Why are Wasps Attracted to My Car?

Wasps are never a nice surprise, but when these resilient insects are buzzing around our cars, it is even worse. There are several things that can bring bees and wasps to your car especially predatory wasp species like yellow jackets. Knowing what causes hungry wasps to hoover over your car can help you avoid this unpleasant and sometimes scary situation.

Wasp stings have a higher chance of causing anaphylactic shock since stinging insects that don’t die, like honey bees, after just one sting, can inject a lot of toxins very quickly. Yellow jackets and other wasp species will hang around your vehicles if they have a reason. This article will tell you why wasps are attracted to your car and what to do about it. 

Why Are Wasps Attracted to Cars?

The most common answer to why wasps are attracted to cars is that the heat from the grill leads wasps to think a predator is around that needs to be attacked. While this isn’t entirely correct, heat could be a reason wasps and yellow jackets are congregating around your vehicle. Bright colors, strong odors, vibrations, and dead insects can all also contribute to wasps hanging around your car. 


Wasps are extremely sensitive to temperatures and will be able to identify the increased heat being put off by an engine from a decent distance. In cooler climates, wasps may hang out in the evenings to hunt later, using the heat to stay active longer. Heat changes can also give wasps compelling reasons to hang out and even start building nests if they can find the building materials nearby.


The vibrations from an idling engine can draw wasps out of hiding places and bring them into the engine. Based on how the vent system works, wasps sucked into the intake could make their way into the cabin. Make sure to keep your car away from known wasp locations if you will be idling for a long time. 


Different types of wasps will try to build nests wherever they can, like paper wasps. If there is organic material in our cars that wasps have access to, like papers and cardboard drink carriers, wasps may build nests on or inside your car. Nearby wasp nests can also bring pests to our cars. 


The water and condensation that leaks from cars can make our cars a good location for wasps to find water in the summer or in dry regions. It is not rare to see wasps drinking water that pooled under our cars early in the morning, and have to get past them to get out of the driveway.

Check the ground for wasps drinking sprinkler water in the morning as well. 

Food Sources

Yellow jackets are scavengers and feed on dead insects, tree sap, leftover food scraps, and anything else they can get their jaws on. If our car is messy and dirty, there will be plenty of wasp food sources for them to feast on. Depending on the type of wasp common in your area, the pests will be attracted by different food sources, so keep your car clean of all trash to ensure wasp-free vehicles. 

Major Wasp Magnets

The many different wasp attractants that can be found around our cars make it hard to keep all pests at bay. A queen wasp might even choose to nest in your car, giving you a real problem and the need to call a pest control company. Before you go out and buy wasp traps or contact a pest control professional, try to remove these common wasp magnets and see if the problem goes away on its own.

MagnetWhat It Looks LikeWhat To Do
HeatWasps hovering around the hot grilleLet the car cool or spray wasp killer or water to get rid of them
OdorsWasps swoop from structures and trees and hover around open windows where smells are present. Clean the car and close windows when wasp activity has settled down
Parking SpotWasp nest near a car that allows wasps easy accessMove the vehicle when wasps are sleeping and remove or destroy the wasp nest
Prey BugsWasps carrying insects away from the hood and windshield of the carClean the car regularly and keep it parked inside during wasp seasons from summer to fall
Fruity SmellWasps swooping near windows and open doorsChange the scent to something none fruity, or move your car during wasp seasons

How to Get Wasps Off of Your Car?

 Flying Wasp or Bee

If you have wasps inside or around your car, you will need to deal with it before it gets worse or someone gets stung. The section below will help you eliminate wasps holding your vehicle hostage, but if you are trying to avoid these flying pests, try the following steps:

Move Car

It is possible that the place your car is parked is square in wasp territory. Wasps try to build nests in the same area every year, and if your car is near where they nested before, they may mistake your car for a home. Simply move your car to a covered area or away from wasp activity, and you may avoid worse wasp problems for good. 

Clean Car

Strong odors from a messy car can attract flies and wasps as well as ants and many other pests. Keeping the inside of the car clean of trash, food scraps, and other debris will reduce the number of pests hanging around. Fewer pests mean fewer wasps coming to hunt these insects and hiding around your car.

Cleaning the outside of the car will also prevent pests and can replace strong odors with less floral ones. 

Cover Car

If you will not be using your car for a while, try to put it somewhere that is covered. Make sure the covered area doesn’t also have a wasp nest, or you might be inviting other problems. You can also cover your car with a cloth or plastic cover designed for your vehicle to keep pests out and dirty and grime away. 

How to Destroy Wasps In a Vehicle?

If wasps are in your car, you can kill them yourselves if you are confident enough and well-equipped with the right tools and information. First, you need to wear protective clothing like eye protection and long sleeves. After that, grab a specially formulated wasp killer and prepare to kill these nasty buggers.

Spray Wasp Killer

Open any door or window that is safe to access and spray contents into the car. Close the door and let the spray sit for 24 hours. You can also spray into engines and any vents you have access to in order to add poison to the internal parts of the car. Once you have killed the active wasps, you can open panels and spray again to kill any survivors inside the car parts. 

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Park in the Sun

In warm climates, parking a car in direct sunlight will allow cabin temperatures to reach over 120 degrees which is hot enough to kill any wasps inside. Make sure to clean up all carcasses, or you may attract other pests to your car. Close the windows and leave window screens down to increase the effect of sunlight heating the car.

Open Doors and Scare Wasps Out

If only one wasp is inside, you can try to open the door and windows and scare it out. Once the wasp has flown out, you can seal the car and move it if a nest is nearby is bring the pests closer to your car. Only try this if you are sure there is only one wasp, and you can do it without getting stung. Otherwise, try spraying or other methods to kill the wasps and keep yourself safe.