Where Do Cockroaches Hide in Cars? | Identification and Control Guide 

Cockroaches are probably the most frightening pests you can find in your car. Although you might think that roaches are only common in houses, they can also enter cars without noticing them.

This is why you should know where they can be possibly hiding inside your car and how they were able to get in secretly.

Where do cockroaches hide in cars? Cockroaches hide in the hidden and darkest areas inside a car where there is food and moisture. This includes under the seats, inside and under the glove compartment or trunk, stereo system speakers, sunroof, damaged roof liner, center console, and other small storage units. 

Cockroaches in cars are a very scary sight and should be avoided. But while they are lots of possible ways to get rid of them, some of them may not be effective.

In this article, you will learn the different strategies to kill cockroaches inside your car and prevent them from coming back without damaging your precious car.

Why Are Roaches Attracted to My Car?

Why Are Roaches Attracted to My Car

Roaches are attracted to your car for the same reasons that they are attracted to enter your house – food, water, shelter, and a comfortable place where they can lay eggs.

Cars also have high humidity levels and excess moisture. These conditions attract these creepy critters since these are their natural habitats.

Can Roaches Live In a Car?

Roaches can live in a car and will not leave as long as they have what they need. They can multiply very quickly, and an infestation is very likely to happen once you ignore them.

They are also very good at hiding, which means you might not notice their presence unless you see them crawling or at rest.

How Did Roaches Get In My Car?

Roaches got into your car because they are excellent hitchhikers. Without your knowledge, they can get into your belongings such as boxes, bags, suitcases, and clothes.

This is not impossible, especially if you park your car in damp and dirty areas. This scenario can also happen even if you have just cleaned your car.

Roaches can also enter your car if you park or stop for a long time near their habitat and open your windows.

But even if your windows are closed and doors are locked, they can also pass through door cracks, air conditioning vents, or undercarriage. Cars are not airtight and are not designed to be cockroach-proof.

How Long Do Roaches Live For?

How Long Do Roaches Live For

Depending on the species, adult roaches can live for about a year but can survive without food for only a month. Interestingly, they can also live for a month without a head.

The average life span for adult American cockroaches is about 440 days, while adult German cockroaches can live for about 100 days only. 

Do Cockroaches Attract Other Bugs?

Do Cockroaches Attract Other Bugs

Cockroaches don’t attract other bugs, but they may go where cockroaches are if they sense food. Nonetheless, dead cockroaches attract other cockroaches but not with empathy.

Instead, roaches are attracted to the dead ones because they eat them. Roaches are not picky eaters since cannibalism is one of their common traits.

Dangers of Having Cockroaches in Your Car

Generally speaking, cockroaches rarely bite humans and are also not known for attacking people. However, the sight of cockroaches inside a car while driving can lead to panic and can cause road accidents.

This is what happened to a 61-year old woman in Singapore in 2018 when she saw roaches while driving alone.

Aside from that, cockroaches eat human feces and can transmit bacteria that can lead to serious diseases such as cholera, dysentery, leprosy, salmonella, and typhoid fever.

Roach feces, saliva, eggs, and skin covering can cause allergy, asthma, and serious respiratory conditions, especially to children and the elderly.

How to Tell When Your Car Is Infested With Cockroaches?

How to Tell When Your Car Is Infested With Cockroaches

As mentioned earlier, cockroaches get into your car hoping to find food and shelter. They are omnivorous scavengers and eat a wide variety of organic foods.

This includes meat, sweets, moldy food, garbage, and decaying matter. With this, here are some signs that your car is infested with cockroaches:

  • If you see them crawling fast to dark areas. This is the most obvious sign, though.
  • If you found some small pieces of food on the seats and floor.
  • If you found some food wrappers hidden under the seats
  • If you leave empty bottles and cans of beer, soda, and other sweetened drinks.
  • If you found roach feces, wings, and other body parts.
  • If you see a single cockroach in the day, there is likely to be more of them. This is because roaches are nocturnal creatures, which means they are most active at night.

Is It Ok to Bug Bomb Your Car?

It is not ok to bug bomb your car even if there’s a heavy infestation. Also called foggers, bug bombs are insecticides that spray out all at once.

But according to a study from North Carolina State University, foggers are ineffective indoors because they don’t reach places where roaches hide the most.

Aside from that, bug bombs also pose some health risks because they contain toxic ingredients that can cause coughing, dizziness, headaches, and vomiting.

But worst of all, foggers are a fire hazard and may explode if too much of it is used and not used as per instruction. This is likely possible if used inside a car.

How Do I Rid My Car of Roaches?

Having cockroaches in your car can be very annoying. Aside from being creepy-looking, they can also leave bacteria that can cause severe diseases.

So, if you saw even only one roach inside your car, you should immediately take action. Here are some of the things you should do to rid your car of cockroaches:

  • Vacuum your car immediately and thoroughly.
  • Clean every corner of your car interior, including door handles and push-button switches.
  • Pick up food wrappers, debris, and other food sources of roaches.
  • Make sure there are no dead roaches, eggs, and feces left inside.
  • If you decide to crush roaches, wipe the area immediately and spray with an antibacterial cleaner such as Lysol Disinfectant Spray.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Roaches in a Car?

The fastest way to get rid of roaches in a car is to use a portable, cordless vacuum cleaner such as VacLife Handheld Vacuum, Cyclone Hand Vacuum Cleaner. When used properly, this will not only catch cockroaches but will also remove food particles and residue that roaches are there for in the first place.

How Do You Get Rid of Roaches Overnight?

Getting rid of roaches at night can be a bit challenging since it is the time that most people sleep. On the other hand, there is also a huge chance of success since roaches are most active at night rather than in the day.

To help you out, here are some tips for killing cockroaches overnight in cars or inside your house.

  • Find out where roaches are hiding. Use a flashlight when inspecting dark and small spaces.
  • Place cockroach sticky traps near these areas.
  • Alternatively, use roach bait traps that contain a mixture of food and poison.
  • For dry areas, apply silica aerogel in cracks, crevices, and void areas.
  • You may also use diatomaceous earth (DE) to kill roaches on contact.
  • For your kitchen, upholstery, and car interior, use a steam cleaner such as Eave Handheld Steam Cleaner. The hot temperature will not only kill adults but their eggs as well.

Best Cockroach Traps for Use in Cars

There are two types of cockroach traps – sticky traps and bait traps. In general, both of them are effective in killing roaches inside your car.

However, some of them may contain harsh chemicals that can harm children and pets. To help you avoid health risks, here are five of the best non-toxic roach traps for cars:

1. Catchmaster Roach Trap – Cockroach Killer Pest Control 

Made in the USA, this Catchmaster Roach Trap has a foldable design that you place anywhere inside your car. It is designed to kill all kinds of roaches, without the use of toxic chemicals. This fantastic sticky trap also helps you know where roaches are coming from. You can also move it easily from one place to another.

2. Black Flag Roach Motel Insect Trap

This Black Flag Roach Motel Insect Trap traps and kills cockroaches, but you don’t see them. This unique “motel” design is ideal for people who cannot take the sight of cockroaches, dead or alive. On average, it can trap cockroaches for 4 months continuously, depending on how many roaches you have inside your car.

3. HOY HOY Trap A Roach – Pesticide Free Bait Glue Traps

Dubbed as Japan’s No.1 roach tap, HOY HOY Bait Glue Traps have no toxic chemicals but rather irresistible baits for cockroaches that are arranged separately to avoid mixing of taste and scent. Aside from cars, you can also place them in your cabinets, under the sinks, behind the refrigerators, and other hidden areas.

4. Syngenta 383920 Advion Cockroach Gel Bait

These Advion Syngenta Cockroach Bait Tubes are designed to kill all species of roaches with no mercy. For better results, simply squeeze the tubes in areas where roaches are coming from. The cockroaches will then get the bait and bring it to their nest, making this product ideal in severe infestations inside your car. 

5. Hot Shot HG-95789 Roach Killer

This Hot Shot Roach Killer uses liquid bait that contains both food and water, which means it can attract more cockroaches. With proper use, this product can be more effective than food-only bait traps since it also kills roach eggs and their nest. For safety purposes, keep the traps out of the reach of children or pets.

Hiring a Cockroach Exterminator for Cars

For very severe cockroach infestations in your car, you might want to ask the help of a cockroach exterminator. A pest control professional knows how to identify different types of roaches and knows the correct way to kill them. But make sure you choose a cockroach exterminator that is licensed and trustworthy.

Tips to Prevent Having Cockroaches in Your Car

Cockroaches are notorious scavengers and will eat almost anything available to them. Just like houses, cars also offer lots of very small openings for them. Therefore, the best way to prevent roaches from entering your car is not to give them reasons to come in. Here are some simple but very useful tips you can do:

1. Don’t eat in your car.

No matter how careful you are, there will always be some food particles that will spill everywhere. If you cannot avoid eating inside, clean your car as soon as possible, especially if your small children and pets are also eating with you.

2. Check your items before bringing them to your car.

Stop inviting roaches to your car by checking all the items you bring inside. This includes clothes, books, food, and groceries. Make sure there is no spillage once you start driving. If something accidentally spilled, clean the area at once.

3. Avoid parking near garbage cans and damp areas.

As mentioned earlier, cockroaches need dirt and water for them to survive. As much as possible, don’t park near garbage cans and damp areas. If you do, close all the doors and windows and clean your car once you get home.

4. Clean your car regularly.

At least once a week, remove floor rubber matting and carpet and vacuum them and clean them with soapy water. Inspect all storage areas carefully, and clean them thoroughly. A clean exterior also discourages roaches from getting inside.

5. Install car air freshener.

Don’t buy car air fresheners that contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Such products can cause headaches, nausea, liver damage, and more. Instead, use those with natural scents such as Air Spencer CS-X3 Car Air Freshener.


Again, cockroaches are dangerous to public health but could pose more danger once they invade your car, especially while you are driving.

So before hitting the road, don’t just check the tires, lights, engine, and brakes of your car. Remove also all the clutter inside, and don’t wait for the roaches to do it for you.

List of Sources

The Cockroach FAQ.


Can Bug Bombs Really Explode?