Once the bed bugs have their passport stamped into the UK they are hard to expel. Not only do they travel on trains - such as the Eurostar - but also another method of travel, vehicles.

Bed bugs have been known to make a home in cars, especially those with high volumes of people coming and going, also taxis or buses.

To help prepare for the possible UK infestation, international automotive retailer, Group 1 Automotive, have pulled together a list of signs to look out for, and ways to remove and eliminate bed bugs from your vehicles once and for all.

Key signs of bed bugs in cars

Spotting bed bugs in your vehicle can be a tricky task, as they may be small, but they sure are mighty. Some of the key signs to look for include:

The critters themselves - Bed bugs aren’t as small as some people think, and you can spot them with a keen eye. Make sure to check areas such as mats on the floor, upholstery, and car seats.

Foul odours - Cars are contained areas, and within these, smells can be prominent. Bed bugs tend to give off a musty odour, which can be similar to damp clothes.

Blood - As disgusting as this can seem, bed bugs can leave a trail of blood in their path. This is due to them releasing blood when on the move, and though it can be hard to spot in dark interior cars, this is another stand-out sign that they are lurking around.

Eggs - Bed bugs are known to multiply, and fast, so noticing eggs is an important step. These eggs can be small, but look almost ‘pearly white’, very similar to a grain of rice. Unless you’ve had a food shop spillage, this is something that shouldn’t be ignored.

Bites - One of the major signs of a bed bug infestation is bites. These are red spots that can appear on the skin and be very irritating and itchy. If you find that you exit your vehicle and find these marks, you may be unwillingly running a bed bug hotel.

Tips to remove and eliminate bed bugs from cars:

Once you’ve spotted the tell-tale signs of a bed bug infestation, it’s important to act fast to stop the tiny creatures from multiplying. Here are some tips to remove bed bugs from your vehicle:

A thorough deep clean - Performing a thorough deep clean of your car is a great first step. Start by removing any mats, car seats, headrests, and other accessories such as seat covers, steering wheel covers, and anything else you think they could be hiding in.

Vacuum the surfaces to pick up as much waste, and bed bug evidence as possible, to remove the problem before it gets worse. Remember to use a vacuum that has an easy waste disposal process. The vacuum itself won't kill them, so they are likely to stay in the device and multiply, so it’s important to know you can dispose of the waste easily.

A bed bug’s biggest weakness: Heat - Bed bugs can’t survive in hot environments so applying some heat treatment is a highly effective step to eliminating them. Steam cleaning is a great way to kill the bugs, as well as any bacteria on the surface. If you can’t do this yourself, call in some professional car cleaning assistance. 

Insecticides - Using chemicals to kill bed bugs is another effective method and substances such as diatomaceous earth or pyrethroid sprays are common bed bug killers that can work. Ensure you cover all surfaces thoroughly to maximise the impact and always remember to check any chemicals you use beforehand, as some of these may not be suitable around pets or children.

Gain professional assistance - If you feel you have a severe bed bug infestation, or would rather be safe than sorry, gain the help of an exterminator, or professional car cleaning service.

A spokesperson at Group 1 Automotive has discussed the tips provided, and detailed the importance of these processes in case of a bed bug infestation in your vehicle:

“The recent discussion surrounding the potential bed bug infestation hitting the UK highlights the significance of taking proactive measures to curb any potential infestations that may occur.

"It is crucial to ensure that your vehicle remains free"

“Bed bugs, though already a nuisance, can become even more of an annoyance when present in your vehicle. Besides the usual cleaning regimes, which you would carry out for obvious reasons, it’s so important to eliminate any bed bugs to ensure safer journeys on the road for yourself, and any passengers.

“Spotting a bed bug in your vehicle while driving can pose a substantial threat, both to those inside and outside the vehicle - especially if you get easily bugged out by them. It is crucial to ensure that your vehicle remains free from any possible bed bug infestation before embarking on journeys, mitigating any potential consequences that may arise.

“By carrying out the methods outlined above, such as comprehensive cleaning, steam treatments, and the careful application of insecticides, you can start to worry less about any severe infestations, and more about the safety and comfort of all passengers.”