Can Ants Survive in a Hot Car? How to Get Rid of Them

Ants are pests that live all over the world. They’re almost everywhere, and you can find a colony of ants inside your house and in your yard.

They are typically found in warm climates; however, they can survive cold weather if they find food and shelter.

This is why when temperatures drop, you can expect to see ants inside buildings and houses where the climate is warmer. Cars are also another example of the perfect environment for ants to thrive.

The most frequently asked question is whether or not ants can survive in a hot car.

Ants are resilient insects and can withstand high temperatures between 59°F and 122°F. This is why they can survive places with high temperatures like those in a hot car.

There are many studies that show that ants can survive temperatures up to 100°F. One thing you need to keep in mind is that ants are attracted to your car because they love the warm environment it provides.

They are also the type of species that loves to feast on crumbs and drinks that may have been left behind.

The most common ant species is the carpenter ant (Cacophonous Pennsylvanicus), and this ant is very destructive. They can chew through woods, foam, and even electrical wirings.

carpenter ant

Don’t fret if you are dealing with ants inside your car. There are simple steps to get rid of them and prevent them from coming back.

Related Articles: Do Ants Die in Water?

How to Safely Get Rid Of Ants Inside Your car

Ants can invade your car. They can crawl through the vehicle’s seams and even crawl under the hood.

This can cause severe damage to the engine, electrical system, and the car’s interior. Here’s a straightforward process on how to clear out the ants.  

Step 1: Do An Inspection

The first action that you need to do when you encounter ants in your car is to check where you parked your vehicle.

See if your spot is directly over an anthill or touching an ant trail. If this is the case, remove your car away from it immediately. 

Afterward, inspect if the ants have made it through other parts of your vehicle, such as:

  • Wheel wells
  • Engine compartments
  • Floor Mats
  • Seat Covers
  • Compartments inside the house

Step 2: Remove All Food Source

Although ants are unlikely to form a colony inside your car, those who have made it in your car will look for food. Throw away all food items, food packaging, and even trash items that might smell like food.

Furthermore, remove all food crumbs under the carpeting and matting inside your car. It is vital to remove all food sources inside your car because this is a key source of the problem.

food crumbs inside car

Step 3: Use a Vacuum Cleaner 

This might be the easiest way to eradicate ants. Start to vacuum the upholstery and then work down your way to the floor as you usually would. Also, do not forget to reach under the seats as far as possible.

A good vacuum cleaner can clean up all the remaining food crumbs on your floor mat, and it can also suck up the ants that are hiding in tight spaces in your car.  

Step 4: Use Natural Home Remedies To Repel The Ants 

For some reasons, ants hate the smell of some natural fragrance that humans love. Hence, using these DIY home remedies is one of the safest ways to repel these pests. 

  • Lemon extract – Squeeze three lemons and mix them with 10-15 ml of water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture directly on the ants to kill them. You may also spray this mixture on entry points to prevent them from entering your car.
  • Peppermint – Using peppermint oil will not only drive away those tiny ants, but it will also leave your car smelling fresh. Mix 10 drops of peppermint essential oil and 2 cups of water in a clean bottle spray. Like the lemon extract, spray it directly to the ants and entry points.
  • Chalk – Using chalk is the oldest technique in naturally repelling ants away from your car or any other place. It is also the easiest to do as you only have to draw chalk lines around your tires. This will prevent the ants from climbing your car as they cannot cross the chalk line.

Extra Step: Steer Clear of the Following

There are things that you need to step away from when dealing with ants inside your car. The following are the top on the list:

  • Glue traps – This type of tool makes use of a sticky substance to trap the ants, thus, it is not a good idea to use inside the car. Especially when you have kids in the car with you, as they might be the ones to get trapped in the glue.
  • Aerosol ant spray – Using this type of ant killer is a bad idea. They contain insecticides, making them dangerous to use in confined spaces such as inside your vehicle.
  • Boric acid – Due to the small space, boric acid is not a good idea. Any residue left in the car will combine with the air and can be circulated inside your car for long periods.

Read More: Why Does Soapy Water Kill Ants?

Why Are Ants Inside Your Car

Here are two major reasons why ants can be found inside your car.

  • It’s Easy Access – Just like any other living creature, ants need food to survive. Ants are attracted to your car because it has several openings just big enough for them to squeeze through. They will use the holes in the vehicle’s floor mats, the door seals, and even the windows to get into the car. Once inside your car, they can purge the foam seats, crumbs on the floor, and water left behind by the owner.
  • They Were Carried In – Ants are tiny pests that can easily be carried in by humans through their clothes, shoes, bags, and all the stuff you carry inside your car.

What Are The Types of Ants Found inside Your Car

There are three types of car ants: carpenter ants, army ants, and fire ants. Some of these ants are very dangerous and can even be fatal. The most common types of ants found inside your car are:

The Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are native to North America. They can be found throughout the United States and Canada. Carpenter ants can build large nests in wood.

Fire Ants

These ants can be found in the southeastern and midwestern states of the United States.

The Argentine Ants

The Argentine ants are one of the most dangerous ants in the world. These ants are native to Argentina, but they’ve been spreading throughout the southern states of the U.S. Since 2010, there have been cases of death caused by these ants.

argentine ants

Among the three, the most common ant in cars is the carpenter ant.

Final Thoughts

Ants are common pests that you might find in your house or yard, but one of the most common places to find them is inside cars. And because of their resiliency, they can survive even extreme temperatures.

Nevertheless, dealing with them is not that hard. As you can see, there are various ways to get rid of ants and stop them from finding their way inside your car.

In fact, you do not need any advanced tools and harmful insecticides to kill ants. Natural home remedies and DIY sprays will work and eliminate the ants inside your car just fine.

Keeping your car’s interior free from crumbs partnered with regular vacuuming significantly also decreases their chances of getting in.