PLEASE HELP! Another question about getting rid of ants

I know there have been several discussions about getting rid of ants in a car, but none that really address my questions, so I’d be very grateful for some advice.

Ants have moved in to my Ford Focus–apparently from my parking lot. I’ve vacuumed and cleaned, so there is no food source, and there is definitely no water source, and I’ve tried bait traps, which are all the common things mentioned across all the discussion fora that I’ve found. Its not like there’s a total infestation of thousands, but whenever I get out of the car, I find them on anything that’s been in the car, even short rides from home to work. I’ve even found them on my child, and a friend from work. This is just bad in lots of ways!!

Questions are…

  1. Is a bug bomb advisable, or not? (I’m desperate!)
  2. If I do bug bomb it, should I tape over the stereo, or any other kind of protection for anything?

Of course, I’ll thoroughly clean the upholstery, carpets, and all surfaces afterward. And I’m not concerned about possible degradation of the plastics or upholstery.

Please help. I’d really appreciate answers to these, or any other relevant advice.

Use Grants or AMDRO bait stations if you suspect the ants live in the car, but I suspect that they don’t, they live in your parking space so use the AMDRO pellets in your parking space. Killing them in your car won’t do any good if they live elsewhere.

Borax is a low impact ant poison. You might try sprinkling some where you see the ants roaming or make a trap that they can climb into and carry the boric acid back to the nest. Here’s an interesting article:

Thanks Keith and jtsanders, but I don’t have a designated parking space. I’ve tried parking in a different location, with no success. I’d keep trying baits and borax, but I need to solve this asap. I really, really want to know about just bug bombing the car.

Your state’s Department Of Agriculture office will have experts in pest control. I used ours one time. Captured a few of the problem bugs, brought them to the office, and they provided an entire report complete with their scientific names, where they nest, and how to eradicate them.
And the offices services are free.

Liquid terro drops work well for me with past ant problems. You would put a few drops on cardboard and it works well in my experience.

You could try a no-pest strip. They sell them at The Home Depot or other places. Three days in the car, no children please and you can hang it in the garage.

I agree with Mountainbike. The various solutions offered can be useful, but if your ants are of a species that doesn’t feed on the bait you are using, it will have no effect at all. Therefore you need to get help identifying the ants so that you can determine what will work. “Terro” as Barkydog suggests is an effective and safe commercial product, but if your ants don’t feed on that, it will be no help. I think Terro is a borax based solution which someone else mentioned. I’ve found it at a home center, you could try a hardware store. You could also call an exterminator and perhaps get some free advice which could be helpful, but I’d start with the state agriculture extension office as suggested. Your county offices may be able to help you locate the proper department. If you have a good garden center in your area, you might ask one of the more experienced employees there. While that person may not have the precise answer, their scientific and biological orientation may may be able to point you to experts who will be able to help.

You may not want to think about this, but I have a suspicion that there’s a dead rodent in your car, likely in an inaccessible location such as in a heater duct, and the ants are feeding on it. If that’s the problem, the ants will disappear when the rodent is consumed. I don’t personally know about that in cars, but I’ve seen this in small outbuildings like a separate studio or office. Again, it depends on the type of ants, but if this is the case, they will vanish on their own if you can endure a few more days. Good luck!

By the way, I’d be VERY hesitant to try general poison (the bomb you suggested, no pest strips, etc) in the closed confines of a vehicle which you probably occupy with windows closed. The prospect of residual poison deposited on the surfaces and into the fabric is one you should avoid.

I’ve even found them on my child

The prospect of residual poison deposited on the surfaces and into the fabric is one you should avoid.

You pointed out what would be my primary concern with bombs. However, I’d be even more concerned about the children riding in the car. They have a tendency to touch things and put their hands in their mouths…

If the ants are living in your car, they are most likely living under your carpet. They like to build their nests between two flat surfaces. The reason I recommend Grants and AMDRO (maker of grants) is they are the only baits that I have ever found to work. The more heavily advertised brands like Raid don’t work.

If you want to use a Borate solution, try Boric Acid instead of Borax. You can mix it with a little sugar, molasses, or a sugar/flour mix to attract the ants to it.

I have used bug bombs before with success, although it took three of them to kill all the ants in my Ford minivan. I did vacuum, shampoo, and revacuum all the carpets and seats, cleaned all the windows/dash/etc. and let it air out for a couple days before driving it to get rid of any residue and smell.

That being said, As others mentioned, my only concern would be with a small child that might not know better than to touch things and put hands in their mouth. I would be hesitant to do it in a car that couldn’t sit for several hours with the fogger in it then clean everything thoroughly before airing out, just so that chance couldn’t exist.

If you have another car you can drive for a couple days while you do that, I’d say go for it.

I wouldn’t use a bug bomb unless I removed all the seats and carpets from the car.

Use Terro. It poisons the queen. The boron messes up her ability to make new eggs. I use it around the house because I do not want to kill everything just the ants. It does a great job. It is cheap and works in about two weeks. It is not toxic to humans or many other bugs. It is just sweetened Boron or borate.