How can I get rid of a spider infestation in my car?
September 6, 2012 1:16 PM   Subscribe

How can I get rid of a spider infestation in my car?

(This post is anon. because many people IRL know about this problem of mine, and I don't want it linked to my account.)

A few weeks ago, I noticed that there were thin spider web strands on the outside of my car, like on the side mirrors and the window. Fast forward to now, and within the past few days, I've killed about five or six spiders that I've seen in and around the car. I live on a street that's lined with trees, so unfortunately, parking in a garage isn't an option for me.

Here's what I've already tried: I got a full car wash and then vaccumed all the inner surfaces of the car. There were a lot of web strands back there, too, but I didn't see any spiders at the time. Mostly, I think that these spiders come out at night. When I do see them, they tend to hang around the rubber part around the doors and windows, the arches by my wheels, and also on the back near the trunk and bumper. I've been trying to figure out exactly where they're hiding, but since only one of the spiders that I've seen has actually been inside the car, I'm not really sure what to do.

I also tried spraying the outside of the car with peppermint oil, since I read that spiders don't like it. Other than making my car smell like a candy cane, it didn't seem to work, since the following morning when I rolled down my window, another huge spider crawled out at me.

If any of you have had this problem before, what would you recommend that I do next? Should I get the car detailed (especially the exterior) so that all of the little cracks and corners can be cleaned out? Or, would this be more of a job for an exterminator?

If you have any specific recommendations, I live in Chicago. Thanks!

Anon. email:
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Nuke the thing from orbit. Only way to be sure.

More seriously, you're going to have to get some serious insecticide. You'll probably need to spray it in the vents, as I'd bet money that's where they're hiding. Also consider getting some spider traps (horrifying example).

Also, you could just wait a few months. It gets cold in Chicago, and they'll likely die off here in a minute.
posted by valkyryn at 1:32 PM on September 6, 2012

Call an exterminator. You'll want to have him deal with the car/engine/vents, etc.

Also, they're coming from somewhere. Don't park near where they're coming from.

I think this was some weirdness with Mazdas. If you have a Mazda, make it their problem.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:47 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

For what it's worth, on my car the spiders that used to build webs on the side mirrors were typically hiding behind the mirrors (like, between the mirror and the housing). Not that that's the only place they could be, but it can't hurt to flush out that area.
posted by theatro at 1:52 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

You could put down glue traps in your car and see what you catch. Put them on the floors, dash, etc. That would be an assessment tool b/c the things you really need to destroy are the egg sacks. I am all for live and let live when it comes to spiders except when their numbers become excessive in my home or fer fuck's sake may cause me to crash my vehicle...because SURPRISE SPIDERS in an enclosed space that is traveling at a high rate of speed is never a good thing in my book.
posted by futz at 3:16 PM on September 6, 2012

Also, I don't know if spiders really hate peppermint but if you only sprayed the outside of your car you most likely drove/kept them inside.
posted by futz at 3:20 PM on September 6, 2012

Seconding Teatro. My car has occasional spiders living behind the side view mirrors. I took a an of raid and spritzed the gaps around the mirrors. Problem solved for six months or so. Rinse, repeat.
posted by MrHalfwit at 3:41 PM on September 6, 2012

Just the other day I thought to myself that it seemed like there were more spiders than usual on my side mirror. And I drive a Mazda. Weird. Anyway, there's not enough of them to bother me but if they started appearing in significant numbers, I'd probably be reaching for the Raid first and calling an exterminator second.
posted by futureisunwritten at 4:02 PM on September 6, 2012

I have spiders that live in my car. I used to have spiders that lived outside my car when I lived in Chicago, but then they moved to the inside when we moved to VA. Mine hide mostly under the carpet in the back of my bar and under the seats [there's a cubbyhole that they have built a nest in]. They've lived in my car for long enough that they seem to be mutating into some sort of half-albino spider.
If I keep my car really, really clean and clutter free and spray RAID in it they clear up for awhile. My doors don't close all the way so they keep coming in. But if your doors seal you should be able to spray RAID and leave your car hotboxed like that for a couple days and they should go away.
Or you could get mutants like me.
posted by shesaysgo at 4:13 PM on September 6, 2012

I had spiders in my car once. I cleaned it out, turned on the A/C on full blast recirculate and emptied a half a can of raid into the car. I let it run like that for a while, and then let the car sit for like a day.

It didn't stink too terribly after that, and if memory serves, the spiders were gone. Although I might have sold it before I would have noticed. I can't remember.
posted by gjc at 4:32 PM on September 6, 2012

Thanks for the nightmare fodder, shesaysgo and others. I would probably sell my car, but that's because of the pressing limits placed on me by my arachnophobia.

I might call my mechanic and ask him what he thinks. Spiders can get into the machiney parts of cars and cause problems, so your mechanic might have suggestions about what to do to prevent this. The other option is to go to a place where they'll detail your car and have them clean it really thoroughly (be sure to warn them that it's full of spiders, though), then do the Raid plan and let it air out for awhile.
posted by k8lin at 4:36 PM on September 6, 2012

I was driving once and glanced up and a spider was hanging directly over me - next to the sun shade. It was big too. Freaked me out big time.

I had to pull over and squish it before I could drive anymore.

posted by tacodave at 4:49 PM on September 6, 2012


I'd spray this at all the spots you think they hang out. It works beautifully.

Don't use it around kitties
posted by zombieApoc at 7:58 PM on September 6, 2012

Ugh, I don't know why people are recommending you spray down the inside of your car with toxins when you've only ever seen one spider inside your vehicle. If you live in Chicago chances are this problem will be moot in a month or two. Get your car detailed- it might help in the meantime. I suspect an exterminator will happily take your money, but it hardly seems worth it since they be gone shortly. This is the most active time of year for spiders, and then they die.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:08 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Best of 2012 political journalism?   |   Stay or go, having already gone? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.