Finding roaches in your vehicle is both frightening and disgusting. And it’s certainly a shock to find one while driving down the highway.
Can you get rid of cockroaches that have moved into your car? Or will you need to set your car on fire and push it off a cliff?
You don’t have to go to those extremes. We’ll look at the different types of roaches and find out what attracts them. Plus, we’ve got the best and fastest ways to eliminate them.
So grab your roach spray and car keys, and let’s get to it!
What Is a Roach?
Cockroaches, or cucarachas in Spanish, are some of Earth’s most primitive winged insects. Part of the Blattodea order of insects, they’re the same as they were more than 320 million years ago.
You’ll be relieved to know that fewer than 70 of the over 4500 species can be found in the U.S. Of these, only about 30 are considered pests.
Fortunately, most of them aren’t interested in an invasion. But a few will gladly set up shop in your house or vehicle. Here are a couple you’re most likely to encounter if you’re in the states.
The most common cockroach in the U.S. is the German Cockroach.
A single egg can produce 20-40 babies. So just one female German roach in your home or vehicle can create an infestation of more than 30,000 in a single year. Yikes!
The female German roach is the only species that carries her eggs until they’re ready to hatch. This is why infestations spread quickly and can be challenging to contain.
Another species that’s widespread here is the Brown-Banded Cockroach. They’re commonly found inside walls or electronics such as televisions or refrigerators.
This is a flying cockroach that hates water and moist or damp environments. So, look for them in warm, dry areas.
Another flying roach that will make your skin crawl is the American Cockroach. Also called a sewer roach or palmetto bug, they can reach 1-3” in length.
While this one isn’t the most common roach species in the U.S., it is the largest. And with a lifespan of about two years, it’s also one of the longest-living.
Are Roaches Dangerous?
According to the CDC, cockroaches don’t bite. Whew! However, they carry bacteria and can scratch you with their leg spines, and a scratch could potentially become infected.
There’s little evidence linking cockroaches and specific disease outbreaks. But the EPA reports that bacteria on food can cause salmonella, staphylococcus, and streptococcus. Cockroaches are known to be carriers of intestinal diseases, including dysentery, cholera, and typhoid fever.
An article published for immunology research revealed that cockroaches are one of the most common sources of indoor allergens. It’s believed that the enzymes found in roach droppings cause allergic reactions in many people. And children tend to be more susceptible to these than adults.
Studies show that 63 percent of homes in the United States contain cockroach allergens. And 78 percent of homes in urban areas can be infected.
See a health professional and have a pest control company check your home if you have allergy symptoms. Allergies can come from various sources, but it’s always good to know if it’s a roach issue.
What Attracts Them to Vehicles?
Cockroaches go inside cars for the same reason they go inside a home, to find food, shelter, and a place to lay eggs.
These insects are omnivores and will eat anything. Their favorite meals are starches, sweets, greasy food, and meats. So make sure to toss all those fast food wrappers and packaging immediately.
In an RV, dirty dishes in the sink, pet food on the floor, and the trash can are accessible sources of food that draw them in.
Depending on the roach species, they may live in hollowed-out wood, under the sink, the toilet, or in your electronics.
In addition, as the temperature dips outside, roaches will look for shelter, which might be your car.
Location is important too. Some of these pests thrive in landscapes around water. So ensure the area you park your car is away from any potential roach homes.
Pro Tip: Nobody wants a cockroach infestation! Use our guide on How to Easily Get Rid of Cockroaches to keep your home critter free.
How Do You Get Rid of Roaches in Your Vehicle?
You might think you only need to clean your car if you see a cockroach. Unfortunately, these bugs can burrow into small places you might never notice while cleaning.
They’ll reproduce under your seat, in the speakers, and in other small spaces. Roaches won’t vacate on their own, especially if it’s cold outside. They’re looking for shelter and can live a long time without eating.
As a result, you need to do more than detail your car to get the cockroaches out. The first step should be cleaning up stray crumbs and sticky spills.
Once your vehicle’s clean, place roach bait under your seats and in the corners of the trunk. This will give them the food and water they need but will kill them and the nest. The cockroaches will come out of hiding to eat and, eventually, die.
Besides bait stations, other remedies can be effective. Diatomaceous earth, Borax, baking soda, citrus, and essential oils are natural remedies you can try.
Glue traps can help you identify an infestation. Additionally, sealing all entry points, if possible, should help keep them down.
Some people turn to roach bombs or foggers to eliminate roaches without a professional exterminator. These bombs spray a pesticide into the air, which then falls to the ground, coating indoor surfaces and killing pests.
Unfortunately, roach bombs are incredibly toxic, and we don’t suggest using them. This method isn’t safe for pets or children, so seek a professional if all else fails.
What Is the Best Way to Prevent a Roach Infestation?
Remember that roaches need three things to survive. Food, water, and shelter. While you can’t eliminate these things in the outdoor environment, you can make your vehicle less welcoming for them.
Keep your car free of the things cockroaches love most by avoiding eating in your vehicle. If your vehicle is an RV, this may not be a possibility.
So you’ll want to do the same things in a house to keep them out of your RV. Reviewing the things that attract them to your car or RV in the first place will help stop infestations.
Here are a couple of important ones to remember. Clean up any food or spills promptly. Remove all food wrappers and bags. Vacuum the floors regularly, including under the seats.
Additionally, ensure you’re not introducing cockroaches into your car by transporting cockroach-infested items. Cardboard boxes, paper or plastic bags, or hauling refuse to the dump are ways they can get in and set up shop.
Finally, being aware of where you park your car and keeping the doors and windows closed are prudent preventative measures.
Pro Tip: Bugs be gone! Use these 5 Solutions to Keep Those Dang Bugs Out Of Your RV!
Prevention is Everything
Cars and RVs have many places where food can collect. These places are also great for hiding, which is why cockroaches can thrive in vehicles.
Prevention is the best way to avoid a roach infestation in your vehicle. Make it a habit to keep your car or RV clean and free of food crumbs and other trash. And, hopefully, you’ll never have to worry about roaches.
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