The weather has finally gotten nice and then all the bugs arrive... The worst are the biting flies, mosquitoes, and gnats for horses. No one likes these pesky bugs but they all are suppose to serve a purpose. Over the years I used chemical fly sprays and now realize that was not the best thing for my fur child. There are a lot of ingredients that are not healthy to breathe in or to apply to the skin. Also in my opinion they did not do that great of a job. After I would spray it flies would continue to bite. There is no perfect answer to stop all biting bugs but a natural approach will have you and your fur child feeling better. Below is a recipe that I use as well as other tips and tricks. I would love to hear what natural concoction you all have found to work. Maybe singing the shoo-fly song as I spray my horse will help deter the flies or just others around me...
Natural Horse Fly Spray Recipe
spray bottle (I like the ones at the feed stores with horses on them. You can mark on the back what type of liquid is inside)
4 cups organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar or you can use white vinegar but I prefer apple cider.
15 drops Lavender
15 drops Peppermint
15 drops Eucalyptus
2 tablespoons Olive Oil (you can use another carrier oil)
A splash of dish soap (I use Dawn)
Mix all together and gently shake before applying. I store in a cool, dry place out of the sun. To preserve the essential oils you can use an amber bottle or just store out of the sun.
* I always test anything I make on a small area on my horse or dog before I apply all over to make sure there will not be a reaction. Always use high grade products.
Other things you can do is hang a sprig of rosemary or myrtle bush in the stall or in the barn or use the leaves to rub on the coat to repel bugs. You can feed rosemary to horses as well along with garlic to help deter biting insects. There are many essential oils and herbs that can be useful in repelling bugs. Take a look at this sample list and try your own combination. If you have one or find one you love share it here.
Basil essential oil
Lemon Balm essential oil
Geranium essential oil
Citronella essential oil
Tea tree essential oil