Can Bed Bugs Live In Cars? [Guide on how to Get Rid of Them]

the interior of a car showing the front seats and steering wheel

The idea of finding bed bugs in your car may seem far fetched. But if you’ve discovered these annoying creatures in the home then chances are they could have infested your ride too. Remember, these bugs are typically picked up in an external environment and brought into the home.

They may get into the clothes of hotel guests or enter their luggage and bags for onward transfer into their homes.

Can Bed Bugs live in Cars? Bed bugs can survive in cars as long as the car does not get overheated to the point where these bugs may die. They can live in different areas in the car such as under the seat covers, floor mats, and glove compartments. From there they may stay concealed while getting easy access to human blood which is their main source of food. Without food they can stay alive from a couple of days up to a year in some cases. 

A thorough visual inspection of the car should reveal the presence of bed bugs. Just be extra vigilant as their small body sizes and sneaky nature can make it easy for them to stay concealed.

Besides, their young ones can be even tinier which increases the chances of missing them during visual inspections.

Where do you Look for Bed Bugs in Cars?

If you suspect that there are bed bugs in your car, it is time to look for some proof. Some of the most common places where these creatures love to hide in cars include:

1. Under Seat Covers 

The seat covers are an easy target for bed bugs to hide in the car. This is because these creatures enjoy hiding in areas where they may get easy access inside the clothes of drivers and passengers.

Besides, car seat covers typically come in colors such as black and brown which provides the perfect opportunity for bed bugs to blend in without problems. If you’re serious about uncovering bed bugs in the car, this is one of the first places to look.

Do not hesitate to recline the seats and check all areas to look for the presence of these creatures.

2. Under Car Floor Mats 

The floor mats in cars are another popular hiding place for bed bugs. This is because the area is warm and seldom gets a look in by drivers and passengers. It is not uncommon for a driver to go for several weeks without lifting or checking the floor mats.

This provides an opportunity for the bugs to hide, reproduce, and multiply their numbers with little disturbance. If these bugs are truly present in your car, this could be one of the best places to find them.

3. Glove Compartment 

female passenger opening the glove compartment box in a car

Bed bugs may also nest in the glove compartment of your car. Like the other target areas, the glove compartment is seldom opened while providing warmth for the bugs and their larvae. If you’re searching for evidence of bed bugs in a vehicle, the glove compartment should be on top of the list of areas to look at.

This becomes even more critical when the glove box contains rugs and other fabrics bed bugs can easily conceal themselves in with little chance of discovery.

4. The Trunk 

The trunk of a car serves as the main storage area which can make them an easy target for bed bugs to stay hidden. The trunk typically features a fabric liner that offers genuine warmth for bed bugs to move around freely and blend in with little chance of detection.

No wonder these bugs love this area of the car. The majority of folks pick up bed bugs from external areas such as hotels to their homes via their clothes and luggage. It is not inconceivable for the bugs to travel from the luggage to the trunk.

5. Cracks and Crevices 

Bed bugs have a knack for hiding in cracks and crevices whether in the home, office, garage, or car. This is why you cannot afford not to pay attention to the cracks and crevices in your car if you’re serious about discovering these creatures.

Cracks and crevices in the interior areas such as the car door and ceiling should be a priority during the inspection process. USB ports, air vents, and other contours in the dashboard are other areas that should attract a lot of focus during the inspection process.

You could be amazed at how many bed bugs you might discover.

How do you get Rid of Bed Bugs in Cars?

Once you’ve noticed a few bed bugs in the car, it doesn’t take a genius to know that there could be a lot more hiding in different areas. Thus, putting in a plan of action to eradicate these bugs can be a smart option.

Here are the best ways to get rid of bed bugs in the car:

1. Regular Cleaning

Discovering the presence of these bugs in the car could be proof that it is not clean enough. This should spring you into action by making sure that it is regularly cleaned upside down with sources of clutter removed.

Remember, bed bugs love cluttered areas as it offers good spots for hiding. If possible, never store any sort of clothes in the car. It can provide opportunities for the bugs to be accidentally transferred to your home.

Note that once a few bed bugs find a way into your car, the probability of a full-blown infestation becomes high since these insects typically lay hundreds of eggs in their lifetime.

2. Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is probably the most effective form of treatment against any kind of insect infestation including bed bugs. This is because it involves direct heat application which kills bugs and insects immediately.

Make sure to steam clean all the applicable surfaces in the interior areas of the car. This includes the cracks and crevices in the dashboard to eradicate any existing bed bugs.

Regular steam cleaners used for cleaning carpets and floor areas at home should get the job done effectively. However, choose the maximum heat setting to guarantee the chances of getting the best results.

Some steam cleaners come with fabric attachments with cloth covers which may come in handy in the quest to apply the heat to maximum efficiency.

Have you read the article we wrote on the best steam cleaner for bed bugs? Click here to check out our top picks.

3. Pay Attention To Floor Mats and Sleep Covers

As you are aware by now, seat covers and floor mats are major target areas for bed bugs in the car. This is why you cannot afford to ignore them if you’re committed to getting rid of bed bugs from any vehicle.

Wash the floor mats and sleep covers regularly to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris. Additionally, steam cleaning them routinely can eradicate existing bugs that may be hiding in these spots.

Also, do not forget to inspect them for live bed bugs and other signs of an infestation. It can help you formulate the proper strategies to eliminate the bugs once and for all.

4. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth 

Diatomaceous Earth is a tried and tested chemical treatment for eliminating thriving bed bug populations. This powdery substance can be sprinkled in the interior areas of the car to annihilate existing bugs and other insects.

The good news is that the chemical is not toxic for humans and pets such as dogs, cats, and rabbits. Hence, you can use it regularly without the fear of being exposed to potential health complications. Just walk into your favorite hardware store or log onto Amazon to get as much as you need.

5. Call A Professional Fumigator 

person in gloves and protective gear spraying the interiors of a car

Professional fumigators can eliminate any thriving insect and bed bug populations in your car in a single session. These professionals utilize a wide range of chemical combinations that can eliminate even the most resistant bed bug strains.

This can be a last resort for anyone that has struggled with a car bed bug infestation after trying DIY methods without success. During a fumigation, the car is completely sealed to allow the strong chemicals to work to maximum effect.

A good tip is to place any personal items infested with bedbugs such as bed sheets, clothes, and blankets in the car during fumigation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Shall we take a look at a couple of the popular questions people ask about bed bugs living in cars?

How long can a bed bug live in a car?

Bed bugs can live up to a year in a car under the right conditions. If the car is used regularly then these pests may get access to food by sucking blood from the driver and passengers.

Does a car get hot enough to kill bed bugs?

The answer is no. Bed bugs can survive in extreme heat up to about 113 degrees Fahrenheit. This means the probability of them dying in a heated car is extremely low if not zero.

Can bed bugs hide in car seats?

Yes, car seats are a favorite hiding place for these creatures. It offers warmth and comfort for the bugs to hide, lay eggs, and lay low while also giving easy access to human blood.

Can bed bugs survive in a cold car?

Extreme cold lowers the chances of survival among bed bugs. If you live in a region where temperatures plummet significantly during winter, any bed bug populations in your car will likely die during that period.


Bed bugs can live in cars for months even without access to food as long as the temperatures do not go too low. These creatures typically hide under seat covers, floor mats, trunks, and other cracks and crevices in the car.

Regular inspections of these areas should reveal the presence of existing bed bugs if any for the right treatment to be formulated.

Gabriel Smith

Hello, my name is Gabriel and I LOVE to sleep. Okay, you’re right, a lot of people do like sleep. But my passion is actually not sleeping. My interest lies in the “theoretical part”. What to do before bedtime. What a good night’s sleep is. etc. In short, how to sleep well. I hope you share the same interest as me, and enjoy reading everything about sleep.

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