The History of Insect Control and Bug Screens

The History of Insect Control and Bug Screens

Insects are a common sight worldwide and have become a constant issue as they continue to invade our space. Insect control and bug screens have made it possible to keep pests away from us and maintain a controlled area free of bugs. The history of these methods and this reliable item is important for understanding the evolution of insect control and why it is so common today.

The Importance of Insect Control

The world has exponentially more insects than humans, and it's easy to find them in any corner of the world. Insects don't have respect for personal space and often invade ours when we're not aware of their presence. Some bugs are dangerous and may lead to illness or disease, such as mosquitoes, ticks, and scorpions, while some may bite or sting, causing intense pain, such as wasps and bees.

This constant invasion of space and the threat of harmful bugs makes insect control essential for anyone. Many people who enjoy the fresh air of the outside world or who love camping will encounter more insects and need protection as they crawl and buzz around. The various insect control methods are important for anyone to maintain a clear space without worrying about the annoyance of insects disturbing them.

The History of Insect Control

Throughout the long history of civilization, insects presented various problems to humans, with some instances becoming life-threatening obstacles that we have had to overcome. Many of us have encountered issues with insects; although they’re quite a disturbance, it’s preventable through various measures. But centuries ago, many people struggled with insect control and needed various methods to keep them at bay or kill them.

Ancient Methods

The earliest records of insect control occurred around 3000 BC in ancient Egypt. The people of Egypt at that time used cats as a method to get rid of pests such as rodents and insects. In 2500 BC, the ancient Sumerians used sulfur to kill insects that would feed on their crops; this is considered the first use of chemical pesticides to kill insects without harming food sources.

Many other areas of the world have their methods of controlling insects. In Asia and Africa, red weaver ants eat other insects, and farmers in Greece use fire to chase away locusts. The history of insect control involves numerous natural methods to kill, control, or prevent insect infestation. Although they had some effect, it wasn't until much later that certain tools became viable options for preventing bugs from infiltrating a person's space.

Tools for Insect Control

Over time, as many inventions sprang from people's minds, there were numerous ideas for tools to eliminate insects. Flypaper was one of the most prominent methods of trapping and eliminating flying insects during its original production in 1914. Many individuals found sticky traps a passive and effective way of attracting insects and leaving them stuck to the paper.

Later in the 1950s, people began using bug zappers to eliminate insects, with the electric fly swatter—and eventually, a stationary model you could hang on a porch. Glue boards for cockroaches were similar to sticky fly paper and would normally involve sticking food to the board to attract the crawling insects and trap them.

Many of the older tools for insect control often involve taking care of the problem when it's already at your doorstep. But with the invention of the bug screen, the world and its method of keeping bugs away changed drastically.

The Invention of the Bug Screen

Before the creation of any of the inventions mentioned above, the bug screen made its debut in 1868 when individuals Bayley and McClusky patented the product after an employee from a food processing company painted mesh wire grey and used it for their window.

The patent product was for rail-car rooftop windows. Eight years later, the Detroit company of E.T. Barnum Company began selling their window screens by the square foot, which gave the mesh layer popularity that would grow throughout the later decades.


As the bug screen garnered more attention, more companies and businesses began to sell it with increasing success. Various materials such as gold, copper, and silver were used for manufacturing the mesh in the late 1800s until aluminum became the defacto material years later. The popularity of window screens increased mostly due to their effectiveness and multipurpose benefits. These screens catch rain, provide air circulation, and keep bugs out of homes. This improved method in insect control is why another common name for these screens is the bug screen.

Bug Screens for Various Applications

The bug screen's history has led it to various applications to prevent insects from entering a confined space while also applying the benefits of air circulation. The bug screen is now a common trait amongst various items and structures with a higher probability of encountering insects.


The use of the tent is synonymous with the great outdoors, and nature is where most insects will reside. Flying insects are one of the most common disturbances amongst outdoor enthusiasts. With only a nylon barrier that’s prone to stuffiness acting as a means of protection from these pests, a more effective solution is necessary.

The bug screen is essential to many tents to allow the fresh air of the outdoors and keep the insects out. The bug screen will likely be a zippable barrier in the tent opening. There may be a few screen windows on the sides that you may cover or uncover as compartments of the tent.

Bug screens make tents more comfortable and convenient by allowing natural light in and making the tent feel less confining. These benefits are why most quality tents will have various bug screen components etched into their structure.


Camper vans and RVs have become a home for people who wish to travel and spend time outside. But much like any home, these vehicle types will need a bug screen to keep their interiors bug-free. There are various bug screens that you may use in the openings to keep bugs out of your vehicle. You will often place RV bug screens inside the side doorway of RVs to ensure bugs don't enter as you air out the vehicle. Camper vans will often have screens on the inside of their sliding doors or the entrance in the back doors to provide better coverage.

The Importance of Bug Screens for Insect Control

The primary point of bug screens is the insect control they provide, which is important in ensuring a divide between the bugs outside. There are many openings to homes, tents, and mobile homes that bugs may enter through, so you need a screen that will keep you safe.

Bug screens are common tools that many of us have seen and interacted with, but they have a long history that ties into insect control. The use of insect control and bug screens is essential in most outdoor settings, and when you install a bug screen into your camper or RV, you will have the protection you need from the small creatures of the world.

The History of Insect Control and Bug Screens
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