Cars lined up to be sold

Bargain Bugs: Bed Bugs in Used Cars

Used cars can be great. They tend to be a lot cheaper than new cars, and can sometimes be an interesting challenge for those who enjoy repairing cars. Additionally, it’s interesting to be one of the owners in the car’s history. The car you’re driving has a history, almost a life of its own, and you’re a part of it. However, you never know what the previous owner’s life was like, or what their home was like. They might have left you an unpleasant surprise in your used car: bed bugs.

Traveling Bugs

It is well-known that bed bugs love to travel. They end up in airplanes, hotels, schools, hospitals, and traveling from apartment to apartment in multi-tenant buildings. So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that you can end up with bed bugs in your car. While infestations in cars are rare, they can certainly happen, and could cause a whole host of problems. You use your car to get to a variety of different places: your home, your workplace, your friends and family’s homes, and more. If you have bed bugs in your car, you could transport them on your clothing or your personal belongings to all of those places. 

Where Would Bed Bugs Hide in My Car?

In your home, bed bugs would usually be found, unsurprisingly, in your bed or other furniture. They like wooden and upholstered furniture, and can burrow into your carpet or rugs as well. If you bring them home on your clothing, they can travel to other items of clothing in your closet, your hamper, or your dresser. In your car, pretty much every surface is vulnerable, but especially your seats and your floor mats. Any upholstered surface could play host to bed bugs. Cloth seats are very easy for them to burrow into. If you have rubber floor mats, you’re in better shape than if you have cloth floor mats. You’re also at less of a risk if you have leather seats, as the leather is harder for them to climb on. 

How Do I Find Them?

Usually, it’s not exceptionally hard to find bed bugs. You look for the small black fecal stains they leave behind, keep an eye out for the movement of bed bugs themselves, and pay attention to any small, red, itchy welts on your body, as they may be bed bug bites. However, it can be a little trickier to find bed bugs in cars. If you have a car with a beige interior, you can probably spot the bed bugs fairly easily, but with a black interior, it’s a bit of a challenge. You would need to use a very bright flashlight to spot fecal stains, and to look out for any movement along the inside of your car.

Aren’t Used Cars Cleaned Before They’re Sold?

While it’s true that pre-owned vehicles are cleaned before they’re put out for sale most of the time, that doesn’t necessarily mean that bed bugs can be removed with a simple cleaning. Before a used car is put out for sale, the people at the dealership will probably wash and dry the outside, use cleaning products to remove any major stains on the upholstery inside the car, and vacuum out the inside. While you might think the cleaning products used would kill the bugs, or they’d be sucked up inside the vacuum, unfortunately there’s no way to get all of the bugs out of the car using these methods.

Can I Get Rid of Them Myself?

Getting bed bugs out of a small area like a car might sound simple and you might be tempted to try it yourself, but that’s not a good idea. Deep cleaning your car will not remove bed bugs, and bed bug removal products, such as neem oil and bed bug foggers, simply don’t work. You really need to have a professional come treat your car to make sure every last bug is gone.

How Do I Get Rid of Them?

You may already know that Bed Bug BBQ uses heat treatment to get rid of bed bugs, but you might be wondering if it’s possible to use heat treatment in your car. The answer is yes! This bed bug extermination process gets rid of bed bugs in just one day and won’t fill your car with chemicals! Contact Bed Bug BBQ today for a FREE quote and inspection of your used car at (216) 221-1227 or through our website, and check out our other bed bug informational resources on identification, prevention, and eradication.

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