Can ants get in your car? Yes, they can. They can also be a potential distraction, crawling on your legs and arms and even delivering potentially painful bites or stings as you drive.

ants in car

Common ant species, such as fire ants, can also damage your car, potentially infesting its electrical system. Relays, switches and wiring insulation may be attractive to some ants. Unfortunately, repairing damage to these components of your automobile can be quite costly.

Why do ants get in cars?

If you see ants in your car, the first thing you want to check for is whether or not you parked on an ant hill. It’s also possible the ants randomly stumbled across your car in search of something to eat. If they find nothing, they may move on. On the other hand, if they find crumbs, sticky soda residue, food wrappers and other ant treats, they’ll probably send back fellow foragers.

How do I help get rid of ants in my car?

When it comes to helping get rid of ants in your car, take these three simple steps.

1. Move your car

As mentioned above, it’s possible that ants discovered your car because you parked on top of an anthill or near foliage infested with ants. If you can, park elsewhere, but remember that ants leave behind trails of chemicals known as pheromones. Ants use these pheromones to direct other members of the colony to the food sources they've discovered. Unless you move your car out of the ants' range, they may return. Also, because ants sometimes establish satellite colonies, simply moving your car may not help, which leads to the next step.

2. Clean the interior of your car

Vacuum your car's upholstery, floorboard and trunk (or hatchback) thoroughly. Remember, ants are very small and can hide in virtually any crack or crevice. Next, make sure to remove any loose food, no matter how insignificant a crumb may seem to be. Clean up any food stains. Also, discard any food wrappers or empty food containers, including any drink cups, bottles or cans.

3. Wash the exterior of your car

Have your car professionally cleaned, or take it to a self-serve car wash. Just be sure to clean any parts of your automobile where ants may still be hiding, such as the undercarriage, the wheel wells and under the hood (in and around your engine).

Of course, if you're feeling overwhelmed by ants, either in your car or at home, call Terminix®. Our technicians will work with you to develop a strategy for controlling these tiny, but annoying, pests.