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How to keep the %&*$ bugs out?
May 30, 2006 8:41 PM   Subscribe

Bugs making it in through the screen door. Help!

The warm weather has come, and we're having problems with bugs coming in through the screen door from our terrace. They seem to be attracted to the lights inside, and we find them clustering around the glass-dome-type light on the ceiling, and if that's off, across the room by another lamp. (One is incandescent and the other is flourescent, so that doesn't seem to matter.) They are extremely tiny; less than 1mm from front to back, half that in width-- small enough to get through the mesh of the screen. We've never actually seen them outside or on the screen, but we're certain that they're getting in by that route. They have a "pop-hop" sort of movement, lots of crawling and falling.

A) What are they, and more importantly, B) How do I keep them out, short of closing the sliding-glass door?

We've thought of spraying something on the screen itself, but I have no idea of what to use-- DEET, pyrethrins, citronella? The other option might be to use "no-see-um" netting of some sort- really fine mesh that we could drape over the door itself, which is a less attractive option, but I'm willing to do, if anyone can point me in the right direction.

We do not want to have to keep the door shut, and do not want to have to live in the dark.


Has anyone else had a similar problem, and if so, what did you do?
Any other ideas for a solution are welcome.
posted by exlotuseater to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
High Voltage Pulse Generator + (insulated) Screen Door = World's most amusing bug zapper
posted by datacenter refugee at 9:17 PM on May 30, 2006


Mosquito netting over the screen?
posted by zabuni at 9:18 PM on May 30, 2006


I suspect that they really aren't coming through the screen. More likely they're getting in when you open the screen door to go in and out, or they've found another way in.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:54 PM on May 30, 2006


this thread is worthless without pictures
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 10:58 PM on May 30, 2006


Use a yellow lightbulb.
posted by hooray at 6:17 AM on May 31, 2006


Like you said replace your standard screen material with tent style no-seeum material. It's not hard at all. A screen installer tool is cheap and makes things go a lot easier. Black material will be the most invisible.
posted by Mitheral at 6:55 AM on May 31, 2006


I'm going to throw out leafhopper as a guess to what the insects are. They are very common and follow the "pop-hop" movement you described. FWIW, they are also 100% harmless.

as a side note, I was psyched to correct my first wikipedia page in reference to this. They had leafhoppers classified in the order Hemiptra (true bugs), but leafhoppers are in Homoptera (leafhoppers, treehoppers, cicadas).
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:32 AM on May 31, 2006


aww, rats. After reading further I found out that Homoptera has been merged with Hemiptra. Wikipedia is smarter than me. Again.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:37 AM on May 31, 2006


Try putting a fan in front of the window.
posted by hooray at 8:07 AM on May 31, 2006


Some people I know attached some very thin fabric to their window screens to keep out tiny bugs. I'm not sure how they did it, but you might be able to sew it onto the screen around the edges--just use a needle & thread to weave in and out of the screen. Something made of loosely-woven nylon would probably work.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:40 AM on May 31, 2006


If you don't see them on the screen, they may not be coming in through it. I assume you have a sliding screen door. Go out on the terrace at night, and see if there are any big light-leaks around the periphery of the door. Check at the top and bottom of the back edge of the door, too (on the side opposite the handle). If there are light leaks, those are beacons for bugs. Find out what's supposed to be blocking that light, and fix it.

We had a similar problem - tons of very small bugs swarming around the lights inside. When the track for the screen door was put in, they cut back the rib that the door wheels run on, about an inch back from the jamb. Made a lovely lit-up path and door for bugs. I attached a small piece of angle in the gap, and things are better. I also glued a couple of small paint brushes to the back edge of the door, where they will sweep the tracks at top and bottom (and block the light).
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:20 AM on May 31, 2006


I think they might be leafhoppers, and will grab a few tonight to see how they're put together to confirm. They are definitely coming in through the screen, as they make it in through our window, [even when the door is shut] which is sealed completely around the edges.

I think I am going to try to replace the screening in both the door and the window with bug-mesh.

Thanks for the help
posted by exlotuseater at 1:06 PM on May 31, 2006


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