the size of a pinhead in your car, you need to carry out a further search on whether your car is infested with bed bugs.

The small size of the eggs makes them very unnoticeable and these eggs may only be found following a thorough inspection of your car. You need to not only look for the eggs but egg shells as well since some eggs may have hatched already.

Live bed bugs

When washing your car or even adjusting your car seats, you may be lucky enough to catch live bed bug. If you see a single bed bug, it may be a sign that there are many more bed bugs that are hiding in your car and you may need to take an immediate action.

Can bed bugs travel in cars?

The answer to this question is yes.  Bed bugs can travel in your car. In fact, bed bugs don’t really get to the car because they want to hide there. Bed bugs use the car to travel from one host to another. Bed bugs will travel from a hotel room you used during your vacation to your house.

Bed bugs travel by getting into your luggage, your handbag, or your clothes and shoes and hiding so as not to be seen until they get to the next host.

Bed bugs will travel from your house to your office and vice versa using your car. This confirms that bed bugs can travel in your car. You should always inspect your luggage after travelling to ensure you do not take these small creatures to your house.

How to treat a car for bed bugs

There are so many ways that will help you end the bed bug infestation everywhere including in your car. Below is how to treat your car as soon as you realize that it is infested with bed bugs;

Step 1: Inspect your car

Before you proceed to any other step of killing bed bugs, you must inspect your car well enough to ensure you really have the bed bug infestation. This is because, the process of killing the bed bugs is tiresome and involving and you only want to do it once you are certain there are bed bugs.

Get rid of excess clutter from your car to allow for a thorough visual inspection. Once you are certain there are bed bugs in your car as guided by signs discussed earlier in the article, proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Clean the car

Remove the car seat together with their covers and wash them thoroughly. Alternatively, take the seat covers together with the carpet to the dryer and set the highest but safe heat to kill the bed bugs and their eggs.  Clean the debris under the car seats and from the floor board.

To ensure the cleaning is excellent, you are advised to use a bed bug Hepa vacuum such as Atrix VACEXP-IPM Express Plus Hepa IPM since it keeps the bed bugs enclosed in the vacuum preventing any possibility of them spreading to other places.

Step 3: Place the seats back and their covers

Once you have cleaned the car, the seats and their covers, as well as the carpet well and allowed them to dry, put everything in place. To ensure long lasting success, repeat the steps after a week to ensure any bed bugs that may have escaped are killed.

Other ways to get rid and prevent them

Apart from the above procedure followed to eradicate bed bugs from your car, the following methods have also been found to yield success as well in getting rid of bed bugs;


One of the safest and most effective ways to get rid of bed bugs from your car is by steaming the car. The only challenge is that you may not be in position to access the necessary professional equipment to carry out the steaming process.

Where you are faced by such a challenge, you are advised to use a steam cleaner as that may as well yield you the same benefits. Where you have the finances, you can hire a professional to steam your car.

Use diatomaceous earth

Made from tiny aquatic organisms’ remains, diatomaceous earth is a powdery mineral which is off-white and is used to kill bed bugs. This powder is preferred by many users since it is very safe for use around people and pets.

The powder is found almost in all local hardware stores or you buy online. You are required to sprinkle the powder in the car especially in areas you suspect the bed bugs could be hiding.

Leave the powder in the car for several days to allow time for the bed bugs to be killed. Three days would be enough. On the fourth day, vacuum the car to get rid of the powder. Repeat the treatment severally for greater success.

Fumigate your car

You are advised to take your car for fumigation if it is infested with bed bugs. The car will be sealed with a tarp during the fumigation treatment. A single treatment will eliminate all bed bugs from your car.

Prevention measures

There are a number of things you will also need to do to prevent future bed bug infestation. Below are some prevention measures you may find helpful;

  • Always inspect your car after traveling especially if you were carrying luggage.
  • Vacuum your car frequently to ensure it is well cleaned and that any bed bugs beginning to build a home in it are eliminated. You can always sprinkle your car with some diatomaceous earth before vacuuming.
  • Avoid clutter in your car. Always get rid of unnecessary materials in your car and keep your car as neat as possible. This limits the number of hiding places for the bed bugs.

Further Reading


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