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Red ants crawling on car window.

You’re on your way to work. Traffic isn’t bad and your favorite song just came on the radio. Looks like it’s going to be a good day. Then something tickles your hand. It’s a tiny ant and you brush it off. A minute later there’s another. And another. You look down and they’re everywhere. Where did they come from?

Picking up these miniature hitchhikers doesn’t happen often but when it does, you need a fast and effective strategy to get rid of them. We’ll explain why they decided to join your commute and tell you how to get ants out of your car. If your particular insect hijacking is one step from a horror film or if you just can't stand ants, your neighborhood pest control experts at Plunkett’s are always happy to help.

Why Are There Ants In My Car?

Ants aren’t interested in how your Tesla handles, they’re there for one reason: food. Worker ants leave their colony in search of sweet, sugar-rich snacks to bring back to their nest. If you find more than a few strays in your vehicle, it likely means they hit paydirt.


Check to see if you parked near a nest. If you left your car unused for an extended period of time, neighboring ants could forage a trail in this new stable environment. Scan the area for signs of anthills. Look along cracks in the pavement and the area where dirt meets concrete. If you do discover a nest, consider moving your car elsewhere.

Or, call Plunkett’s and have them treat the nest and surrounding areas for ants to avoid future issues. Our professionally trained technicians might even be able to find a nest you haven’t been able to locate.

How Do I Get Rid of Ants in My Car?

There are several layers of automotive ant removal you can try. Follow them in this order:

1. Clean Your Car

Once you remove any food, ants will likely move on to other hunting grounds. Clean out all cans, bottles and food containers, vacuum up crumbs and make sure you get unseen areas like under floor mats.You’ll also want to run your car through a car wash. After ants discover a food cache, they create a pheromone trail to mark the route for others. Giving the exterior of your car a good wash will erase this big “open buffet” arrow pointing at your car.

2. Hire a Pest Professional

If your situation isn’t improving, it may be time for stronger artillery. Before you buy a chemical heavy ant spray at the hardware store, talk to a pest control expert. Over the counter chemical pesticides like ant spray should not be used in a car, as they can be dangerous in an enclosed space and have other potential risks. If they are misapplied, you risk impacting how effective a professional product will be in the future. Our technicians can recommend and administer a pesticide in the right dose that won’t make your car toxic. You may need to stay out of your car for a few hours while the treatment dies, but then it will be safe.

3. What Not to Do: Ant Traps & Baits

If you do want to try to get rid of the ants on your own, you could try over the counter baits. If you do want to put out bait, you should make sure to set up the traps and then leave your car unused for a few days to allow the ants to find and feed on the bait. Once the ants have had time to be lured to the bait, you can continue with a thorough cleaning of your car. However, be warned, in some cases the sweet gel bait may draw more ants into your car and cause a larger problem than you had before.

Remember, you can always call a pest professional if the problem is too big for you to handle on your own.

Prevent Ants in Car From Coming Back

Once you remove ants from your car, you don’t want to risk a recurrence. Here are a few simple reminders to keep your Cadillac from becoming a Cadill-ant:

  • Keep your car clean
  • Vacuum regularly
  • Clean up spilled drinks right away
  • Check regular parking areas for ants

Ants in your car are only foraging, not creating nests, so the first line of defense will be to remove their food source. In addition to these basic practices, avoid parking under trees. Ants could drop down from above.

Get Professional Help With Ants

At Plunkett’s we don’t want ants in your vans to become a driving hazard. Contact us today and we’ll drive ants out of your car, your home, your business and anywhere else before they make you say “uncle.” Plunkett’s proudly serves all your local pest control needs.At Plunkett’s we don’t want ants in your vans to become a driving hazard. Contact us today and we’ll drive ants out of your car, your home, your business and anywhere else before they make you say “uncle.”


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