How Do I Keep Bed Bugs Out of My Car?

Line of cars in a lot

There are a lot of hitchhiker horror stories. There are dozens of movies about it. The Hitchhiker. The Hitcher. The Hitcher II: I’ve Been Waiting. Curve. Quicksilver Highway. Hitchhiker Massacre. Dead End. And many more. All these media, all on the topic of scary folks trying to catch a ride. Despite how common a horror topic car hitchhikers are, these movies seem to forget the most common horror hitchhikers of all: pests.

Bed bugs are one horrific type of hitchhiker that is unfortunately all-too-real. Given the opportunity, bed bugs will sneak into your car and hitchhike all the way home with you. You’ll inadvertently transport them everywhere you go and they’ll make themselves at home with you and wherever you stay. Bed bug hitchhikers are a real problem, but fortunately, that means there are real solutions to that problem. All it takes to prevent bed bugs from hitchhiking in your car is a little knowledge and preparation. These are our best tips for keeping bed bugs out of your car:

Clean your car regularly and thoroughly. 

It’s disarmingly easy for even very tidy people to let their cars get messy. Unfortunately, the messier your car, the easier it is for bed bugs to hide inside. Bed bugs tend to cling to and hide inside transported objects. Prevent bed bugs from getting into and hiding in your car by regularly practicing the following cleaning practices: 

  • Remove the floor mats. Take them outside. Shake them. This will remove the loose dust, dirt, and other debris. Set them down in your driveway or garage floor and use a vacuum to pick up anything that wasn’t already shaken off. 
  • Clear out any trash. Papers, coins, cans, cups, and so on. Use latex gloves in case anything has gotten a little too gross. Place all the trash in a garbage bag. Don’t forget to clear out places like the center console, cup holders, glove box, and both between and under the seats.
  • Wipe out cupholders. You can use your average surface or glass cleaner. Spray it in, let it sit for five minutes, and then wipe it out. Do this same process for other plastic crevices like the center console, interior of doors, and so on.
  • Use disinfectant wipes on all other surfaces. Buttons, dashboard, console. You can use q-tips to clean in the slots in the vents as well.
  • Use carpet cleaner on all carpets. Spray it on, scrub it with a stiff brush, and let it dry. 
  • Vacuum everything. This is your final step. Anything that hasn’t already been caught (including wayward bed bug eggs) will be sucked up by the vacuum tube.

Learn how to inspect a car for bed bugs. 

Car infestations aren’t nearly as common as infestations inside homes. Unfortunately, that’s often because the bed bugs in your car migrate or spread into your home quickly. If you have bed bugs in your home, you should know how to look for them in your car, as well. Here’s how you inspect a car for bed bugs:

  • Remove any trash or clutter that they can use as a hiding place. This includes jackets, books, and other random items we tend to keep in our cars. 
  • Once you’ve done this, conduct a visual inspection. If your car is clean, any abnormalities should be easily found. 
  • Look along the seams in your car seats, underneath the seats, and along the floor. Also look in out of the way places like the glove compartment, console, and cup holders. 
  • Keep an eye out for common bed bug signs like rust-colored blood stains or dark streaks. You may also find abandoned exoskeletons or small black eggs that look like lint or dots.

Have the number of a trusted pest control company on hand.

Bed bug problems can go from small to big fast. They can easily spread to your home, office, friends, and family if not taken care of immediately. That’s why you want to know who you’re going to call if you have a bed bug problem before you have one. Do some research on local pest control companies and find one that has robust practices that include inspections, heat treatments, and more.


Whether it’s bed bugs in your car, cockroaches in your basement, or something else entirely, Griffin has your back. Give us a call whenever you need help removing pesky pests from the places you call home.

Bed Bugs in Your Car

Bed Bugs and cars

Yes, this is a thing. A surprisingly common, deeply upsetting thing. Bed bugs can and will infiltrate your car. Under some circumstances, they can even live there for an extended period of time. They could even use your car as a personal taxi to infest your home and wherever else you travel.

Before you resolve never to drive again, there are a few things you should know. Yes, bed bug car infestations are possible, but they’re not common. Usually, your car is simply a convenient way for bed bugs to get to their real destination: your home. By keeping bed bugs out of your car, you’ll help keep them out of your home, too. Here’s what you need to know to do that.

How They Got in Your Car

It happens far more often than anyone thinks. In fact, the number one way bed bugs spread from place-to-place is by traveling with people. Bed bugs are consummate hitchhikers. It has to do with their natural behavior: bed bugs seek out dark, secluded, warm, and hidden places. Once they find these places, they hunker down and remain motionless for long periods of time. Often, bed bug hiding places turn out to be items people are transporting, like luggage.

Bed bugs might stay in their hiding places for awhile, but they have to come out eventually. Usually, they’re able to stay put long enough for you to transport them inside. Once they’re in your home, they can migrate to a nearby bed or other ideal hunting ground. If they can’t wait that long, they may migrate to new hiding places inside your car. If bed bugs can feed, they can grow and reproduce in your car, just like they could in your bed.

Bed bugs in your car probably got there by hiding on something you carried inside

Why They’re In Your Car

Bed bugs in your car probably got there by hiding on something you carried inside. Bed bugs can attach to virtually anything, but they’re attracted to certain items more than others. They often hide inside luggage, bags, or boxes, especially packages that are filled with fabric or other warm materials. They’ll also cling to loose fabric like clothing, blankets, towels and other cloth. You brought these materials into your car without noticing bed bugs hiding on or inside them.

Bed bugs probably snuck onto these transported materials while they were inside another infested structure. You set down your luggage in an infested hotel (for instance), and then bed bugs climbed inside it. When you set that luggage in your car, bed bugs crawled out of it and into your car. From there, they probably snuck into the same kind of hidden, dark, warm places as always. They’ll remain in these hiding places until they need to feed.

Why They’re a Problem

Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs don’t require beds to be active. They can survive and thrive anywhere as long as they have access to food. Unfortunately, that could include your car. Bed bugs may rarely feed on passengers during long car trips. They attach to extremities like ankles, wrists, and feet. Many people don’t feel bed bugs feeding, because bed bug saliva contains an anesthetic that makes their bites painless.

Bed bugs must feed continuously for hours, so they probably won’t survive in cars for very long. Unfortunately for you, they probably also won’t just stay in your car. Once bed bugs infiltrate your vehicles, it’s very easy for them to get inside your home. All they have to do is cling to anything you leave in the cabin of your car and wait. Once inside, they’ll spread out and start feeding and reproducing as always. You might inadvertently spread your car bed bugs to locations other than your home, as well.

what to do about bed bugs in your car

What You Can Do About Them

First and foremost, you should call a professional pest control company. Unfortunately, bed bugs are quite difficult to control yourself. Bed bugs are great at spreading out and hiding. They also lay a lot of very small, translucent eggs and hide them very well. After you call a pest company, you should thoroughly clean your car. Vacuum the interior as thoroughly as you possibly can. Wash the carpets, mats, seats, and doors. Make sure you get every nook and cranny.

Next, you should thoroughly inspect everything you keep in your car. This includes any clothing, blankets, or even paper products. Wash and dry these items as thoroughly as possible. If you find bed bug evidence on them, consider throwing them away. When you replace infested things, consider storing them in airtight plastic. Always pay attention to what you’re transporting in and out of your car. If you worried you might be carrying bed bugs around, don’t let them in your car!

We know: this blog is a bummer. There’s really no getting around that. Thinking about bed bugs in your car is upsetting. The bright side (if you could call it that) is that you can do something about them. If you wipe out the bed bugs in your car, you can keep them from getting into your home.

If you need some help combating bed bugs in your car OR home, give Griffin a call any time. Our experts have plenty of experience with bed bug infestations of all kinds. We’ve never met one we couldn’t wipe out. Safe travels!

How Can I Keep Bed Bugs Away While I’m Traveling?

Bed bugs travel on fabric

The primary way bed bugs spread is by hitching rides with travelers. They do that by sneaking into these travelers’ boxes, bags, and belongings while they aren’t looking. Keep a careful eye on your luggage while traveling to avoid bringing any unwanted hitchhikers on your trip with you.

Bed bugs love travelers. For these bloodsucking stowaways, every in-law in your guest room is an opportunity to see the world. Unfortunately, they won’t just leave after they’ve made themselves at home, either. The bed bugs you bring back from your travels tend to stick around. That’s why it’s so important you keep bed bugs from following you on your travels in the first place. We want to help you do that. Here are the five best ways you can avoid picking up bed bugs while you’re traveling this holiday season:

1. Keep your belongings off of the floor

Bed bugs spend most of their time looking for warm, dark, secluded places to hide. Unfortunately, those warm, dark, secluded hiding places are often luggage! If your bags are on the floor, they’ll be all-too-easy for bed bugs to get into.

Whenever you’re unpacking for the night, be sure to keep all of your traveling bags in elevated areas. Never leave anything unattended on the floor. The less accessible your bags, the harder it’ll be for bed bugs to come on your trip with you.

Do some research on where you're staying

2. Do some research on where you’re staying

Take the time to research the bed bug history of any lodging you’re planning on using. If that hotel or motel has a history of bed bug problems, chances are someone’s documented those problems online. There are even websites like the Bed Bug Registry to help ensure you find a place to stay that’s bed bug-free.

Obviously, if you’re staying at a relative’s home, this is trickier. After all, you may feel a little awkward asking them about their history with bed bugs! In these cases, we recommend you play it safe rather than sorry. Bring your own bed sheets and pillows. Make sure you store them in elevated places!

3. Choose your luggage carefully

Bed bugs love fabric. They love eating it, living in it, and burrowing into it. They’ll try to get at any fabric piece of clothing, accessory, or luggage you have. You can dissuade them from getting into your things by using a hard shell suitcase.

Hard shell suitcases are far harder to infiltrate than their soft counterparts. Just make sure you keep it shut tight when you’re not using it. Oh, and–say it with us–ELEVATE IT!

Inspect your sleeping area carefully before settling in

4. Thoroughly inspect your sleeping area before you settle in

After you arrive where you’re staying and before you unpack, follow the following steps. First, pull the comforter back on the sheets. Look for any telltale red or brown spots on sheets. Then, systematically check all the tucked-away places where bed bugs like to hide. Look under the mattress, between the mattress and box spring, behind any furniture, underneath cushions, and even in corners.

If you find bloody smears, dark brown splattering, or dried skin in likely spots, bed bugs are probably nearby. If you can, you should find another place to sleep. If you can’t leave, then you should thoroughly wash the sheets on the hottest possible setting. Do not unpack your bags or leave them on the floor.

5. Check your bags before you get back home

You should thoroughly inspect your bags after you get home and before you head back inside. Check your luggage and all its contents for any signs of bed bug infestations. Look for brown or red marks on clothing, smears in cracks and crevices, or dried shed skin.

As soon as you get back inside, throw all the fabrics you brought on your trip into your dryer. Run them through once on the highest heat setting. If you can, you should consider drying your bags and other belongings this way, too. High heat will kill any bed bugs you couldn’t see. Don’t unpack your belongings until you’re sure they’re bed bug-free!


Next time you’re vacationing, road tripping, or visiting relatives, don’t stress about the possibility of bed bugs. Instead, simply follow these tips diligently when they’re relevant and focus on having a good time. As long as you keep up with these prevention rules, you’ll shouldn’t have to worry about unwanted stowaways ever again.

Even if your trip takes a turn and you do find bed bugs, however, don’t panic! The team at Griffin Pest Solutions can find and wipe out your bed bug problem quickly, effectively, and permanently. They may have come home with you, but we’ll make sure they don’t make themselves at home. Have a safe and happy trip!