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What should I do?

  • Spray away!

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  • Stay away!

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  • Call a professional exterminator

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  • Take it to the dealer for an in warranty repair

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
No, this is not a bad 1950's monster movie. This morning I went to unplug the PHEV Niro and saw crazy ants on my charging handle. They were also crawling in and out of the charging port.

My first impulse was to grab the bug spray and spray the port. My second thought was that it might foul the charging port. My third thought was that I might invalidate the warranty for an unauthorized modification to the Niro.

Any suggestions?
 

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Find where the ants are coming from and then spray that area. If the car is kept clean there is no food source or attraction for the ants - some need of the ants must be attracting them to the car. They have to be coming form some place other than the car I would think.

How old is your car and how long have you had it? Is it parked outside?
 

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Maybe take the car to a car wash and get the underside cleaned. As @Johnxyz said, the only reason your Niro would have ants is if there is a food source somewhere. It could be you ran over something (milkshake, pizza, whatever) and some got stuck under the car. Likely the ants were just using the charging cable as a highway to the car and the real problem is somewhere else. Good luck debugging your Kia!
 

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If you can figure out what kind of ants they are, there is a gel that you can put down for ants that are attracted to sugar. They take it back to the nest and feed it to the queen and that will kill the colony. But it’s not immediate. Takes a couple of days. The brand that I’ve used is Terro. Or you can make your own with Borax, sugar and water. Look it up on YouTube.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you everyone. I (almost) never eat in the car. I drink black coffee (no sugar) or water, no sugary drinks. So I don't think it is food.

I asked my exterminator. He said that they may be attracted to the heat. They like to nest in warm crevices. He suggested spraying white vinegar around the port and charger after I plug in. I'll do that every time I charge for a while. Maybe that will work.

pcguy shared an interesting article about the problems they caused in TX swarming into electronics and shorting them out. I hope I don't need to replace the battery/charging unit anytime soon. I can just see the faces at Kia when "Reason for replacement" is crazy ants.
 

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I asked my exterminator. He said that they may be attracted to the heat. They like to nest in warm crevices. He suggested spraying white vinegar around the port and charger after I plug in. I'll do that every time I charge for a while. Maybe that will work.
Vinegar is an acid that can cause corrosion and rust on steel.

A safer insecticide is mixing borax (laundry additive) with sugar (maybe powdered sugar or smash he mixture to powder). I did that years ago when carpenter ants were nesting by the front door of my old house in Cleveland. Next day there was a pile of dead ants on the step and while I was looking, another dead ant was dropped on the pile. Following day & thereafter, no ants.
 

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I would spray the charging handle, for one thing; perhaps putting the cover on its end first. I would also spray the charging port and area around it, either while the charging handle is still connected to the car or the cover is on the charge port. This way you're not getting any spray on the contacts, where I doubt it would do much electrical damage anyway - but I guess it pays to be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hello Everyone,

Thank you for your ideas. It was a combination of things that stopped the invasion of the crazy ants.

The vinegar was marginally effective. That was only a stop gap until the exterminator could arrive.

Surprisingly, when I charged the car outside I only saw one or two ants. When the car was inside the garage there were dozens. This was the clue that the exterminator needed.

The entire garage was sprayed with insecticide. The exterminator also gave me baits to use. I put these on the hood and the hinge of charger door. I put one on top of the charger, but the heat melted the bait inside. (The exterminator warned me not to use the baits inside the car. FL sun would melt them, make a mess, and stink up the place.)

A few days later, no ants!

Thank you again.
 
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