Why are there no fly screens in the UK?

Hand operating a pleated insect screen and an image of a union jack UK flag
Insect screens in the United Kingdom – where are they?

Have you ever wondered why, despite the prevalence of flies, mosquitoes and other pesky insects, the UK seems to lack fly screens? These are common features found in homes across Europe, America, and much of the rest of the world. Whilst screens are often seen as an essential part of everyday living elsewhere, many residents of the UK aren’t even aware of them. It seems we have a mystery to solve – let’s dig a little deeper and find out why there’s a lack of screens in the UK…

What are fly screens?

Fly screens (also referred to as ‘screens’ or ‘screen doors’) are mesh barriers designed to keep insects out while your doors and windows are open to allow fresh air in. However, if you’re used to having screens in other countries and you’ve spent any time in the UK, you might have noticed their absence. So, now we have to wonder… why are there no fly screens in the UK?

Are insect screens just for hot weather?

Let’s start with the most common question – are fly screens only for countries with hot weather? No! Screens can be used year-round, and heat is only one reason why you might open your doors and windows. You may ventilate your home to remove odours or steam, to dry paint or clothes, or to just keep the home feeling a little fresher.

The UK’s mild temperatures and abundant rainfall differs significantly from the hot and humid climates where insects thrive. Consequently, the demand for insect-proofing measures like fly screens may not be as high as they are in warmer countries. However, mosquitoes and flies can still be a nuisance in the UK in locations where insects can thrive. Homes particularly affected by bugs are often near lakes, rivers, forests, farms, or in compact cities where hygiene is harder to control.

What doors can fly screens be installed to?

Any! Well, this depends on the configuration of the screen. There are companies which offer bespoke, made-to-measure insect screens for residential and commercial properties. At Phantom Screens, we’re always excited by a new challenge, often working with architects and interior designers to find the perfect solution for our customers. Our screens are handcrafted to fit any type of door or window, and fitted internally or externally depending on which way they open.

Why don’t people like insect screens in Britain?

British homes traditionally prioritise unobstructed views, and some low-quality fly screens can detract from the visual appeal of windows with their mesh and frames. However, perhaps the main reason for the lack of screens across the UK is because there is little awareness of screens, so they’ve simply yet to catch on.

Unlike some cultures where the presence of insects is met with swift and decisive action, Brits tend to take a more laid-back approach. While nobody enjoys the buzz of a fly or the bite of a mosquito, many Brits have grown accustomed to simply shooing them away or relying on indoor insect repellents rather than installing permanent barriers like fly screens.

Brits living in homes that only suffer insect ingress for a small portion of the year tend to rely on alternative methods for insect control. These include citronella candles, sticky insect traps, and electric bug zappers – all temporary measures that may remove the need for fly screens. For many UK homeowners, these alternative solutions may suffice.

It’s important to acknowledge that there are an increasing number of homes in the UK with fly screens. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the benefits of insect screens. Increasingly uncomfortable heatwaves are requiring UK homeowners to keep their doors and windows open to ventilate their well-insulated homes. The last thing they want paired with a hot, stuffy house is flies and mosquitoes bringing in harmful bacteria and being a nuisance. As a result, some modern homes and buildings in the UK now incorporate integrated fly screens into their door and window designs.

Do you need fly screens in the UK?

In conclusion, the lack of fly screens in the UK can be linked to a combination of factors, including climate, cultural preferences, and the availability of temporary insect control methods. While fly screens may not be as commonplace in British homes as they are in other parts of the world, the evolving attitudes towards insect control and the rising climate are encouraging a gradual increase in popularity.

Are you looking for high quality, made to measure insect screens? Take the leap towards bug-free living and never look back! Send us some photos and rough measurements of your doors and windows and our friendly team will give you a quote. Get in touch here.


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