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 re-infesting your home during treatment, infesting your workplace, friends, and family. I know, that was me. It’s a horrible situation to be in, and you can’t put off dealing with it.
Below I have listed five ways people try to deal with bed bugs in their car that are either dangerous, ineffective, or both. Bad treatment in your car leaves you exactly where you are today, except possibly worse
But first, how do you deal with a bed bug infestation in your car?
Besides me, nearly all modern pest control companies believe the best remedy for bed bugs in your car is the NUVAN Pro Strip. You don't even have to see or find bed bugs to use it. You can just use it knowing it will kill all bugs and eggs when used properly. I was one of the first individuals to use it in a car at the time. I had nothing to lose by trying it and everything to gain. It did what it promised for me!
Dealing with a bed bug problem in your car? Don’t make these mistakes!
- Don’t use pesticides, powders or sprays in your car.
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 liquid or powdered pesticides in your car. Powder and sprays only work when bed bugs come in direct contact with them. Foggers or steam may not come in contact with where bed bugs or eggs are hiding and hatching deep in your cars interior? If you do use pesticides never deviate from the label. Always follow the label.
- Detailing your car will make it look nice but could easily miss bed bugs hiding in hard to reach places?
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.
- Leaving your car in the sun is not a sure thing.
The interior of your car can easily get hot enough in the summer to kill bed bugs. The problem is that heat may not penetrate your cars plastic seams and inner spaces where bed bugs would hide. 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. When underfed they can easily fit in the plastic seams on your dashboard.
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 re-infest 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.
- Steam cleaning probably won’t reach deep enough into the recesses of your car.
Using a low vapor steamer to kill bed bugs does work if it can reach where they are hiding. However, there are so many places in a car that bed bugs can hide. It’s possible 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)
- Don’t use your car for 12-18 months. This would work, but it’s not very convenient or realistic.
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. However, leaving your vehicle unused for eighteen months would ensure no living eggs or bugs were in your car.Adult bed bugs have a life span of nearly one year depending on regular access to blood meals and favorable temperatures. *
*Stress Tolerance of Bed Bugs: A Review of Factors That Cause Trauma to Cimex lectularius and C. Hemipterus
I solved my vehicle infestation with a Nuvan strip
I left the strip in for three weeks to catch any hatching eggs or newly laid eggs in not yet dead bugs. I rented a car and used public transit during that time. It turned out to be not too expensive and not that inconvenient.
I bet you’re wondering if I ever saw bed bugs in my car during my infestation, and the answer is yes, but only once. I did see bed bugs escaping from the seams in the dashboard while steaming the car. Understanding the bed bug egg-laying cycle helped me plan an effective strategy using the NUVAN ProStrip.
You can read more about how to get rid of bed bugs in your car here. Did this article help you find a way to deal with bed bugs in your car? Do you have more questions? Use my contact form to ask a question, if I don’t know the answer I’ll try to point you in the right direction.
Leave a comment below if you found this post helpful.
Thank you for this amazing article.