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How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Car

Updated on: June 14, 2021

An ant problem is truly one of the hardest pest problems we can have, and it’s even harder when they’re in your car. While it’s always convenient to get takeout or drive-through and eat the food in the car, it comes with that inevitable consequence. Luckily, there are many methods of getting rid of ants in your car, and it’s not that hard when you know the right ant trap ingredients and ant control measures.

So how do you get rid of ants in your car? First, be sure that your car is not near an ant hill or an entire colony. Clean your car’s interior and exterior and set up an ant bait trap to get rid of them. It’s also best to hire an exterminator who’s equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools.


The Reason Why There Are Ants in Your Car

Before we discuss ways to get rid of the ant infestation in your car, let’s first discuss why they’re there in the first place.

While it’s alarming to find ants in your car, they’re unlikely going to move in permanently. Just like many living creatures, ants are just essentially searching for one thing — food.

One of the main jobs of a worker ant is to do tasks that help the ant colony survive, and that includes foraging for food. When they discover a food source in your car, they bring the food back to their colony. If they don’t find food, they’ll likely move out.

Steps to Getting Rid of Ants in Your Car

It’s important to take note that a food source can be anything from an old burger wrapper, a fallen piece of candy, or an empty soda can. However, once ants are already in your car, removing the food source isn’t the only solution. You also have to move your car, vacuum your car’s interior, and eliminate the ant trail among others. Methods such as setting up an ant bait station, using liquid ant bait, or even hiring pest control may also be in order.

Move your car

Be aware of the area where you park your car. Parking next to an ant hill or foliage infested with ants may provoke sugar ants to enter your vehicle. If this is the case, move your car and park elsewhere.

However, keep in mind that ants leave behind trails of chemicals called pheromones. They use a pheromone trail to guide other members of the colony to the food sources that they found. Also, since they sometimes create satellite colonies, simply moving your car may not solve the infestation, which leads us to the next step.

Clean your car’s interior

Start with getting rid of all trash in your car. Thoroughly search through your car and throw away wrappers, empty food containers, bottles, cans — all that trash. Vacuum your car’s interior as well, especially its upholstery, floorboard, and trunk. Keep in mind that ants are extremely tiny creatures and can hide in any crack or crevice, so focus on those areas too. Be sure to clean up food stains as well.

Wash your car’s exterior

Take your car to a self-serve carwash or have it professionally cleaned. The important thing is you clean any parts of the car where a crazy ant may still be hiding, including the undercarriage, the wheel wells, and in and around your engine.

Don’t forget to also clean your tires and wheels. Your tires connect your car to the pavement, making them the contact ground for a pavement ant to enter your car.

Set up a bait trap or an ant killer

Place ant traps in your car to capture the foraging ants. An ant spray can also be an effective wipe-out for the ant trail. Ingredients like diatomaceous earth or baking soda can be a good ant bait for cars, which we’ll further discuss later.

Hire an exterminator

Sometimes, it’s safer and easier to leave it to the professionals, especially when you’re dealing with ant species like a carpenter ant or a fire ant. Exterminators are equipped with skills, knowledge, and materials to solve the ant invasion in your car.

Ant Baits and Killers You Can Use

Ant bait for cars isn’t limited to insecticide and ant repellent you can buy from a store. You can also make your own ant bait or ant killer with ingredients you can find at home.


You may think of cornmeal as a delicious dish, but it can be more than that. When an ant takes a bit of cornmeal, the ingredient expands in its guts and makes it bloated. This inevitably kills them.

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth comprises fossilized remains of aquatic organisms known as diatoms. It can solve your insect problems by absorbing the oils in their skeletons, which dries them out.

Baking soda

Baking soda kills ants by drying out their bodies, thus disturbing their natural chemistry. To use baking soda as ant bait, mix equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar together. Pour the mix into a shallow container and place it near the line of ants. The ants will be attracted to the sugar and will take it back to the ant nest.


To effectively use borax as an ant killer, mix it with water, sugar, and peanut butter. Take a plastic container, punch a few holes into it, and fill it with the borax mixture. Put the lid on tightly. Foraging ants will be attracted to the container because of the peanut butter and sugar. Just be sure not to use borax around your pets as it’s poisonous to animals.

Boric acid

Boric acid, as an active ingredient, has been proven to kill worker ants and their queen within three weeks of exposure by eroding their outer shells and stomachs.

Create a solution of ½ teaspoon of boric acid, 8 teaspoons of sugar, and 1 cup of warm water. Stir the mix until the sugar and boric acid are completely dissolved. Soak cotton balls and place them in areas where you’ve seen ants.

Be sure to wear gloves while working with boric acid and keep it away from pets and children.

Dish soap

Make dish soap spray with just dish soap, water, and a spray bottle. Fill a spray bottle to ¾ of the way, add 10 to 20 drops of dish soap, shake, and spray.


Vinegar destroys pheromone trails. Spray a circle around a line of ants and see how the ants inside the circle will be cut off the scent trail. The scent of vinegar scares them away because it ruins their pheromone trails.


Chalk is known to disrupt ants’ pheromone trail, thus throwing off their communication with the rest of the colony. Draw a line of chalk in their entrance to stop them from entering your car. Just remember to redraw the chalk line regularly.


Ants seem to be irritated by the smell of pepper, so go for black or red (cayenne) pepper as an ant repellent. Evidence has shown that sprinkling pepper behind appliances may help keep ants away, so it could actually work for your car too.


Mix 10 to 20 drops of peppermint essential oil with 2 cups of water, spray the mixture around the areas of your car, and let it dry. Just be sure to keep peppermint oil out of reach of pets.

Tea tree oil

For this method, mix 5 to 10 drops of tea tree oil with 2 cups of water and use it as a spray. You can also opt to soak cotton balls and place them around areas of your car. Just like peppermint oil, tea tree oil shouldn’t be accessible to pets.

Cinnamon leaf essential oil

Compounds in cinnamon leaf essential oil have been found effective at killing ants, including red ants that can have a painful bite. Powdered cinnamon can also repel ants. Saturate cotton balls with the oil and leave them where you’ve seen ants or sprinkle the powder around areas in your car.

Advion Ant Gel

Advion Ant Gel is a gel bait that’s consumed by the worker ants. The gel is brought to the colony to be shared, thus providing a high kill rate and getting rid of the colony in a short period of time.

Terro Ant Bait

Terro is a leading company in the US when it comes to killing pests such as ants. The Terro ant bait can get rid of the odorous house ant, the pharaoh ant, and even the Argentine ant. Terro liquid ant bait products give fast-acting elimination of the ant colony, while Terro Ant Killer Spray gives quick knockdown and long-lasting residual repellency for up to 6 weeks.

Home Plus Ant Bait

For this method, the ants will enter the trap to eat the baits inside. The Home Plus Ant Bait also attracts the queen. If she gets poisoned, she’ll come back to the nest and contaminate everyone else in it.

How Permakill Exterminating Can Help

Permakill Exterminating aims to provide the most scientifically advanced pest management services as they also deliver utmost safety and professionalism. If you’re dealing with pests such as scout ants, you can be certain that Permakill Exterminating can save the day. Even a virtually invisible ant like the ghost ant has no escape.

If you find a carpenter ant nest near or even inside your car, Permakill Exterminating will apply certain carpenter ant treatment techniques depending on the results of their inspections. Each option is based on your specific needs.

Plus, Permakill Exterminating values honesty, dependability, and customer service. Their customers always come back because they answer all calls, show up as promised, and solve their problems.

Call Permakill Exterminating now to get a quote!


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