How to Keep Bugs Out Without Door Screens

Nobody likes having bugs in their home. They’re a nuisance, they make things feel unclean, and they are always finding their way into things you would rather keep away from them.

But at the same time, screen doors can be unsightly and undesirable as well. So, what can you do to keep bugs out that don’t involve screen doors?

Well, you’d be surprised at what options are available to you if you are willing to forego such devices. The more you know about bugs and the things they hate, the more ways you will have to keep insects out of your home. In this article, we will cover:

  • Alternatives to Screen Doors for Keeping Bugs Out
    • Fly Blinds
    • Storm Doors
    • Retractable Screens
  • Other Ways to Keep Bugs Out of the Home
    • Chemical Barriers
    • DIY Vinegar Bug Repellent
    • Using Sticky Tape
    • Get a Bug Zapper
  • Lifestyle Tips for Reducing Bug Numbers
    • Keep the Home Clean
    • Turn Off as Many Lights as Possible
    • Grow Plants that Naturally Repel Insects

Alternatives to Screen Doors For Keeping Bugs Out

Before getting into the more complicated methods of keeping bugs away, we should probably talk about tools that are somewhat similar to screen doors.

There are actually many devices out there that function somewhat similarly while being relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

If you don’t want a screen door purely for aesthetics, these options may suit you.

Fly Blinds

Fly blinds are pretty much just thin strips of material that hang down from your doorframe. They are extremely cheap and very simple to put up and take down.

That said, they tend to look a little outdated (somewhat reminiscent of the seventies) and they don’t completely seal an entryway, meaning that flying bugs could still get in.

Still, a fly blind greatly reduces the number of flying bugs that can get in, and they are super cheap and simple to install, so if that’s all you care about, they are a pretty good choice.

Storm Doors

Swoolverton, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Storm doors are a lot like door screens, except they aren’t screens. Storm doors primarily serve the purpose of keeping your actual door safe from the elements, especially when those elements get rough.

Storm doors are usually made of glass and thus allow one to see in and out of them, and the glass panels can usually be opened or closed.

Basically, imagine a glass door serving alongside your main door. You could open your main door but leave the storm door closed, which will allow natural light in while still keeping bugs out.

That said, storm doors are more expensive than screen doors and usually come in set sizes, so it can be more difficult to find the size you need.

Retractable Screens

These are screen doors that you can instantly put away with ease. When you don’t want the screen, you simply allow it to retract into a well-concealed device at the top of the door or window.

It’s easy to pull down when needed and easy to hide when you don’t want it. You get the benefit of a screen door without always having to look at one.

On top of that, some of these retractable screens have secondary features, like reducing sun glare or heat from the outside air.

Admittedly, this is a more expensive option than the others, but it’s definitely the best as far as functionality and aesthetics are concerned.

Other Ways to Keep Bugs Out of the Home

While there are some suitable alternatives to a screen door, maybe you want to avoid that system of prevention altogether?

Maybe you don’t want anything on your doors or windows, even if they can be hidden when not in use? If that’s you, don’t worry: there are still some things you can do to keep bugs out of your house.

Chemical Barriers

It should come as no surprise, but chemical barriers are a great way to stop bugs from causing problems. There are many things out there that can be used to create a barrier around windows and doors.

Admittedly, this will not stop flying insects as they will not come into contact with the chemicals, but it will work on terrestrial insects.

Two great options that can easily be purchased at stores include boric acid and food-grade diatomaceous earth.

Using these is as simple as dusting them around your door and window frames. While they are safe to touch, boric acid can be very dangerous if pets ingest it, so you may want to look for alternatives if you are a pet owner.

DIY Vinegar Bug Repellant

Vinegar has a scent that is repulsive to many insects, both crawling and flying. This means you can make your own insect repellant with standard cooking vinegar and water.

All you have to do is create a 50/50 mix of the two substances and put the solution in a spray bottle. Then you can just spray it around door and window frames as needed.

The solution will have a residual effect and keep bugs out for some time, though you must be wary about your paint, as some paint finishes are sensitive to things like vinegar and may be damaged.

If the repellant is not keeping all bugs out, you can adjust the vinegar to water ratio to make it even more potent.

Using Sticky Tape

This method will not keep flying bugs out, but it will protect your home from anything that crawls. It’s pretty simple, actually: take some double-sided tape with strong adhesive, and create a barrier all the way around your door and window frames.

Crawling insects will get caught on the tape and stopped in their tracks when they try to enter your home.

The only thing about this strategy is that you will have to change out the tape from time to time and it will likely have a lot of dead bugs on it. If you are the squeamish type, this option might not be great for you.

Get a Bug Zapper

If you want to keep flying bugs away but also want to keep your doors or windows open, a bug zapper will go a long way to keeping their numbers down.

Bug zappers attract and neutralize flying bugs, and will catch a lot of them before they manage to fly into your home. Keep in mind this will not catch every single insect.

Still, it’s a nice defensive option that will significantly reduce the number of flies and moths you have to put up with.

Lifestyle Tips for Reducing Bug Numbers

There are plenty of nifty things tools and chemicals that can be used to try and get rid of bugs, but one of the best ways to keep bugs out of your home is to take steps to make it less attractive to them in the first place. There are certain things you should keep in mind about your home if you want to cut down on bugs.

Keep the Home Clean

Bugs often come into a home in search of food and water. So if you have crumbs or spills in your house a lot, that is going to be a big incentive for insects to come inside and see what they can find.

This is especially true for insects like ants. You should sweep or vacuum regularly, and keep food and drink in secure containers that bugs can’t access.

Turn Off as Many Lights as Possible

Most everyone knows that light attracts flying bugs. While there are certain colors of light (such as yellow/orange) that are not as attractive to bugs, the least attractive light of all is the light that is not on!

When possible, you should turn off both indoor and outdoor lights to minimize the attractiveness of your home to insects.

This is especially true if it is darker outside than it is in your house, as the lights in your home wills and out even more. 

Grow Plants That Naturally Repel Insects

There are many different species of plants that naturally repel insects, generally due to their scent. Simply growing some of these plants near entryways to your home will help keep bugs away.

Popular options include mint, bay leaves, citronella, chives, dill, oregano, and catnip, though there are dozens more.

If you are really in the mood for the exotic, you could grow actual predatory plants like Venus flytraps or pitcher plants, though these are pretty much just less efficient bug zappers. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to have them around.


If you don’t want screen doors or windows, you have many alternative options. There are other barriers similar to screen doors, you can use DIY home methods to try and keep bugs away, or you can change how you live around your home to make it less appealing to insects.

Of course, if you really want to keep bugs out, you could always try all of them!

Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:

Why Do Bugs Die Near Light? (And More Related Questions Answered)

How to Stop Bugs from Coming Through Window Air Conditioner

What Can I Put on My Windowsill to Keep Bugs Away? (Three Minute Read)

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page

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