Wednesday, August 17, 2011


A few months ago, I found the first ant, crawling on the dashboard of my car. It was black and fairly innocent looking. I smashed it and kept driving.

Within days I was playing “Whack an Ant” at every stoplight. I noticed that the creatures congregated on my dash and on the console between the two front seats. Later, I started finding them on the inside of the driver’s side door. Lots of ants, everywhere. They were crawling on my legs as I drove. It was creepy.

I can’t say that I’ve never had ants in my car before. The prior summer, we had a million almost microscopic ants in the backseat, dining on crumbs of various “eat-in-the-car” meals and snacks. I ended those bad boys with a few ant homes and a particularly cold winter (like how I took credit for the weather there?). These ants were different. They didn’t care about the back seat, or the food, or anything like that. And that made these ants very un-antlike.

I got some ant spray and coated the dash, console, seats, and floor. I left it overnight and was rewarded with lots of dead ants on the floor. “Victory!” I thought. Except it wasn’t a victory at all. As soon as I turned the car on and started driving, more of the little buggers showed up. It was crazy!

My epiphany occurred when I was driving my daughter back from the hair salon. During our brief trip, more and more ants were showing up on the driver’s side door. And on the console. And on the passenger’s side seat. And in my lap. They were everywhere.

Then, as I was stopped at a light, smacking little black bodies on my legs, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Something a little shiny, reflecting the light, flying through the air. What?

I looked more closely. It happened again. Something flew out of the air conditioner vent. This time, I was able to see where it landed on the console. It was an ant! It scurried away, and the awful realization hit me (as did another ant): they were in the air conditioner!

That explained the odd placement of the ants. They were flying out of the vents and landing on surfaces in line with those vents. So if I didn’t have them aimed right at me, they would land on the doors and console. If it was hot and I was aiming everything at my face, they were flying about as far as my lap and scurrying all over my legs. It was like a horror movie!

I immediately turned off the air and had a smack-fest, killing every crawling thing in sight. Nothing new showed up, which taught me that the ants were actually not willingly leaving the air conditioner; they were blown out against their will. I did not feel sorry for them.

I rolled down the windows for the drive home. I only saw an occasional ant that way, which reduced the gross-out factor considerably and made me a much better driver (it’s hard to drive and smack tiny creatures at the same time). But even those few miles of safety and relative buglessness were interrupted as a giant wasp flew in through my open window. People drive with their windows down every day and I guarantee none of them have stinging bugs randomly flying in. This is the kind of crap that can only happen to me. 
I didn’t see the wasp at first, but my four-year-old daughter sure did. She launched into hysterics, and the bomber-sized bug swooped at my head. I ducked abruptly, which triggered a colossal muscle spasm in my upper abdomen. I shooed the wasp out and rolled the windows up to pacify The Girl, who had lost her mind in the back seat. We drove home in sweaty silence, with me painfully bent over, waiting for the spasm to loosen.

By the end of the thankfully short drive home, I had a plan. I unloaded The Girl and armed myself with ant spray. I squirted the seats, console, and inside the air vents with eco-friendly bug spray. Then I turned on the car, flipped on the A/C and waited. As expected, tons of ants came flying out, but none of them were dead. They landed on the soaked seats and kept walking. They only died when I actually hit them with a stream of spray. I stood and squirted for a long time. When the ants seemed to stop flying, I turned the car off and left the windows open so it could air out.

Later, I went back out to check. I turned on the A/C and although there were some ant corpses lying about, many more came flying out. I repeated the spraying scenario, and wet everything enough that I needed to sit on a towel to drive later in the day. And still, as soon as I turned on the air, I was pelted with flying ants. Ridiculous.

Clearly my ant spray wasn’t powerful enough to get the job done, right? I asked Husband to pick up something different on the way home. Screw than eco-friendly crap. I needed toxins. That night I soaked every ant ridden surface in my car with something full of carcinogens. And in the morning, I had a lot of dead ants on the floor. Excellent!

Except they were still in the A/C. It was like I had an endless stream of ants in there. I considered various other options, like setting the car on fire. Then I mentioned my nightmare on facebook, and a friend told me she’d had a similar problem with what sounded like the same kind of ants. She set off a bug bomb (one of those room fogger thingos) in her car and it totally worked.

What did I have to lose? I bought a fogger and  removed toys and whatnot from the car so that they wouldn’t get covered with poison. This took a lot longer than you might have thought. I set that bad boy off and returned to my house to wait (and, you know, do stuff). After the required number of hours, I went outside to remove the fogger and air the car out. There were approximately eleventy million ants on the floor of my car, as well one roach (EW). All dead. I cleaned up that whole situation and then cautiously turned on the air, leaping backward to avoid being pelted.



So for the next month or more, my car had that weird flowery bug spray smell in it. As much as I hate pesticides, no smell has ever been as sweet. Why? Because it was the smell of victory!


  1. congratulations on the bugkill. no more food in the car? sounds like a good idea to me.

  2. That was the kicker: these ants weren't after the food. Apparently they live in and around oak trees. My friend got them in her trunk, and she had no food in her car to my knowledge. Totally crazy.

  3. Great story! I have also had a similar situation and found that the bug bombs really do work...however your story is hilarious. I hope you stay bug free for a very long

  4. OMG I am having this problem too! But I just discovered it today! I was totally freaked out. I thought it was just weird dust flying out of my vents. But when I looked I said "OMFG the "dust" is moving!!!" What kind of fogger did you use for your car? :(((((

  5. We just bought a fogger that said it was for ants. Good luck!