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Homemade Fly Spray for Horses – How to Make Your Own Horse Fly Spray

Applying a fly spray on your horse’s coat is a simple solution for dealing with pesky mosquitoes and flies. The only problem is finding a spray that offers the right combination of protection and value without irritating your horse.

Some commercial sprays include ingredients that may irritate your horse’s coat while others may not offer long-lasting protection. If you want an affordable alternative, consider making home made fly spray.

Homemade fly sprays give you more control over the ingredients. You can create the perfect formula without spending a fortune on commercial sprays.

Here is a complete guide to making your own horse fly spray using common household ingredients and essential oils.

Do Homemade Equine Fly Sprays Work?

Before mixing a batch of homemade fly spray, you likely want to know whether it works. The truth is that DIY sprays may not offer the same protection that you get with synthetic sprays.

Commercial fly sprays are made with specific formulas to repel and kill pests. They also tend to provide protection for extended periods. Some of the top synthetic fly sprays last up to 14 days.

With DIY fly sprays, the benefits are likely to wear off within one to three hours, depending on the recipe that you choose.

Homemade sprays may also provide limited protection against certain pests. Smaller stable flies and bot flies are easily repelled with specific essentials. It may not deter larger pests, such as deer flies.

Choose Water-Based or Oil-Based Recipes

You can make a water-based or oil-based fly spray. Both options have separate pros and cons. Oil-based sprays tend to last longer, as the oily mixture adheres to the horse’s coat. Unfortunately, oily sprays can also promote the build-up of dust and dirt.

Water-based sprays prevent dust and dirt buildup. However, they also tend to wear off faster. You may need to reapply the formula every hour for continuous protection.

If you want a spray that can last more than an hour, go with an oil-based spray. Just keep in mind that you may need to perform extra grooming.

No matter what type of recipe you follow, you will need spray bottles. Most of the recipes create four cups or more of liquid, requiring at least a 32-ounce spray bottle. If you only have smaller bottles, prepare the mixture in a separate container and funnel it into the bottles.

Select the Right Essential Oils

Essential oils are the key to an effective DIY fly spray. The oils help repel flies and other pests, but they will not likely kill them on contact. This requires the special natural or chemical ingredients found in synthetic horse fly sprays.

While a homemade spray may not offer the same ability to kill on contact, you can still make a DIY spray that helps keep pests away. Some of the essential oils that are known to repel insects and mosquitoes include:

  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus
  • Citronella
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Clove
  • Geranium
  • Mint
  • Lemongrass
  • Tansy

Out of these oils, lavender, eucalyptus, citronella, and peppermint are likely to provide the best results. These oils are also occasionally found in commercial fly sprays.

Instead of purchasing the oils individually, you can get a 14-piece essential oil set that includes a variety of oils, including the ones listed above.

Another option is to purchase a large container of the essential oils that you need. A 16-ounce bottle of peppermint essential oil is much more cost-effective compared to buying small one- or two-ounce bottles.

DIY Water-Based Fly Spray Recipe

If you want to try a water-based spray, this homemade fly spray recipe should work well against black flies, mosquitoes, gnats, and other small pests. First, gather these ingredients:

  • 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of baby oil
  • 1 tablespoon of citronella oil
  • 1 tablespoon of eucalyptus oil

To prepare the mixture, simply combine the ingredients in the spray bottle and shake.

Apply the spray using a cloth. Spray the cloth and then wipe your horse. Avoid wiping the cloth around the eyes of the horse to prevent irritation.

DIY Oil-Based Fly Spray Recipe

Oil-based recipes make it easier to evenly coat your horse with a protective layer of fly repellent. Using an oil base helps bring out the properties of the essential oils while creating a thicker mixture. The following recipe is likely to wear off quickly compared to the water-based recipe:

  • 2 cups of mineral oil
  • 1 tablespoon of citronella oil
  • 1 tablespoon of eucalyptus oil
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon dish detergent
  • ½ cup of glycerin
  • ½ cup of lemon juice

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle, shake, and apply. The mixture is a little thicker compared to the water-based recipe. Spray a small area of your horse and then use a cloth to spread it over the coat.

DIY Alcohol-Based Fly Spray Recipe

Another option is to use vodka or grain alcohol with lavender oil to create a quick-drying fly spray. This DIY spray may require frequent applications, as it does not last long, but it smells nice.

Combine four parts vodka or grain alcohol with one-part lavender oil. For example, if you use four cups of vodka, use one cup of lavender oil.

Three-Ingredient Homemade Fly Spray Recipe

If you do not have any essential oils, there is a simple recipe that only requires three ingredients. However, the results are mixed. Some people find that it works well while others try it once and dislike it.

As this recipe does not have any essential oils to help repel flies and pests, it may not be as effective. The ingredients include:

Combine two cups of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water. Place a few squirts of Dawn dish soap into the mixture. The dish soap is included to help the mixture stay on the horse’s coat.

Monitor Your Horse for Allergic Reactions

After mixing and applying your home made fly spray, continue to monitor your horse for any signs of allergic reactions or sensitivity. As mentioned, large concentrations of certain essential oils may irritate the skin.

Avoid adding too much oil. You only need a couple of tablespoons of essential oils for every three to four cups of liquid, whether you use an oil-based recipe or a water-based recipe.

If you are not happy with the results of your homemade fly spray, try using a different combination of essential oils.

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