Flies are inevitable in the summer season. No matter where you keep your horse – flies will be a problem in the hot times of summer. Horses living in rural areas or a stable in a city, may suffer from painful bites caused by horse-flies. These flies are not only irritating but also spread germs to humans or other animals that come in contact with them. Flies can transmit diseases and can even lead to allergic reactions. There are many remedies that can help get rid of these flies and make the lives of our equine companions safer and more comfortable.
There are two most common defenses –
Masks/Covers – these prevent flies from landing, biting, and buzzing around to annoy our favorite horse friends in specific areas (Note the fly mask in the picture below).
Fly Repellent Sprays – A concoction of ingredients that are used to discourage flies from landing on or staying on horses. There are three types of sprays often used – a.Chemical basedb.organic basedc. The often imitated but hardly perfected – Homemade horse spray.
Fly Spray For Horses
Summer is the peak season when these flies start coming in swarms and attack our favorite barnyard animals. You can buy a fly spray for horses from the store or make one at home using natural ingredients available easily. Both of these options can help you keep the pests away, and your horse will be grateful and happier.
Before you decide to make a fly spray for your horse, you need to know that it is often considered safer from an environmental perspective. At the same time, it has many challenges to be tackled due to the suitability of ingredients while trying to make a natural homemade horse fly spray.
Benefits and challenges of using Homemade sprays
There are many easy spray recipes to make a fly spray for horses at home. These contain natural ingredients usually available at home or at local stores. Horses may also feel comfortable with the familiar smells of these sprays. Homemade spray recipes for horse fly sprays have many advantages. But this option may also have some challenges for the horse owners.
Here are some commonly used sprays, their challenges and advantages. This will also guide you on some Common ingredients to be avoided for the wellbeing of your horse.
Essential Oils Spray –
Perhaps one of the most enticing newer sprays within the last decade. With an essential oil-based horse fly spray, you can confuse and drive the flies away. The major benefit to this is that there are no harsh chemicals like other options, and it stays as a natural product for horse care.
The tough part: The essential oil has to be diluted enough to ensure that the skin does not get irritated and yet be strong enough to prevent flies from landing, and it’s also a plus to mask the original smell of horses, manure and regular barnyard scents. More aromatic oils like mint oil, lavender oil, or similar essential oils can be used with a carrier oil to create a homemade fly repellent. Before applying it, a skin patch test is necessary to check that the horse is not allergic to your diy fly spray.
Vinegar spray– Vinegar is the most common ingredient of insect repellents made at home. It is mixed with water and often an essential oil like eucalyptus oil. But it is a strong oil, so you have to add a thin carrier oil too. This is mostly a very simple diy fly spray to make, and the vinegar helps to mask the natural smell of horses and other animals as well. The eucalyptus oil is fairly common from local stores. But again, you must do a patch test to see that your horse can tolerate the strong smell and potency of this oil. This may be too strong for some horses and cause skin irritation. Finding the perfect mixture is again, the biggest challenge.
Mineral Oil Spray – This spray is easy to make with some oils used by people at home. To enhance efficacy, you can mix mineral oil, bath oil, apple cider vinegar, add lemon oil, eucalyptus oil, or a number of other essential oil – most will include drops peppermint essential oil as well. The challenge is to remix all the ingredients every time you want to spray, as all the oils separate when the mixture is kept for some time. The horse may be allergic to one or more components or a mixture of all these. The horse may not like the strong-smelling bath oil and react.
Dish Soap & Water Spray – You can create a spray using regular dish soap and water, and vinegar. But this also should not be used on the horse directly. It can be used to drive the flies away from the stable and keep the horse safe.
Citronella Oil Spray – is another common remedy used for flies and mosquitoes, and other small insects. However, the skin of horses may react to it as it may lead to painful blisters. It may lead to a stronger reaction in sunlight as citronella reacts to the bright sun.
Now – here are some absolute do not do’s that we often see in natural fly repellents or diy homemade fly sprays. Also – don’t get lured into the “different horse breeds” react differently conversation – this can be said of all horses as they all have different tolerances and sensitivities.
Do not use Pine-sol– Pine-Sol is commonly used as an insect repellent in many homes. People claim that it can be used to make a fly spray. But it is a strong chemical that can harm the horses just like any other store-bought chemical spray. It can be diluted and used around the stable to drive the mosquitoes and flies away. Don’t spray near the horse or within his reach.
Tea tree oil should be avoided– This is a fairly popular essential oil used in many natural therapies for humans. However, many animals are allergic to this oil. Check with the vet treating the horse and then only add to your concoction.
Precautions to be taken while making and using a homemade spray
The ingredients are usually safe to be used, but wear gloves while making and using the spray solution.
Always do a patch test on the horse first. The ingredients have different effects individually and may react to the other components.
Always use sparingly as the strong smell and feel of the oils may feel overpowering to some horses.
Avoid sensitive areas like eyes, nose, and mouth while spraying the repellent.
Use as often as needed, but ask your vet for any advice if the flies still persist or the horse doesn’t like the concoction.
Do not apply directly like a solution from a bottle. Always use a spray bottle and apply from a distance. (Do not spray on face, eyes, mouth, ears etc… use a cloth for sensitive areas.)
When you groom your horse every day and keep the surrounding areas clean, then the possibilities of flies reduce. But these are relentless pests that may pester the horses from time to time, especially during the summer season.
You can make a spray at home with the different ingredients listed above, becareful as to not overdo the mixture’s or your horse could wind up with a number of skin issues or even worse – infections.
DIY Fly Spray’s are great – if you get the right amount of oil’s or ingredients that actually prevent flies from landing, bugging, and biting your horse. Likewise, having too much of these ingredients can become harmful to you or your horse’s skin, eyes or ears. The challenge is finding the perfect mixture of efficacy and potency – enough to repel, but not enough to harm or hurt.
Here at Stop Bugg’n – we have a tried and true recipe full of the perfect mixture (Not too much, and not too little) of non-chemical, organic base and oils. As an owner, you know your horse the best, and the pet depends on you for good health and care. Use a spray that suits his skin and temperament.
The spray should not irritate the skin or eyes. The horse should be comfortable with the smell and feel of the spray.
You will have to attack these flies using multiple approaches.
Use a good spray to repel the flies. (We recommend our – Organic Fly Spray – of course)
Keep your horse clean.
Keep your stable clean.
Keep enjoying each and every day with your horse partner and friend.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of perfecting the right amount of ingredients, go ahead and grab a bottle of our perfectly mixed, organic fly spray.