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How To Get Rid Of Ants In Your Car

ants in car

Did you know there are over 12,000 species of ants found in the world? In North America alone there are over 1000 species of ants! Ants are found in basically all types of environments; from dense urban areas to remote forests. These unique creatures have learned to live among human beings by utilizing man made structures and machinery to form their massive colony systems!

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Chances are that if you’ve landed on this page you are dealing with an infestation of some type of ant species in your car. Whether it be a relatively harmless black ant or the nefarious red or fire ant – these creatures can build an entire colony within a vehicle that is left out in the elements for an extended period of time. Typically, this happens when an older, rarely used vehicle is left to sit on top of ground where ants are present. Often times the owner of the car may not even be aware that the ant colony is present under the ground!

However, ant infestations can also happen to vehicles that are regularly driven as well! So if you’ve got ants in your car and you want to learn how to get rid of them – read on!

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Which Types Of Ants Are Most Dangerous?

Experts agree that of the hundreds of species of ants found in North America, there are 8 to 10 that are especially common. They are found in different regions of the country and can be quite dangerous and or destructive to your home and your vehicle.

In no particular order, they are:

Acrobat Ants: they are not frequently found indoors but do have a vicious sting when threatened. Named for their strange “tumbling” behavior. Found mostly in the Eastern US.

Argentine Ants: Common indoor invaders, non stinging variety, found in California and American Southwest.

Asian Needle Ants: Found primarily outdoors in the South Eastern parts of the United States. Huge fan of moist areas. Can be extremely dangerous and has subjected some people to anaphylactic shock.

European Fire Ant:Found all over the United States, extremely damaging to homes due to the fact they love chewing on wire insulation. Also damaging to vehicles for the same reason. Extremely dangerous and will swarm when provoked, inflicting numerous painful stings.

Crazy Raspberry: this species was imported on container ships in is wreaking havoc in the southern and Central Southern United States. Distinctive ability to chew through wire insulation. Dangerous when provoked.

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Why Are Ants Attracted To Cars?

Cars are a perfect location for ants to congregate and thrive. When you see one or many ants in or around your home, these “scout” ants are typically looking for food or water for the colony. This is why ant infestations can prove to be so difficult to take care of and prevent! When you see a few ants around your home or in your car, you can rest assured that there are millions more close by. That’s right, millions more!

Some types of ants actually have multiple nests and multiple queens which makes getting rid of auxiliary nests extremely difficult. There’s a good chance of the ants inside of your car or simply a satellite of the main nest that is somewhere on your property or around your home.

There are several reasons why ants are so attracted to our vehicles! Let’s explore why below:

If you think about your car and what you typically do in your car throughout the course of a day – eating is usually a big component! Often times our daily lives are so busy that our cars can become dirty or littered with food crumbs and trash that can accumulate under the seats or in other areas of the vehicle. This is especially true if you have children!

Ants love sticky, sweet or stale food. In fact, you’d be amazed at the variety of food ants are able to eat and then bring back to their nest! Even something as simple as spilled soda, spilled coffee or even a candy wrapper can attract ants! Ants have an incredible sense of smell that is specifically tuned to these types of food. High sugar content equals high energy for growing colonies.

It also does not take much food to feed an entire group of ants! You would think that it would take hundreds and hundreds of pounds of food but it simply does not.

Bottom line, keep your car clean.

A New Colony Location

As well as the food driven element, ants can also be attracted to the structure of a vehicle due to its weatherproofing and plethora of wires and insulation. Once a vehicle site for an extended period of time, ants will begin to use the structure of the car and foam insulation to actually build a nest! As with most things in the natural world, ant colonies are extremely competitive with other ant colonies. An above ground structure that is protected from Weather and free of possible predators may serve as an ideal location for an ant colony.

Popular locations in cars for ants nests are fender wells, engine compartments, and even the inside of cars under seats are under carpets. These locations are off and dark, can be damp and provide a good basis for building out the nest.

Ants are also extremely adept at finding warmth and what could be warmer and more cozy than engine compartment! Especially if your car is regularly or semi-regularly driven, and engine and its associated componentry is extremely warm.

Material Gathering
Many species of any are also attracted to some types of plastic wire insulation and will actually eat away at this insulation! This can cause electrical shorts or a myriad of other problems.

Specifically, several species of red ants love the insulation that’s around wires. There are many horror stories of red ants that infest electrical boxes in old dilapidated homes and the damage that they can cause. While they are not capable of eating the metal wire they are capable of eating the insulation around the wires. The situation can prove extremely dangerous in a vehicle if electrical wires are exposed!

The bottom line is that ants are attracted to your car for a variety of reasons!

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Why Are Ants In A Car Bad?

Beyond obvious phobias of bugs, having ants in your car can actually prove extremely dangerous! Can you imagine driving along and then all the sudden realizing that you are covered in ants!? This may sound like a crazy scenario but the Internet is riddled with stories about people who have crashed their cars after realizing the car was full of ants!

Despite the gross factor of having ants in a car, many species of ants are also ferociously terrible biters. Anyone who’s ever been bitten by a red ant knows just how painful a single ant bite can be, let alone dozens or even hundreds! Ants can prove especially damaging to children who are often stuck in car seats which are very hard to move once you are on the road! Allergies can also be a major concern here.

You never want to be overwhelmed by a colony of ants because trust me, if it happens while you are driving not only yourself will be at risk but so will everybody else on the road!

So, what happens if you have ants in your car and you need to get rid of them?

Getting Rid Of Ants In Car

There’s really two separate components to getting rid of ants in your car: prevention and removal.

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Preventing Ant Infestations

1. Clean the inside of your car! If you live in an area that’s highly prone to ants or ant infestations, it’s time to consider a more regular cleaning of your vehicle. This step also segues into removal as well but it’s a key step in making sure that ants don’t find your car irresistible. A thorough vacuuming and a thorough cleaning of all sugary or sticky liquids is a good first step to removing ants from your car.
2. Move your car! If you’re car is currently being stored in an area where ants are commonly found – it’s time to think about moving your vehicle from its current location. This will hold true whether or not your vehicle is immobilized or regularly driven on a daily basis. If your car is on top of an ant hill or near a location where ants are moving subterranean- move it!
3. Inspect your property! As you can imagine, there are often clear signs of ants on your property. Before spending your time moving your vehicle, do a visual inspection of the area to ensure that there are no visible ant hills or subterranean access point for ants.
4. Call in professionals! If you know you have an ant problem – call in the pros! Be proactive!

Although you may never be able to completely prevent an ant infestation, some due diligence and preparation can save you a ton of headaches.
Removing Ant Infestations

1. Clean the inside of your car! If you live in an area that’s highly prone to ants or ant infestations, it’s time to consider a more regular cleaning of your vehicle. This step also segues into removal as well but it’s a key step in making sure that ants don’t find your car irresistible. A thorough vacuuming and a thorough cleaning of all sugary or sticky liquids is a good first step to removing ants from your car.
2. Clean the outside of your car! It’s highly recommended that you run your car through a powerful car wash that has the ability to spray underneath the vehicle. This will have the effect of dislodging any nesting material on the bottom of the car and also washing away the potential offenders.
3. Use pesticide or bait stations! Care should also be taken when applying pesticides to a vehicle. Best results will be achieved when pesticide is sprayed on the fender walls and underneath the vehicle. Use bait stations that are commercially available or professionally installed by pest technicians for further control.
4. Park your car someplace else on the property! If you know that ants are particularly difficult in one area try to move your car somewhere else. If this is not an option then maybe consider storing your car in a completely different location. Pay attention to where are you are seeing swarms of ants.

It may be tempting to just spray pesticide and move on but you need to remove the source of food, shelter or warmth for the ant nest. Once you get this under control, it will be easy for you to avoid getting nests of ants in the future.
Ants Are Not Going Away
Despite your desire to get rid of pesky ants in your home or in your car, the reality is that ants are never going to go away. We share our natural world with preacher such as ants and aunts will always find a place to nest and thrive if given the opportunity. Especially in certain parts of the country, like the south or the central states like Texas, being proactive about not getting ants in the first place is the best thing you can do.

The awful reality is at once you get ants it’s incredibly difficult to completely get rid of them! Ant resiliency is well documented and well known in the natural world. If you leave a car parked on or near an ant hill, you can be sure that your car will be full of ants and absolutely no time. If you leave your car dirty or with food or sticky substances all of the interior, you can be guaranteed that ants are not far behind!

Use the common sense steps listed above to really get down to basics and get rid of your ant problem in your car.

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