How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Car

Kill bed bugs in a car

In this article, we will answer the question: How to get rid of bed bugs in a car?
If you’ve ever had the unfortunate encounter with bed bugs, you might be surprised to learn that they can also make themselves at home in your car. These tiny pests have a knack for hitchhiking and can easily infest your vehicle, causing headaches and frustration.

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of bed bugs in cars, discussing how they get there, the signs of an infestation, and steps you can take to prevent and tackle this problem. By understanding the risks and implementing preventive measures, you can keep your car bed bug-free and enjoy worry-free travels.


Can You Get Bed Bugs in Your Car?

Yes, it is possible to get bed bugs in your car. They are excellent hitchhikers and can latch onto clothing, bags, or other items, making their way into your vehicle.


Can Bed Bugs live in Leather Car Seats?

Yes, they can live in leather car seats. They are adept at hiding in various materials, including fabric, upholstery, and leather. Leather car seats provide crevices and seams where they can seek refuge and reproduce.


Can Bed Bugs Survive in a Hot Car?

They are sensitive to high temperatures and prolonged exposure to extreme heat can be lethal to them. However, the survival of bed bugs in a hot car depends on various factors such as the temperature, duration of exposure, and the specific conditions inside the vehicle.


How hot does a Car have to be to get rid of Bed bugs?

To effectively kill bed bugs, including their eggs, in a car, temperatures of around 50 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit – Source) or higher are typically required. Sustained exposure to these high temperatures can be lethal to bed bugs at all life stages.

The interior of a parked car can become hot on a sunny day, especially during the summer months. However, it’s important to note that the temperature inside a car can vary depending on factors such as outside temperature, sunlight exposure, and vehicle color. It may not consistently reach the necessary temperature to kill bed bugs.

Attempting to raise the temperature to kill them solely by parking your vehicle in the sun or using other improvised methods may not be reliable or consistent enough to eradicate the infestation completely.

Heat is one of the most effective ways to get rid of bed bugs. You can indeed use many items to get rid of them in your home and in your car. If you are interested in such cases you can have a look at our article on Electric Blankets and Bed Bugs.


Can Bed Bugs Live survive the Winter in a Car?

The resilience of bed bugs allows them to potentially survive in a car during winter months, although their ability to do so is influenced by various factors. Generally, extreme temperatures can be challenging for these insects to endure, including freezing temperatures. However, they can employ certain survival strategies and adapt to their environment to some extent.

In colder temperatures, they can enter a state of diapause, which is a type of dormancy that helps them conserve energy and withstand adverse conditions. During diapause, they can slow down their metabolism and become less active, which can increase their chances of survival.

While freezing temperatures can potentially kill bed bugs, it’s important to consider the conditions inside the vehicle. Factors such as insulation, airflow, and access to heat sources can impact their survival. For instance, if the car provides some degree of insulation or if it receives occasional warmth from the sun or other heat sources, they may be able to survive.

However, it’s important to note that prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures, especially well below freezing, can be lethal to these insects. If the car remains consistently cold and there are no alternate heat sources or sheltered areas for the bed bugs, their chances of survival decrease significantly.


Signs of Bed Bugs in Your Car

Here are some signs to look for that may indicate the presence of bed bugs in your car:

  • Visible bugs: Look for reddish-brown, apple seed-sized adult bed bugs crawling on surfaces. Particularly in crevices and folds of upholstery or car seats.
  • Bed bug excrement: Dark brown or black stains resembling small dots or smears on surfaces they infest.
  • Shed skins: Translucent discarded exoskeletons found near hiding spots, such as seams or crevices of vehicle seats.
  • Eggs and eggshells: Tiny, white eggs resembling grains of rice in clusters or attached to surfaces.
  • Bite marks: Red, itchy welts on exposed skin, although bite marks may not be exclusive to car infestations.
  • Musty odor: Persistent, sweet, musty smell caused by bed bug pheromones in enclosed spaces.


How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Car

Getting rid of bed bugs in a car can be challenging, but with proper measures, it is possible to eliminate them. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get rid of bed bugs in your car:

  • Inspection: Thoroughly inspect your car for signs of bed bugs, including live bugs, eggs, shed skins, or dark stains. Pay close attention to seams, crevices, upholstery, mats, and any cracks or creases.
  • Vacuuming: Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to vacuum all surfaces of your vehicle, including seats, floor mats, and carpeting. Pay extra attention to seams, crevices, and other hiding spots where they may be present. Dispose of the vacuum bag or empty the canister into a sealed bag.
  • Steam cleaning: If possible, use a steam cleaner to treat upholstery, car seats, and other infested areas. Bed bugs and their eggs can be effectively eliminated by the intense heat generated from steam. Ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take precautions to prevent excessive moisture on sensitive automobile components.
  • Hot car treatment: On a hot, sunny day, park your vehicle in direct sunlight with the windows closed. The interior temperature can rise significantly, potentially reaching temperatures lethal to bed bugs. However, this method may not guarantee complete eradication.
  • Heat treatment: If the infestation persists or is severe, consult a professional pest control service that offers heat treatment for vehicles. They will use specialized equipment to raise the temperature inside the car to levels that can effectively kill bugs and their eggs.
  • Cleaning and sealing: Clean and wipe down all surfaces of the vehicle using hot, soapy water. Pay attention to areas where they were found. Consider using bed bug-proof encasements for car seats or upholstery to prevent future infestations.
  • Prevention: To prevent re-infestation, practice good hygiene and cleanliness in your automobile. Regularly inspect and vacuum your car, especially after traveling or being in environments where they may be present.


Can I get Bed bugs from Someone riding in my Car?

The chances of contracting bed bugs directly from someone who rides in your car are low. They typically do not transfer from person to person through direct contact like lice or other parasites. They primarily infest environments such as bedding, upholstered furniture, and cracks and crevices where they can hide and reproduce.

However, there is a slight possibility of transporting them indirectly through personal belongings or items that have been in contact with infested areas. For example, if someone has bed bugs on their clothing, bags, or personal belongings, and these items are placed in your car. It could potentially introduce these insects into your vehicle.


How to avoid bringing Bed Bugs in my Car?

To help avoid getting bed bugs in your car, you can follow these preventive measures:

  • Be cautious with secondhand items: When acquiring used furniture, clothing, or other items, carefully inspect them for signs of these insects. Avoid bringing infested items into your car without proper treatment.
  • Create a barrier: Consider using bed bug-proof encasements for car seats or upholstery. These covers can help prevent them from hiding in the fabric. And make it easier to detect and address any potential infestations.
  • Practice good hygiene: Regularly clean your car, paying attention to cracks, crevices, and upholstery. Vacuuming can help remove any potential hitchhikers. Dispose of vacuum bags or empty the canister into a sealed bag.
  • Avoid known infested areas: If you are aware of places that have a history of infestations, take extra precautions when parking or storing your vehicle in those areas. Be mindful when using public parking lots, hotel garages, or other places where they can potentially be present.
  • Inspect belongings: Before placing personal belongings or items in your car, especially if they have been in contact with potentially infested areas, carefully inspect them for any signs of bed bugs. Pay attention to luggage, bags, clothing, and other items that could harbor bed bugs.
  • Educate yourself: Learn about the signs of infestations, such as live bugs, eggs, shed skins, or dark stains. This knowledge will help you identify and address any potential issues early on.



In this article, we answered the question: How to get rid of bed bugs in a car?
Dealing with these unwanted guests in your car can be a nuisance, but with awareness and proper actions, you can effectively manage and prevent infestations. Regular inspections, cleanliness, and taking precautions when encountering potentially infested areas can go a long way in keeping these pesky bugs at bay. Remember to act promptly if you suspect a bed bug problem. By staying vigilant, you can ensure a comfortable and bug-free ride in your car.

If you want to treat your car with heat, to ensure bed bug eradication. You can use a portable heater designed for bed bugs. To check the best bed bugs heater, you can have a look at our Heaters for Bed Bugs Buying Guide.