what can i cover my vents with?
November 1, 2008 8:00 AM   Subscribe

I want to cover the heating/air conditioning vents in my apartment with some kind of screen or fabric because they seem to serve as a portal for some really nasty, huge bugs that are walking right in. Can anyone recommend a good material for this that will still allow the air to come through, but will stop the bugs?

I have had the apartment exterminated, but to no avail, I think the basement and the outside need to be exterminated as well, but the landlord will not allow it, so, that's not an option. So, I really just need recommendations for materials to cover the vents, because i know that is where the bugs are coming from. I have watched them.
posted by waywardgirl to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How about the screens used for screen doors
posted by poppo at 8:06 AM on November 1, 2008

You could hot glue window screening (metal mesh) over the side of the vents facing the room. The glue will peel off easily when you move, you can get a metal or black finish on the screen if that matches your vents (or just paint it). It's really cheap at any hardware store, the only problem is unless you have a ton of vents, you're going to buy way more than you need.

However you also don't want a bunch of bugs getting trapped and dying in your vents.
posted by Science! at 8:09 AM on November 1, 2008

Science! - do you really think they will get trapped and die in there? I thought they just might turn around and head back. Well, I would rather have them dead in the vents than crawling on my face when I am sleeping. I am talking about some big bugs.
posted by waywardgirl at 8:18 AM on November 1, 2008

What kind of bugs are they (aside from really big)? Maybe if you could sort out what they are and where they breed, you can attack them at their source.
posted by workerant at 8:21 AM on November 1, 2008

workerant - they are centipedes and big, big spiders. And their source is in the shared basement, via the old basement windows, but the landlords will not allow me to exterminate there. It is annoying. But, yeah, obviously that was the first thought to cross my mind. Sut, anyway, I am now on Plan B: covering the vents.
posted by waywardgirl at 8:25 AM on November 1, 2008

They will likely just ramble on out the way they came in, but there's a chance they won't. I'd just check the vents every week for a month or two and if nothing is dead in there, no sweat. You might not think it but dead bugs, even dead common bugs, can stink.
posted by Science! at 8:30 AM on November 1, 2008

Centipedes or millipedes? If centipedes, I think you can force your landlord to exterminate the basement, as they are hazardous. If millipedes, well, that's less compelling. If you do end up screening your air vents, I'd do it in a removable way so you can clean out the bug corpses periodically. Bugs aren't very smart; they will die in inconvenient places.
posted by workerant at 8:32 AM on November 1, 2008

Sorry to say this (and IANABE) but I imagine they're just going to find another way in. It might be worth trying to cover the vent and see - but I wouldn't hold much hope.
posted by schwa at 8:34 AM on November 1, 2008

You could also buy a filter element for a forced-air furnace and cut pieces to fit inside the louvers of the registers.
posted by TDIpod at 8:35 AM on November 1, 2008

posted by futility closet at 9:06 AM on November 1, 2008

I think I am going to try the cheesecloth because it will be easier and less expensive than the screen material, though I do think the screen will work as well.

Thanks for the ideas!
posted by waywardgirl at 9:38 AM on November 1, 2008

Google vent filters
posted by bkeene12 at 9:43 AM on November 1, 2008

Panty hose. Stretchy so easy to apply.
posted by rokusan at 11:19 AM on November 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

Same problem (except flies), and we bought some screen material online. I think my boyfriend got a roll of it for like $2.79 on Amazon, so it's not as expensive as you may think! Of course, we haven't put the screen material on the vents yet, so I can't tell you how well it works.
posted by echo0720 at 11:38 AM on November 1, 2008

Cheesecloth will block too much air. Even flyscreen will block some air but, given that it is designed to stop bugs, it's the ideal material to use. You can probably remove the grills and attach the flyscreen material on the back of them so it doesn't look ugly - if there is a sufficient flange on the back of the grill, I would wrap the screen material around and use thin wire around the frame to hold the material in place - no fasteners on anything means no problems with the landlord. There are many different types of grill, though, so I can't give you an exact fixing method.

Don't worry about the bugs dying in the ducts - unless there are thousands of them, it's never going to be an issue. If there are thousands, you have much bigger problems than flyscreen can solve.
posted by dg at 2:55 PM on November 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

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