If bed bugs should receive an award for things they do best, it would be the “best in hitchhiking” award. Because of this remarkable ability, bed bugs can effortlessly travel and move to different locations by lodging onto people’s personal belongings especially items made of fabric including clothes, backpacks, shoes, suitcases, handbags, and upholstered furniture. This means that bed bugs can infiltrate any home or property as long as they get the chance to hitchhike.
However, if you assume that a household or bedroom is the only place where bed bugs thrive and settle in, think again. Bed bugs can also infest other places other than your home and among these spots where bed bugs will potentially find refuge is your CAR.
While it is true that bed bugs are found in many hotels and households, their hitchhiking ability allows them to set foot inside cars and vehicles, which can also provide enough space for hiding and breeding. A bed bug infestation inside a car may not be very common, but take it or leave it, the car has various areas containing cracks or crevices ideal for bed bug. Hence, if you suspect a bed bug activity inside your vehicles, you better consider taking pest control methods and other preventive measures immediately before that creepy crawlies spread any further into your property.
How to Treat Bed Bugs in the Car
Bed bug removal done in the car is not as challenging as the one conducted inside the household. Considering the rather small and limited infested zone, you can definitely carry out a pest control procedure in the car with more ease. Here are five of the basic steps to treating bed bugs in your car:
Mackie (2022) suggests confirming the existence of an infestation prior to applying any pest control treatment since treatments can cost you time and money. Thus, you must first make sure that there really exists an infestation by gathering physical evidence of the critters. When doing a thorough inspection of your vehicle, you have to check the car seats, floors, and any cracks or crevices and look for these signs:
a) Bed bug excrements.
These dark-colored fecal matters appear similar to black spots made by a marker. They may be found on the seams or edges of floor mats and car seats.
b) Exoskeletons (molted skin).
Bed bugs shed skin about 5 times during their lifetime. Thus, you can find their exoskeletons scattered in their dwelling areas.
c) Blood stains.
One sure sign you may have bed bug are small bloodstains on fabric. These stains are usually a result of squashed b-bugs.
Bed bug eggs and eggshells are yellowish in color and are usually found in the critters’ hiding spots.
e) Live bed bugs.
Although they are rarely seen by the naked eye because of their minute size and very subtle movements, you may see a couple of live b-bugs crawling in your car.
If you have red itchy red bite marks that come together in clusters, you may have been bitten by bed bugs although you may easily think they are mosquito bites. B-bugs are ectoparasites whose means of survival is warm human blood.
Once you have spotted these telltale signs of b-bugs in your car, you must act immediately and apply the following tips:
Increase the temperature inside your car.
Temperatures considered lethal enough to eliminate b-bugs are above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, you have to ensure your car’s interior gets this desired hotness. Parking your car for several hours in areas that have direct sun exposure is one way to achieve this. You may also cover with dark cloth or casing the windows to trap the heat within. Additionally, you may use a portable heater and other methods that require the application of heat. Heat treatment has been proven effective for killing bed bugs. Kripena (2022) suggests the use of heating equipment like a steam cleaner that releases no less than 120 degrees Fahrenheit of heat.
Apply diatomaceous earth (DE).
Diatomaceous earth is a chemical-free substance with a powdery texture. DE is known as one of the most effective bed bug home remedies and is designed to dehydrate the bugs by absorbing the bugs’ oils and fats, thereby killing them in the process. To apply, you simply have to sprinkle DE on areas where bed bugs may be hiding such as cracks or crevices in various spots in your car. Since b-bugs crawl, the tiny shards of DE will tear their fragile bodies to pieces. Just wait for a couple of days after using DE and you will get your desired results. Be careful though. Inhaling DE can be dangerous to your lungs and other respiratory organs. Thus, wear masks and gloves when applying the substance.
Get rid of the clutter.
It has always been emphasized by pest control experts how clutter provides bugs and other pests extra rooms to hide and thrive. That is why to keep your car free from critters like b-bugs, you have to remove things such as food wrappers, unused boxes, clothes, and other fabric which you might have stored in the car. It is important to keep the interiors of your car clean and clutter-free to make it less attractive to b-bugs.
While steam cleaning helps in bed bug removal since the steam can penetrate those tiny nooks and crannies in the car, vacuum cleaning also proves to be effective when it comes to sucking the pesky critters out of their hidey-hole. You need to thoroughly vacuum the interior parts of your car, especially the floors and car seats.
Wash floor mats, seat cushions, and seat covers.
Washing definitely helps eliminate any pests lingering in your car’s seat cushions, seat covers, and floor mats. It is recommended by pest control professionals to use hot water when washing items made of fabric and to dry these materials under high heat as well to really kill remaining bed bug and their eggs.
No more bed bug hitchhikers!
These five ways of keeping bed bugs out of your car surely work along with the thorough and consistent application of other preventive measures. As per a trusted bed bug company in York, PA, “One useful tip for car owners is to be extra careful when purchasing items, especially second-hand furniture, and then placing them inside your car.”
A lot of second-hand padded furniture may have been infested by b-bugs. If coming on a holiday or tour, it is also best to check your suitcases and other travel essentials before taking them back inside your home, and, if you decide to apply pesticides to kill bed bugs, seek advice and assistance from a pest control professional first to avoid unnecessary failure and hazards.