So, you have stink bugs in your car. And you need to get rid of them.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- Why brown marmorated stink bugs are in your car
- How they’re getting into your vehicle
- What you can do to naturally get rid of them
- How to prevent stink bugs from entering your car
By the end of this guide, you’ll have everything you need to get started yourself to get rid of these stinky pests from your car’s cabin.
Consider bookmarking this page in case you need to refer back to it again.
Sound good? Let’s get your car free of stink!
Why are stink bugs in my car?
You may find stink bugs in your car because of many different reasons. The most common one is a change in seasons.
When stink bug season approaches (March-September), they’ll start to appear everywhere- your yard, car, and even inside your home.
This is especially apparent if you live in an area where stink bugs are native to. They’ll start to spawn seemingly out of nowhere and you may find them inside your car.
If you also notice them in your home or garage, check out this guide on DIY stink bug control.
How do stink bugs get in my car?
There are many ways stink bugs can get into your car.
Here are the most common reasons why you may find stink bugs in your vehicle:
Having the windows down when driving
This is obvious. If you’re driving and a stink bug gets blown into your car, it’ll likely stay there until it dies. It may hide under the seat, in your vents, on your seats, or on the dash.
The same applies to having your moonroof or doors open at any time. If you give stink bugs an opportunity to enter your car during pest season, they will.
Not shutting your windows or moonroof/sunroof when parked
If you park your car without closing up your windows or moonroof, stink bugs may enter your vehicle.
Parking next to stink bug nests
As you probably know, cars aren’t 100% sealed form the environment. If you park near an infestation, stink bugs can find their way into your car through the many panels, cracks, and crevices cars naturally have.
This means through air vents, frame gaps, and other various orifices found in your car’s infrastructure. Parking next to an area where stink bugs are present may provide them with a way to enter your car.
They also hang out in swarms, so chances are you’ll have many enter your car at once.
Damaged cabin filter
The cabin filter is the main line of defense for your air circulation. Fi the filter is damaged or destroyed, pests can get it in your car’s cabin.
You’ll want to check the cabin filter to make sure it’s in good condition and replace it if not.
Why are stink bugs attracted to my car?
Stink bugs may be attracted to your car because of the temperature difference from the outdoors. If it’s too cold at night, they may be seeking shelter from the warmth of your car’s cabin.
They also leave pheromone trails. This could attract other stink bugs in the area to your vehicle (or stink bug predators). This is why when you see one, you’ll often see many more later on. Stink bugs are social pests.
They may also be attracted to scents from your lotion, deodorant, perfume, cologne, shampoo, body wash, or any other chemical scent. Lastly, if you have food, trash, or fruits and vegetables in your car, they may be attracted to the scent of food.
This is true for people who have messy cars. Trash, waste, food, and other edible sources will attract stink bugs. If you have these in your car, you should consider cleaning it up very well.
How to get rid of stink bugs in the car
Here are some methods you can use to get rid of the stink bugs in your car.
The thing to keep in mind is that you should NEVER squish them. They’ll leave the scent of rotten eggs and feces if you squish them.
They may also stain your car seats or dashboard if you get their guts all over your cabin. We’ll cover other ways you can kill stink bugs in your vehicle.
Vacuum them up
This is the easiest way to get rid of the marmorated stink bugs from your ride.
Since you can’t squish them, using a vacuum is a safe way to remove them from your car’s cabin.
Be sure to never press the vacuum nozzle against the bug, because it can crush it and leave a nasty stain and odor. You’ll want to use smooth and gentle strokes over the bug, but never press down.
Use a shop vac for the best effect. This way you can put the vacuum into reverse and spit them out after you suck them up. If you don’t have a shop vac, buy one. They’re cheap.
And they can come in handy for many other pest removal situations. Or just use a standard upright vacuum with a hose attachment.
This is the next best thing you can do, but may possibly stink up your car for weeks. If you have stink bugs in your car that you just can’t find out where exactly they are, you can try using the heat of the sun to kill them.
People on the CorvetteForum said this was one to go about it.
This is only useful for those who know they have bugs in their car but can’t catch them. If you can, then avoid doing this because you’ll just end up killing the bugs and making it smell.
This is more for people who see stink bug poop but can’t find the bug.
All you’ll need to do is to park your car in direct sunlight and roll up the windows, shut the moonroof, and lock the doors. Leave the car for a few hours then come back. The heat from the sun will kill all the bugs.
After this, you’ll want to find the dead stink bugs and vacuum them up. If you leave them in your car, they’ll stink and attract other pests into your vehicle.
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth
You can also consider using diatomaceous earth to kill stink bugs. If you park your car in the same place every day (garage, parking space, etc.), consider sprinkling some diatomaceous earth around your vehicle.
The way DE works is that it pierces the exoskeleton of stink bugs. Eventually, this will kill them.
You can sprinkle around the perimeter of your car like a physical barrier. If you have stink bugs that are getting into your car from your garage, sprinkle some powder around your garage also.
You can line door gaps, floors, or even your car itself. If you have a show car (“garage queen”) that’s getting pests all over the cabin, sprinkle some diatomaceous earth around the area to repel the bugs.
Another method is to use plants that stink bugs hate.
You can place them in your car in a small container just for when they rot. The scent of the plants will help repel stink bugs.
Here are some of the best natural plant repellent you can use:
Any of these can be placed on the rear seat, dashboard, or passenger seat. The scent will help keep the bugs out.
As a last-resort approach, you may be able to use foggers for your car. These will release a toxic chemical that should kill the majority of pests hiding in your car’s cabin. Use as directed.
Obviously, this approach isn’t natural like the others on this list. You should avoid using pesticides to kill them unless necessary.
Always exercise extreme caution. Only use foggers approved for vehicles and follow the directions.
How to repel brown marmorated stink bugs from your car
Here are some methods you can use to keep stink bugs away from your vehicle. These come in handy when you switch parking spaces on a daily basis and can’t use any other means of prevention.
Use laundry sheets
Laundry sheets have been reported to deter and repel stink bugs because of their scent. You can place a few sheets in your car and seal up the windows.
Stink bugs then may not enter your car because they hate the scent of the detergent.
Spray essential oils
Some essential oils can also be very effective against these pests.
You can add a few drops to a gallon of water and then spray your car’s interior a few times. To prevent any damage, you can try soaking a cotton ball into the essential oil and water solution.
Then place the cotton ball into a small container and then place the entire thing into your cabin. This will prevent any oil from leaking onto your upholstery.
The scent may help keep the stink bugs from entering. Note that some pets and people may be sensitive to essential oils.
So do your research before using any. Some of the most effective ones are peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and lavender.
Use car fresheners
After you do any of these methods, you should hang an air freshener to remove the nasty odors from the bugs. This should make bearable if you need to drive your car. Any type of freshner should work:
- Vent freshener
- Hanging freshener
- Spray odor neutralizer
How to stop stink bugs from getting into your car
Here we’ll cover some of the best practices to prevent future stink bug problems.
Replace your cabin filter
This is one of the things you should always do first. Your cabin filter is ignored by the majority of Americans. A damaged cabin filter or one that’s become loose may become ineffective
Thus, pests can get into your car just by flying or crawling through your car’s air circulation system. You can replace a cabin filter quite easily and do it for cheap.
Keep your windows shut
Another pretty obvious solution.
You should keep your car’s windows shut when possible. When you’re driving through an area with lots of stink bugs, consider shutting your windows.
Use the AC and internal fan. When you park your car, always shut your windows when reasonable. This will help keep many pests and rodents out.
Keep your moonroof shut
The moonroof is often forgotten or left open on purpose. When you park your car, shut it when reasonable. There’s no real reason to allow pests into your car, especially if there’s no one in it.
When driving, the moonroof is rarely a point of entry for bugs because of its rear-facing. Thus, bugs don’t’ get sucked into it.
You can keep it open when driving but shut it when parked. This will help prevent bugs from sneaking into your car when no one is there.
Repair or seal up your car
Your vehicle may become damaged over time. Parts get lost. Panels form cracks. Pieces fall off.
If you have the skills, you can repair your car:
- Patch up loose panels
- Caulk up gaps and entryways
- Seal up missing screws
- Patch any crevices or cracks
- Fix loose hose connectors
- Clean up the HVAC system
If you don’t know what you’re doing, consider having an auto tech take a look and get your car fixed up. This may help prevent future pest problems.
- Stink Bugs – NPIC
- Why You Should Never Squish a Stink Bug – Mental Floss
- Brown Marmorated Stink Bug – EPA
Did you get rid of the stink bugs in your vehicle?
I hope this guide has helped you to kill and drive out the stink bugs in your car. By now, you should have a good foundation to start with.
If you have any comments, leave a reply below and I’ll get back to you. Or if you have any tips, share them also!
Need more tips on stink bug control? Check out this comprehensive tutorial.
Thanks for reading.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.
3 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs in the Car (Fast)”
I traveled from NY to Florida in February 2022. A couple weeks later, I have seen stink bugs show up in my car crawling around. My vehicle is a 2021 Toyota Highlander. Every time I use my car to go to the store or pharmacy, one or two will show up. Very frustrating. My son used a fogger last night to see if it will kill them. He left the driver side window and passenger window in the front open a crack. When I got into the car this morning, there were stink bugs crawling along the driver’s side window. How can I get rid of these pests in my car? This has never happened to me and I have been traveling to Florida for the past few years. HELP!!
You can’t kill them in mass quantities. Take everything out of your car, put it in sealed plastic boxes, or even those bags that seal up with your vacuum. Any clothes in your car, immediately wash, and then seal them. Throw away any paper products, even books, and magazines. They aren’t attracted to a particular type of food, but it’s best you get rid of crumbs. Get under any cushion, and spray them with a particular form of Raid Ant and Roach spray. Make sure the spray isn’t pet friendly, or natural. You can’t kill them naturally. Also their stains don’t come out of fabric, and they’re attracted to the smell of their own dead bugs. Also, a single bug can ruin your car all over again, and infest in 4 months, especially in the summer. I wish I was wrong about all this, but soap and water is meaningless to these things. Hopefully they’ve decided to just leave your car. That often does happen