How do I get cockroaches out of my car?
May 24, 2010 9:43 PM   Subscribe

I think I have a cockroach infestation in my car. I've only seen a few of them so far, but I want to stop this before they multiply. I've had a look at other threads dealing with cockroaches in houses, but has anyone had any experience with them in cars before? I could bug bomb the car, but I'm worried about overdoing it, as a car is so much smaller that a house, and also, would it be dangerous from an explosive point of view? Also, should I be worried about cockroaches hitching a ride from the car into my apartment when I carry shopping, etc around and then bring it inside?

I bought the car recently and it is quite old, from 1984, and hadn't been driven regularly for a year or so. The car is totally fine mechanically, and reasonably clean inside (probably needs a bit of a vacuum), and I don't eat in my car. The cockroaches tend to appear either on the steering wheel, or around the driver's side door. I've only seen three or four, but it's distracting to see something running around when you are driving, not to mention gross. I did have cockroaches at my old house, and used this car to move boxes and whatnot, so it is very probable that that is where they came from, although I haven't seen any in my new apartment. Any advice would be great!
posted by Piroska to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You're not kidding about it being distracting. My motorcycle's instrument cluster attracts spiders when it's parked for too long, which has made for alarming situations when I'm riding along. Ordinary insecticide spray into the hard to reach bits works a treat.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 9:56 PM on May 24, 2010

Depending on climate, leaving your car out in the sun all day with the windows up might do it. Exposure to temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius reportedly kills cockroaches.
posted by Dimpy at 10:00 PM on May 24, 2010

There's nothing in a car that's attractive to cockroaches that belongs there. Spare yourself the poison; discover and clean whatever they're eating out of the car (and parking it in the sun all day won't hurt, either).
posted by gum at 10:05 PM on May 24, 2010

Gotta concur. I tried all the vile poisons and folk remedies in the world, but they never left my kitchen -UNTIL I started keeping it absolutely clean. Then they disappeared and never came back.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 10:34 PM on May 24, 2010

If you live in a place with cold winters, and can wait for a cold spell, you can also freeze them to death (under 28F for over 12 hours, according to one site I just read).
posted by zippy at 10:42 PM on May 24, 2010

Unfortunately temperature methods won't work at the moment, as I'm in Australia, so it's not hot enough at the moment, but also it will never get cold enough either. I'm thinking a thorough cleaning would help, but it's not filthy, just a bit dusty. I can't think what they are eating.
posted by Piroska at 11:19 PM on May 24, 2010

Unfortunately, "cleaning" a car that old to the point there will be nothing of interest to insects without doing a full rip up and tear down will be pretty much impossible. And I can speak from experience that cockroaches WILL survive in a car that is hot enough to trigger an air bag (130F ish).

Your best bet is either roach bait (and then prepare to find dead ones every few days) or to find small area bug bombs (they do make them).

You will need to put either the bait or the bombs in both the car proper, the trunk, and UNDER the car if you go with the bomb. Do this in a well ventilated area away from wildlife, children, pets, etc.
posted by strixus at 11:58 PM on May 24, 2010

What if you parked the car in a garage or rented storage unit, opened up all the doors, hood, trunk, etc., and bombed the room the car is in?
posted by Foam Pants at 12:49 AM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you are able to get hold of this plant's leaves, tie up four or five leafs together and place them in the car boot, back of the car, under the seat etc.... Singapore is a roach-infested island, and everyone I know swears by pandan leaves. The cockroaches don't seem to like it. However, I'm not too sure its effectiveness in chasing away resident cockroaches.
posted by Alnedra at 2:44 AM on May 25, 2010

Why not take it to one of those car-detailing places that clean it from top to bottom, vacuuming, armor-alling. Get the full inside treatment, then always close up your windows tight when you park. And nthing parking in the sun.
posted by bunny hugger at 6:36 AM on May 25, 2010

There have been a number of AskMeFi threads about this, but: boric acid. Cheap, largely harmless, something you can vacuum up later, non-aerosol and kills roaches real good.

You want to clean the car (and I mean really, really clean it. Wash, scrub, vaccum, the works) first, and then put some boric acid along the edges of the floor and trunk. Let it sit overnight, windows closed, and then vacuum up the dead roaches the next day. Repeat the borax and cleanup bit every night for a few days, done.
posted by mhoye at 7:03 AM on May 25, 2010

Seconding what mhoye says about boric acid. Boric acid is a miracle worker. You can buy some branded stuff called Roach Prufe, or just plain boric acid. Put tiny piles of it in corners, and maybe sprinkle it around the edges of the carpet and between/behind seats. It works by clogging up their pores so they can't breathe, as I understand it, so you want little piles of it for them to walk through.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:16 AM on May 25, 2010

Just tape about 12 Combat roach trays around the nooks and crannies.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:58 AM on May 25, 2010

Thanks for the ideas. I think a thorough cleaning of the car is in order, then putting some sort of roach bait or boric acid around the car and changing that frequently. If that doesn't work, I'll roach bomb it!
posted by Piroska at 6:40 AM on June 18, 2010

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