These are the skin-crawling signs you’ve got bed bugs in your CAR – as experts reveal how to try and get rid of them.
The south of England is suffering scores of bed bug outbreaks, after the disgusting critters hitched a ride from nearby France following a severe infestation in Paris.
Strict cleaning regimes have been ramped-up on the London Underground while Luton Council has admitted it is receiving ‘an alarming number of bedbug jobs on a weekly basis’.
Now motoring experts have warned that vehicles can also end up harbouring the scuttling nasties, as the creatures use cars and vans to hitch a ride from bed to bed.
And as Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing warns, eradicating bed bugs from vehicles can actually be much trickier than eliminating them from your home.
Conway said: “Bed bugs don’t just hide in beds – they can often make their way to vehicles. You might consider cars and vans a temporary shelter before they ultimately end up in someone’s home.
“And the bad news here is that they can be nightmarishly tricky to eradicate – because it’s not like you can simply tear off covers, burn them in a bonfire and replace the fabric.
“There are also some key telltale signs to be aware of, which might give you an early warning as to a bed bug problem.”
Here are Select Car Leasing’s top tips when it comes to beating car-based bed bugs
Conway said, “You want to be able to spot the first signs of bed bugs at the first possible opportunity, so that they don’t have a chance to multiply. And that’s why you need to get rid of all the trash and clutter from seats, footwells and floor mats, which can all act as hosting grounds for these critters.
“Check the seams of your car seats, under the seats, in the centre console and even in the glove compartment. You may also benefit from using double-sided tape, or a lint roller, to check the area around your seats, floor mats and rugs and catch these bugs.”
Spot the signs of bed bugs in your car
“Bed bugs leave behind telltale signs in your car. If you notice brown or red stains, it could indicate crushed bed bugs, as these insects feed on blood. Bed bug faecal spots are distinguishable from bloodstains, as they appear as dark brown or black spots.
“Bed bugs leave parts of themselves behind as they grow, and these traces are known as their exoskeletons. These traces look similar to the bed bug itself, but are generally lighter in weight and colour. Bed bugs can also lay eggs, which are recognisable as pearly white clusters.
“You might also just spot live bed bugs in your car. Mature bed bugs are approximately five millimetres and appear reddish-brown and wingless. Younger bed bugs appear semi-transparent in colour, and their skin slowly darkens as they mature. It is worth noting as well that bed bugs are nocturnal, so it may be difficult to spot them in your vehicle during daylight hours.”
How to get rid of bed bugs in your vehicle
“Evidently, it takes more than a simple car wash to get rid of bed bugs, and it is imperative for extra measures to be taken. You would benefit from removing all the floor mats, rugs and any seat covers in your car, and shampooing them before leaving them out in the sun to dry. Vacuuming the entire interior of your vehicle would also be greatly recommended. When it comes to hoovering, pay close attention to cracks and crevices where bed bugs tend to hide.
“Bed bugs are extremely sensitive to heat, and this means that steam or heated air acts as an effective remedy for killing these critters. This is why steam cleaning your car’s interior as the final part of the cleaning process is vital.
“Much like the heat, bed bugs can also die in extremely cold temperatures. That said, if you find bed bugs in your vehicle, carefully put them in plastic bags and put them in your freezer. The best thing about this practice is that you are preserving the bed bugs as well as killing them, and this makes it easier for a pest control official to examine and advise on a suitable treatment method.”