How to win your battle with bugs
European windows don’t usually have screens like we’re used to in the United States. Since we don’t have air conditioning, we have to open the windows more often. That means those flies, mosquitos, bees and other insects have a chance to get in. I don’t know about you, but bugs and I do not get along! This prompted one of my most serious missions yet … Operation Bug Off (yes, that is what I called it)!
Here’s a guide to different options to shield you from creepy crawlies.
There are many options for screens (Fliegengitter). The type you choose depends on your budget and the amount of time you want to spend on installation.
The most economical screens are secured with a self-adhering tape that uses hook and loop to secure the screen. If you have older style (usually wood frame) windows, you will have to allow some extra screen material so the window will close (see picture below). I will not tell you how long and how many attempts it took me to arrive at this bright idea.
The other option is framed screens. You can size them up to certain dimensions specified by the product. This video specific to the Tesa brand will give you an idea of the installation process to help you decide.
The screens come in black and white. Black was our preference because the color outside looks more natural. We didn’t want anything distorting all the natural beauty surrounding us. Some brands also have screens designed to protect from the sun and heat. This will be very helpful if you’re on the top floor of an apartment building or for the highest floor in your house. You’ll want to keep these windows open during the summer to let the hot air up and out. These reflective screens will help keep additional heat out.
Roof windows (Dachfenster)
Retailers sell screens specifically for these windows because they open differently. The more budget-friendly versions either adhere to the ceiling around the window, or the screens have an elastic edge and stay up with four plastic hook-like pieces in each corner. I would have preferred the framed screens. They don’t sag down from the ceiling because of the extra material. However, ours needed to be special ordered because it is wider than the standard in-store size. I did not want to spend that much on a house we don’t own. If you’re window measurements meet the requirement 110 centimeters by 160 centimeters or less, I'd go with the framed screens.
The most important aspect for me was to make sure it blocked as much sun and heat as possible because the window would stay open to allow inside hot air to escape. Therefore, we went with the Sun Protect screen. You can also find these same screens in stores, such as OBI and Toom.
Screens for doors are very similar to those for windows. The color options are the same, and the assembly is generally similar. However, they’re mounted on the doorframe with hinge brackets. Most don’t require any drilling or screws to secure.
Fly paper (Fliegenköder)
The fly paper I was used to is not very attractive. In my mind, they’re these long, spiral, yellow-ish strips that hang from the ceiling. On one of my weekly shopping trips to Aldi, I discovered Fliegenköder, which are stickers that look like pretty flowers but kill flying insects. These work amazingly well.
Tip: Keep an eye out for dead bugs. Some children and pets think they’re toys or snacks.
Spiders are your friends.
Never in a million years did I think I would live in harmony with spiders! If I saw a spider, it was going to die. Very simple! However, these little critters eat all the other bugs you don’t want in your house. Reluctantly, I have come to terms with keeping a healthy level of spiders in the home. Almost every room has one or two in a corner. Somehow, it’s better that I know where they are. For the spiders that don’t know my rule on staying in the corner, I’m sorry. You’re toast!
How you chose to shield your domain may takes some experimenting. However, these tips should be able to accelerate your learning curve. Have more tips? Let us know at contentteam[at]stripes[dot]com.