How To Get Ants Out Of The Car

October 4, 2019

Ants are always on the lookout for a source of food to feed their colonies and a place to infest. They are tiny insects, and as such, can get to any place they deem fit. Once they see a nice, comfortable space, they can easily settle in and would be very hard to remove. No matter how rare this happens, ants can also find their way into your ride and turn it into their home.  This happens of course when you or your passengers are always eating in the car and always leave food inside, then you may have left the car doors or windows open. Your problem now would be, how to deal with ants in the car?

Unless you dipped your car in a river of chocolate, it would be very difficult for the ants to get inside a car. But if you are one of the unlucky ones who do have them inside your vehicle, you would need more than good luck to get them out if you want them to leave at once. 

Knowing ant behavior, this situation may likely resolve itself after a while; when they have depleted the food source inside your car, they will most probably go away. Unless you keep eating and leaving food wastes inside, in which case it is the car owner that is the problem, they would go away and look for another food source. But then again, can you imagine driving for a couple of hours each day with a colony of ants crawling beside you?

Before we dive into this problem, let us find out what ants are all about.


We should start by saying that not all ants are pests.  In fact, they are among those insects that we can classify as beneficial. Formicidae is their scientific name. There are more than 10,000 species of ants, and they can be found all throughout the world, save for Antarctica. Most of their species are actually found in the tropical forests, where they make up around half of the insect population there. They are close relatives of the bees and wasps but are more confused with termites in terms of appearance. Their size range from .08 to 1 inch and are omnivores. Most of their species are actually found in the tropical forests, where they make up around half of the insect population there. 

Out there in the wild, ants are nothing but beneficial. They help in the ecosystem by clearing up the dead animals’ carcasses, which helps prevent germs and diseases that might have spread had these dead bodies be allowed to rot out in the open. Ants also help aerate the soil. This prevents soil compacting, and allows plants to grow. The series of tunnels that they build also helps nutrients to spread evenly.  

As you can see, ants only become pests when their colonies get near human dwellings. 


Like most insects, ants go through a complete metamorphosis. They pass through the egg, larval, pupal, and adult stages. After the eggs hatch, they become larvae, which do not look like their adult counterparts at all. Larvae are not mobile and they look like worms.

Only the queen can lay eggs. Her main purpose is to make sure the colony survives by continuing to produce eggs. The rest of the female members of the colony are sterile and are the ones tasked to do all the hard work, like foraging for food, protecting the colony, cleaning the nests, caring for the young, and sometimes attacking other colonies. The male ants’ sole purpose is to mate with the queen, then they die soon after.

Do These Tiny Insects Pose A Danger To The Home?

People are more familiar with termites as the kings of destruction, but not everyone seems to be aware that ants can cause more structural damage than termites can.  Carpenter ants, in particular, can cause damage that can put a significant dent in your bank account. The tunnel through wood, instead of eating them as termites do.  They also tunnel through support beams that can truly be detrimental.  

Types Of Ants Commonly Found In Households

Carpenter Ants 

The size of the carpenter ants is about ¼  to ½ inches in length, and they are black in colour. These ants are capable of destroying structures by boring holes through wood.  This type of ants is the most destructive among the house ants; they have caused more structural damage as compared to the termites. They build their nests into the structural wood of houses by chewing on it to dig tunnels. They actually prefer wood that is wet or has been wet but is also willing to nest in dry, undamaged wood. Carpenter ants would always come from the outside, and once inside, they look for wood that they can convert into their nests.  

Argentine Ants 

Like all household pests, they invade the house in search of food and water.  Indoors, they set up their nests on the ground, in cracks on the wall, or in holes in the house. They live under rocks, or among leaf litter because they are not capable of digging deep in the ground. They also live in abandoned ants’ nests.

Crazy Ants 

Crazy ants do not bite but are considered nuisance pests. They are known as crazy ants because when they are disturbed, they move around crazily and without any direction.  Crazy ants can build their nests both indoors and outdoors. They can travel long distances to look for food. They build their nests either on dry sites or damp sites and can be found in hollow trees, rotten wood, under stones, under logs, among the rubbish, and debris. 

European Fire Ants

European fire ants can be about 2.2 to 2.8 mm in length and are light to dark brown in color. They are one of the most invasive ants in the world. They sting, and their stings are very painful. They can be found in the gardens, lawns, under the rock, or wood debris. During the cold months, they find their way inside the house and into the bathroom, under the bathtub, or in the heaters.  

So What To Do When There Are Ants In A Car?

First off, cars are infested only when they are immobile for some time. Cars are not meant to be parked for months and years. They are meant to be driven, so drive them.  Using them at least twice or thrice a week would not allow ants to invade them. If you have nowhere to go, then just take it for a leisurely spin. Besides, it would be good for your car’s health.

Ants love food that has been left on the floor for days. French fries, potato chips, bread crumbs, and other similar food items are all very nice for these ants. Then make sure your windows are rolled up when you are parked. Not only will you be attracting ants when your window is rolled down, but you may have a virtual zoo inside, with all types of spiders, birds, wasps, bees, and many other creatures inside. Avoid parking in areas near anthills or under trees that have lots of ants.  

You can also prevent future infestation by throwing old food bags and food remnants in your car, that is if you cannot avoid eating in the car. I know this will be difficult, especially if you have children, so let us just be vigilant and inspect the car once in a while for food residue.

Have your car washed and the interior vacuumed? Or wash the car yourself for better results. Ants do not like clean areas, they get bored by it and would get hungry in the process.  Vacuum all places where food debris may have fallen.  

Having done all of these and yet you still have that ant problem, then maybe there is something else that is hidden there. Try to inspect under the seats, in the compartment, and every nook and cranny. Is there an old sandwich? A dead insect? Or spilled soda in the air vents? Ants would not be inside the car if there is no cause for it. If the problem is in the air vents, use a Q-Tip to clean it. 

You may use natural remedies too. Ants are averse to salt, pepper, and mint.  Simply sprinkle this around the car. The mint also acts as a car freshener. Diatomaceous earth can also help. Sprinkle this around the doors of your car as a non-toxic ant controller. Let it sit in the car for 1 whole day, then remove by using a damp cloth. This will kill the ants, but not harmful to humans.  

Ants can really cause some serious problems inside your car.  They can be a distraction, what with their stinging bites every now and then while you drive. 

If you have other pest problems in your household, then let the Durham exterminator for ants in North Carolina help you.  

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