It must be a slow news day when ants in cars are a top story. A story popping up on the internet today involves a family who left an SUV in an airport parking lot in Charlotte, NC for 10 days. When they returned, they were greeted by ants that found the vehicle to be a suitable nesting site. The airport parking was apologetic, refunding the parking fee and offering to clean the car. Information is incomplete as to the species of ant and numerous species of ants have been reported in cars.
Ants in cars is more common than many realize and can be widespread. In 2011, a traveler reported an ant infestation after parking in a dirt lot near LAX. No refund was given. Several reports from airports throughout the Southeast US have been made. Others have reported ants in the car after a stay at a hotel. The locations are mostly in the southern US but as far north as Pigeon Forge, TN.
My advice? Do NOT park your vehicle on an ant mound. That is sometimes unavoidable as ant mounds can be difficult to see in the dark, or obliterated after running over one with a tire. Eradicating an ant nest from a car can require multiple treatments and persistence. Removing all food sources will encourage the ants to relocate and typically be successful if the ants do not have a nest. If a nest is present, non-volatile baits are a good choice because pesticide exposure to the car occupant is limited. Volatile insecticides are not recommended as occupants of the car will breathe fumes while the volatile insecticide may not penetrate the cracks and crevices where the ants are located. No-pest-strips can release their entire contents in less than an hour if left in a hot car. Ants will want a source of water, so a liquid bait near where the ants appear can be a good choice.
If you do get ants in your car, this pest control company (no endorsement implied) has pretty good advice on steps you might take to get rid of them.