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Can bed bugs live and move from your car to your home?

Bed bugs are synonymous with sleeping areas like hotels, bedrooms, and couches for most people. However, these elusive parasites’ goal is to stay close to their human hosts. Therefore, they have no problem moving from place to place to get their blood meal. So, can bed bugs live in your car?

Here’s how to identify a bed bug infestation in your car and tips to eliminate them.

Quick Facts About Bed Bugs

  • Apple seed-sized, oval-shaped, Reddish-brown
  • Produce a musty odor
  • Can live almost anywhere from cities to the countryside
  • Can survive for several months without a blood meal
  • Have a regular feeding pattern about ten minutes for every blood meal
  • Release an anesthetic when feeding making it challenging to catch them in the act
  • Don’t transmit disease
  • Mainly attack at night because that’s when you release the most carbon dioxide while asleep
  • Can feed during the day
  • Bed bug control is best achievable if a pest control company handles the treatment

Can Bed Bugs Live in Your Car?

So, can bed bugs live in your car? Well… the answer is yes and no. Bed bugs prefer dark places like bed spreads and furniture. So, while bed bugs can certainly get into your car, likely from luggage or clothes, they do not seek to infest your car.

Once they hitch a ride on you or your property, they will travel in your car and enter your property when you return home. This is where the “real” infestation nightmare can begin.

How else can bed bugs travel?

  • If you already have an infestation at home, bed bugs can hitchhike on clothing and luggage to your vehicle
  • If you offer a lift to someone with bed bugs
  • If you or a family member use a rental car, they could pass them to your vehicle through clothing

Usually, a bed bug infestation in a car won’t have as many bugs as you would find in sleeping areas.

Signs of Bed Bugs in Your Car

Are you suspecting a bed bug problem in your vehicle? Here are the unmistakable signs of an infestation in your car.

  • Stains on car seats and floor mats indicate that you may have crushed bed bugs. Also, look for dark brown fecal droppings around the seams and console.
  • Exoskeletons – Bed bugs go through a five-stage development cycle and always shed skin for each stage. The presence of translucent exoskeletons in the glove box and other enclosed spaces indicates an infestation.
  • Live bed bugs

How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Car

1. Declutter and clean your car

Clutter is the most common reason a bed bug infestation in your car can go undetected. Remove trash, knick-knacks, clothing, and books from your car.

Ensure you place washable items under the highest heat setting in the washing machine. Place the non-washables in plastic bags. You might want to use diatomaceous earth to get rid of the bed bugs.

Clean your car properly using car shampoo. Also, ensure you take out the floor mats and seat covers, wash them and hang them outside to dry under the sun.

2. Vacuum

Vacuuming your car is only ideal when dealing with a small infestation. Using a HEPA-filter vacuum, focus on nooks and crannies, especially between seats and other dark areas.

3. Steam Cleaning

Heat is one of the most effective ways to get rid of the bed bugs in your car. Steam cleaners with over 200 degrees Fahrenheit steam settings can penetrate cracks and crevices and kill bed bugs.

4. Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural bed bug control method, meaning it’s safe to apply with kids, pets, and adults around. This silicate mineral is a product of fossilized algae called diatoms. It works by dehydrating bed bugs resulting in their death.

Sprinkle it inside hard-to-reach areas where bed bugs hide and on floorboards. We recommend letting this powder sit for a few days before vacuuming. Note that you may have to repeat this treatment several times to fully get rid of bed bugs.

5. Nuvan strips

Nuvan strips are insecticides with 2,2-dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate—great at killing bed bugs and other critters. These strips only work in an enclosed area, so ensure you keep the doors and windows closed during treatment.

Hang the strips and leave them for up to three days. Take them out and air your vehicle for an entire day before use. These strips are reusable for up to four months. So, store them in a plastic bag until the subsequent use.

Get Help From Trained Bed Bug Exterminators

Bed bugs are resilient, and while some DIY treatments may work. You probably won’t have to worry about an infestation in your car, your home may be vulnerable to an infestation.

McDonald Pest Control uses specialized heat treatment to kill bed bugs and eggs. We offer a $100 discount, and the procedure is 100% safe. Don’t let bed bugs ruin this year’s spring season. Call us at 727-734-0963 to schedule a free consultation.