For all the creepy crawling and/or flying insects in the world, nothing is more grotesque or irritating than the cockroach. All it takes for a room full of people to go from calm to total pandemonium is a roach doing some aerial antics. Now just imagine that happening inside your car.
Over a decade ago, I was driving with my girlfriend when a young cockroach decided to crawl up her leg. It took her a moment to realize that it was one of those nasty critters. When she did, all hell broke loose. Let's just say that evening didn't end as well as I hoped it would.
Given this was back when I relied on the neighborhood car wash for all my cleaning needs, I thought that it was just one of those cases where it flew in the car when one of the doors was open. That is until I saw three more babies come running out from the handbrake slit after I pulled it up. This made me wonder if they nested somewhere in the car.
With a flashlight, I started searching for their eggs in all the tight spaces between and under the seats. Lo and behold, I found a french fry (which appeared to have been nibbled by mandibles) and a few bits of bread in a very tight corner of the front passenger seat from one of my drive-thru runs. Not far from the food debris were the remains of a couple of cockroach eggs that looked to have hatched recently.
Instead of taking it to the usual car wash, I decided to tackle the issue myself:
Step 1: I started detailing my interiors by doing a very thorough vacuuming of every square inch of carpeting. I also washed all my fabric mats, and I made sure I got into every crevice in my cabin, especially those hard-to-reach places (including the insides of my dash) as well as removing the rear seats.
Step 2: Now that I'd cleaned up every possible mess in the car, I went back to the source where I found the lodged food and egg skins. Though I'm not a huge fan of using bug spray inside a car, I was glad we at least had water-based insecticides. I sprayed it in the suspected areas of infestation, including the handbrake slit. I also sprayed some areas within my dash, as they tend to thrive and lay eggs in such places. Immediately after spraying, I closed all the doors with the windows completely shut to allow the chemicals to stay concentrated within the cabin.
Step 3: The cockroach has evolved into one of Mother Nature’s toughest bugs. In fact, if we were to experience a nuclear holocaust, experts claim that the cockroach would most likely survive. They key here was to wait it out. The wait revealed that there were a few more of these critters hidden away in unseen places in my cabin. Fortunately, the insecticide managed to kill them as it tends to lure most of them out to die. I proceeded to soak my car in the sun's heat while maintaining some ventilation to air out remaining insecticide vapors.
The result was no more cockroaches. Well, maybe some of you folks have more severe issues than what I experienced, so I'll leave some updated pointers to keep your beloved vehicle ipis-free:
*Do not eat in your car! If you can't avoid it completely, make sure to always do a proper clean-up after.
*If you haven't discovered citronella, it is high time you did. It's nature's gift to us cockroach haters. Like mosquitoes, they can't stand citronella. There are even car fresheners that come with it.
*Avoid parking your car in places where they thrive, like drainage canal openings, sewage drains, or alongside garbage bins.
*Maintain a regular regimen of detailing your interiors. Cockroaches are allergic to cleanliness. Plus, it definitely adds to your pogi points if you’re with a special someone.