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Nothing spoils a nice drive like opening your car door and being greeted by a pesky wasp flying around inside.
If you’ve ever had a run-in with these unpleasant insects around your vehicle, you know they can be downright frustrating to deal with.
So how to keep wasps away from car and avoid problems? In this article, we’ll discuss some of the main reasons wasps are attracted to cars and different methods you can use to deter them.
We’ll talk about how to remove wasp nests from common spots like behind side mirrors.
We’ll also go over steps to get rid of any wasps already buzzing around inside your car safely and effectively.
By using humane but effective wasp control techniques, you can keep them away from your car for good.
Let’s look at the most important information for drivers to know about how to keep wasps away from your car so you can enjoy carefree summer driving.
Why Are Wasps Attracted to Your Car?
Wasps seem strongly drawn to cars for a variety of reasons. There are a few key factors that attract wasps to vehicles.
- Wasps rely heavily on their sense of smell to locate food sources and places to build nests.
- They are attracted to the sweet scents that may linger in a car’s interior from spills, leftovers, or fragrant products.
- Any sweets inside the car can lure wasps in.
- The heat from parked cars is a major attractant to wasps.
- On warm days, the engine bay and upholstery quickly heat up, creating an environment wasps find highly appealing for constructing nests.
- They gravitate to the warmth.
Color of Your Car
- Wasps are also visually drawn to certain colors and reflective surfaces.
- The shiny chrome trim, mirrors, and metallic paint of some cars mimic water, attracting thirsty wasps.
- Bright colors also attract their attention. Interestingly, white cars in particular seem to be most attractive to wasps.
- This is likely because they instinctively associate the bright white color with the flowers they pollinate.
- The white exterior may mimic floral colors and patterns, enticing wasps to investigate.
- A car’s many compartments and hollow spaces provide an abundance of potential nesting sites that wasps can use.
- The confined areas allow them to build nests protected from predators and sheltered from the elements.
Being aware of these main reasons wasps target vehicles can help you take steps to make your car less appealing to the pests.
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Can Wasps Damage Your Car
While they may seem like just a nuisance, allowing wasps to build nests and colonize your car can lead to some more serious problems.
Here are some of the ways wasps can actually damage your vehicle.
- If a wasp nest goes unnoticed and untreated over time, the insects’ activity can lead to corrosion and degradation of the car’s painted exterior.
- Their waste stains paint, and nest construction slowly erode the finish.
- A wasp infestation inside a car’s cabin can ruin upholstery made of leather, fabric, or vinyl.
- Their sharp mandibles and nesting materials can puncture and tear sensitive materials.
Electrical and Mechanical Issues
- Wasps are attracted to the warmth of wires and can chew through insulation.
- Nests around wiring harnesses lead to short circuits.
- In addition, nest debris in vents or gaps can interfere with moving parts, reducing engine performance.
Broken Glass and Plastic
- Large nests attached to windows or plastic trim over time can crack or shatter the components due to weight.
- Wasps can also chew through weather stripping around windows and doors.
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How to Get Wasps Out of Your Car
Finding a wasp buzzing around inside your car can be startling. If you’ve left the doors open, wasps can sneak in and be difficult to coax back out.
Here are some tips for safely removing wasps that have already gotten into your vehicle’s cabin.
Open All of the Windows And Doors
- First, prepare the car. Open all of the windows and doors completely.
- This allows the wasp a clear escape path.
- It also ventilates the car to discourage the wasp from settling in.
Use a Spray
- Next, use a spray. A mild soap and water solution or specific wasp-repelling sprays can encourage the insect to vacate without harming it.
- Spray around the wasp cautiously from a safe distance. Don’t trap or corner it.
- Turn on the ceiling lights, as wasps avoid bright areas.
- Sit quietly outside the car and give the wasp several minutes to find its way out of the open exits. Don’t swat at it.
Gently Guide It Out
- If the wasp lands, you can carefully guide it outwards with a paper card or sheet. Don’t crush the wasp, swat at it, or use your hands.
- Stay calm and gently persist ushering it out.
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How To Remove Wasp Nest Behind Car Mirror
Finding a wasp nest attached to your side mirror is enough to ruin your day. These pesky hitchhikers love building their papery nests in the concealed space behind exterior mirrors on cars.
Here are some simple ways to get rid of mirror nests without getting stung.
Use a Plastic Bag
- Wrap the affected mirror tightly in a plastic bag secured with a zip tie or elastic band.
- Add a small cloth with a few tablespoons of pine sol (you can also use peppermint or eucalyptus oil,) which acts as a natural pesticide when confined.
- The vapors will permeate the bag and humanely repel the wasps.
- After a day or two, you can remove the nest.
Use Soap and Water
- Make a solution of biodegradable dish or castile soap and water.
- Spray it directly onto the nest during cool evening temperatures when wasps are less active.
- The soapy water will coat and suffocate the insects and larvae.
- You may need to repeat this process if you got large nests.
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Apply Insecticidal Dust
- Puff small amounts directly into nest openings using the attached nozzle.
- The fine particles damage the waxy coating on wasps, causing dehydration.
- The dry powder residue continues repelling new wasps.
- This method requires less effort than bagging or spraying.
If you find an exceptionally large nest or aren't comfortable trying these methods yourself, it's a good idea to have a professional handle it. Wasp nest removal can be tricky work, so for severe infestations, the experts have the right tools and knowledge to remove nests safely and effectively.
How to Keep Wasps Away from Car
Prevention is the best way to avoid problems with wasps around your vehicle.
Here are some tips to make your car less appealing to wasps and deter them from nesting.
Keep the Interior Clean
- Thoroughly vacuum and wipe down the inside to remove any traces of food, spills, or other sweet smells that attract wasps.
- You can also hang repellent-soaked cloths under hood compartment lids.
- Check for any gaps, holes, or cracks on the exterior and use rubber or silicone sealant to plug them so wasps can’t enter to build nests.
- Pay special attention to doors, windows, and vents.
Choose Parking Spot Carefully
- When parking your car for extended periods, be strategic in where you leave it to help deter wasp nesting.
- Avoid shaded areas that are more appealing to wasps looking for ideal nesting sites.
- Also avoid parking near gardens or trees with fragrant flowers, as the sweet scents will attract wasps.
Also, be sure to inspect your car regularly for any early signs of wasp nests developing. Periodically check areas like under the hood, behind side mirrors, and inside wheel wells where nests often initially start forming. Catching nests early when they are small allows for quicker, easier removal before the wasps can gain a large foothold.
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How Long Can a Wasp Live In a Hot Car?
On a hot, sunny day, the interior of a parked car can quickly reach extremely high temperatures.
If a stray wasp finds its way into your car when you leave the doors open, it can survive for approximately 2 days as long as some airflow is present.
At temperatures above 115°F, wasps become immobilized but recover once the temperature drops.
If the car’s interior reaches above 130°F, most wasps will not survive beyond several hours.
They can withstand brief periods of extreme heat by entering a hibernation-like state. But extended exposure above 130°F and no ventilation will ultimately kill wasps.
So while wasps fare better than many insects, leaving a car closed on a hot sunny day will create conditions too harsh for wasps to endure very long.
But it’s still best to inspect your car carefully after periods of heat exposure.
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As we’ve covered, wasps can pose a nuisance around your car with their nests and potential damage. But you can take steps to protect your vehicle.
Be aware of what attracts wasps so you can remove lures from your car. Learn proper removal techniques for nests on your mirrors or in your interior.
Make your car inhospitable by sealing cracks, using repellents, and parking carefully.
With vigilance against nesting and quick response when you spot them, wasps don’t stand a chance around your car.
A few simple precautions and early interventions let you hit the open road worry-free. Employ this article’s tips and you can keep wasps away for good while enjoying pest-free summer driving.
Why are wasps attracted to my car?
Wasps go for the sweet smells from spills or crumbs we leave behind. They also love nesting in the warm spots near the engine. All the nooks and crannies are perfect hideouts for their nests too.
Can wasps damage the outside of my car?
Yes, their nests can corrode paintwork over time. They chew through wiring and clog up moving parts. Wasp nests also get heavy enough to crack windows.
Why do wasps build nests on cars?
Cars offer wasps a lot of natural protection. Tight spaces by the engine keep nests hidden and sheltered. Openings around doors allow them to sneak inside and build nests too.
How do I get a wasp out of my car?
Open those windows and let it fly out on its own. Some soapy water can help shoo it along too. Just sit patiently outside the car and wait for it to buzz off. Gently nudge it if you have to.
Resources – (for further reading)
Michigan State University – Getting rid of wasps’ nests