Sleeping With An Open Window? Here Are Tips To Keep Bugs Out All Summer Long

Sleeping with an open window is a great way to air out your bedroom and keep your mattress cool during toasty summer nights. However, your dreams of frolicking with Charlie in the infamous chocolate factory or winning a pseudo argument against your arch nemesis will be short-lived if you don't manage to keep bugs out in the summer. The constant buzzing of the flies in your ears will be enough to disturb your REM sleep. Add in blood-sucking bugs, like mosquitoes, to the mix and you'll spend the better part of your night batting them away. But don't worry. Here are a few tips to keep bugs out all summer long.

Start by installing a mesh screen over your windows to keep the bugs out of your bedroom. Additionally, inspect your window frames for holes and seal them, as bugs will be quick to manipulate the gaps and enter your home. But if the frame is rotten, simply caulking the holes won't work. Since a rotten wood frame will invite pests to your home, you need to replace the decaying areas and seal any cracks with caulk before painting or staining the frame to weatherproof it. In case the frame is beyond repair, don't hesitate to replace the entire frame to keep your bedroom bug-free. When dealing with a bug infestation, it's best to let the professionals handle the problem.

Make entry impossible and use repellents to maintain a bug-free bedroom

An open window won't just let breeze in, it'll also invite bugs inside. Your first line of defense is to invest in a sturdy window mesh screen and fit it properly (sans gaps) over the opening. However, it's important to remember that bugs won't just enter your sanctuary through the open windows. If they're already inside your home, they'll enter your bedroom through the tiniest of gaps, like under closed doors and baseboards. So, before you drift off, examine the holes around your home and caulk them all to keep insects out of your house. Plus, install door strips (or sweeps) under your bedroom door with adhesive (or screws) to eliminate the gaps there.

Even after your consistent efforts, it's possible that a few motivated and crafty bugs infiltrate your room. To prevent them from disturbing your sleep, add a mosquito net as a canopy around your bed. The CDC recommends purchasing one that's white, rectangular, and is treated with insecticides like permethrin. You must also check if the net has 156 holes per square inch. For best results, tuck it under the mattress. Don't forget to apply insect repellent with DEET (at least 7 to 10%, but no more than 30%). If you're apprehensive about DEET, the CDC recommends using a repellent with picaridin, 2-undecanone, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), IR3535, or para-menthane-diol (PMD). Or, make a homemade mosquito repellent with citronella and lemon eucalyptus essential oils.

Other tips to keep bugs out of your bedroom

Wear full-sleeved tops and long pants to cover exposed skin and prevent bugs from biting. Opt for tight-woven clothes for best results. Another great tip is to maintain a clean bedroom. This means, don't leave your sweaty gym clothes on the ground, dirty plates on tables, and empty ice cream tubs (uncovered) in the trash. Moreover, don't keep your pet's water bowl out through the night, and ensure there's no waterlogging around your houseplants, as bugs like mosquitoes are attracted to accumulated water.

Further, place a bird feeder outside your bedroom window to let these natural predators take care of the pesky bugs. Alternatively, place bug-repellent plants around window sills. For instance, rosemary, basil, peppermint, lemongrass, and lavender will keep bugs out. If planting isn't possible, buy fresh herbs and house them in shallow pots around your window. Fresh lemon peels will also keep bugs out. Keep your bedroom's lights off to avoid attracting bugs. Or, draw inspiration from a 2017 experiment and expose them to white light for a few minutes (10 to 30 should work) to throw insects', like mosquitoes', circadian rhythm off and lower their penchant for biting. In case you get stand fans to keep you cool at night, position them near the window to make it difficult for bugs to remain airborne. Ensure you don't have to spend your night battling bugs by keeping the windows closed during times they're most active, aka dusk and dawn.