When you are dealing with an infestation, the thought of having to deal with bed bugs in your car feels like your nightmare is getting bigger, not smaller.
An infestation in your car has even bigger implications like reinfesting your home during treatment, infesting your workplace, friends and family. I know, that was me. Below I have listed five ways people try to deal with bed bugs in their car that are not certain to kill all bed bugs and eggs, leaving you exactly where you are today, except possibly with more new baby bed bugs in your car.
You deserve the truth. I am not going to sugar coat bed bugs for you. And now, how to fail at being sure you’ve killed all bed bugs in your car.
1. Pesticides, foggers, powder or sprays
I’ve talked about the dangers of using pesticides in your car, and that includes food grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE). For the sake of your safety, I’ll repeat here, do not use foggers, liquid or powdered pesticides in your car. Powder and sprays only work when bed bugs come in direct contact with them. Foggers may or may not come in contact with where bed bugs are hiding but what about bed bug eggs hatching deep in your cars interior?
2. Get your car detailed to kill bed bugs
The problem with car detailing is only what is touched is cleaned. It doesn’t penetrate your cars seams and inner spaces. Again, bed bugs will not be roaming around under your floor mats. They will hide and nest in your cars deeper interior under the plastic and upholstery. Detailing will make your car look nice but you may still have bed bugs in it.
3. Leave your car in the sun on a hot day
This might work if your car is in some part of the world right now where they are experiencing temperatures of over 120° and you can be sure that every interior area of the car will be heated to at least 120° for a period of 4-6 hours. It is “possible” this would work, but “possible” isn’t acceptable is it? You want to be absolutely certain you are not going to reinfest your home from your car, so we are not accepting this as a sure thing method for treating your car. I had also considered using a professional auto paint oven to achieve these results and am still curious if this is a viable technique to kill bed bugs in your car.
4. Steam Cleaning
Using a low vapor steamer to kill bed bugs does work, just not in a car. Again, there are so many places in a car bed bugs can hide that no amount of steam can, with certainty, kill an infestation. Look at all the plastic seams in your dashboard, under your cup holder, steering column. (sorry, not trying to freak you out, just being realistic)
5. Don’t use your car for 12-18 months
If you’ve been doing your bed bug research you already know bed bugs can live as long as 12 months or more, depending on their last meal and external temperatures. University research has determined that bed bugs live longer without a meal in cooler temperatures than in warm to hot temperatures. Virginia Tech has produced an excellent guide to the bed bug lifecycle here.
Adult bed bugs have a life span of nearly one year depending on regular access to blood meals and favorable temperatures. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2013
How do you solve a bed bug problem in your car