When it comes to picking a fly product for your horse, you have dozens of options at the store. You also have the option of concocting your own fly spray. But where do you start? The internet is chock full of recipes, but how do you know what’s best?
I’m here to tell you that I don’t have an answer for this one. Not even close. I’ve often by fascinated by the simple ingredients and the “friendly” nature of making your own fly spray, but for me, the reality is that I like the convenience of picking up a bottle of fly spray at my feed store. There. I said it.
However, in the name of learning, having an open mind, and even being a bit more “green,” I have compiled some information about ingredients to make your own home made fly sprays. This will hopefully be informative and highly entertaining.
Avon’s Skin So Soft
This is the holy grail of fly spray ingredients for the do it yourselfer. This is a product designed as a mineral oil-based moisturizer for humans, and yes, it does contain “chemical” ingredients. The entire line of products now includes some bug repelling specific lotions, as well. It does work quite well as a mosquito repellent for humans, FYI.
There are two kinds of citronella oil – the highly concentrated pure essential oil and the highly dangerous, flammable type used to make tiki torches burn. Go for the first type! Use these in a heavily diluted mixture, a little bit goes a very long way. Citronella oil is effective at repelling mosquitoes and also stable flies, as well as having a nice smell.
Eucalyptus oil is another choice, although it hard to tell from the lack of research what this oil repels. Lemon eucalyptus oil is an ingredient that is actually EPA-registered for mosquito repelling. As with citronella oil, eucalyptus oil is highly concentrated, so be sure to dilute.
Many of the recipes for homemade fly sprays contain dish soap. I have seen recipes with just about every brand of dish soap. This is used as an emulsifier, so that the oils and water in your concoction can mix together, and stay mixed together.
About half of the homemade recipes out there specify white vinegar, the others say apple cider vinegar. Perhaps it depends on the smell that you prefer? I was also unable to find any research on what types of bugs that vinegar repels, although there are tons of stories about vinegar as a bug repellent.
I also found lots of references to apple cider vinegar used as a topical treatment for insect bites. Another added value to using vinegar topically is it can also create a great sheen on your horse, but it’s nothing like Grand Coat! (FYI, Grand Coat is the most awesome coat supplement I have ever used for quick, super-healthy coat condition – I think Grand Coat is also excellent at improving the skin underneath the hair coat and healthy skin will ward off anything!)