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A massive cicada just crawled through one of the air vents in my apartment. I vacuumed it up and then taped Glad ClingWrap over the vent as shown below. The tape is painter's tape.

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I covered the other air vents in my apartment in the same way. Is there a better way to keep bugs from entering my apartment through the air vents? Would it be unsafe or cause damage to keep the ClingWrap on the vents?

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  • Where do the air handler and ducts for your unit live? Apr 24 at 22:39
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    isn't that going to get hot in the summer? It could also damage the blower on the forced-air HVAC, which you would likely be on the hook for. These systems don't typically just pump in raw air from the outside, so most likely the bugs are already inside, in which case covering the vents won't do much. Do be aware there will be a LOT of cicadas this year, they will likely get into all sorts of things that normally aren't a big problem the other 16 years. They are harmless though, no need for drastic action.
    – dandavis
    Apr 24 at 22:56
  • @ThreePhaseEel The air handler is in a closet in the middle of my apartment.
    – VKV
    Apr 25 at 1:52
  • @dandavis How could the blower get damaged? Would it be a good idea to punch small holes in the cling wrap so that air can pass through?
    – VKV
    Apr 25 at 1:54
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    the blower could overheat. it will also likely frost up when running AC, which could damage a lot of things from expanding ice and dripping water in unexpected places. if the intake is in your apt, then you're not stopping any bugs from getting in by blocking the vent.
    – dandavis
    Apr 25 at 7:40
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You're barking up the wrong tree

First, as pointed out, cicadas, while numerous at the moment, are quite utterly harmless. However, if you keep getting them in your apartment, it's not the fault of your HVAC system (unless they're getting in through a dedicated outside air grille, which is somewhat unlikely given the vintage of your building). Instead, what you're dealing with is the fact bugs can squeeze in through small gaps and holes in the envelope/sheathing of the building left by the way frame or frame/veneer construction works. These holes are often found around penetrations for electrical cables, hose bibbs, and AC lines, or at joints between different types of framing components, such as between the foundation and the wall bottom plate. The ceiling drywall on the topmost level is also a common place for air leakage to happen, as there's no sheathing above it to back it up before you get to the "outside", aka your attic.

So, I'd take the clingwrap off before you kill your HVAC system with it due to the fan building up pressure, and if you get a bug parade, tell your landlord they should look into improving the air-sealing of the building as a whole. The good news is that air-sealing doesn't just help with bugs, it reduces heating, cooling, and humidity loads as it plugs holes where uncontrolled outside air can infiltrate into the building.

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