Written by: Emily Harris
Summer is coming fast and will be here before you know it! Even though we certainly look forward to all those sunny day vacations, riding days without rain, and just lots of fun in the sun, summer brings something else that is not so fun. FLIES! Those insects are the scourge of summer. You may even be dealing with hordes of flies right now! And no matter what you do, they seem to always be around despite a rigorous fly repelling regimen. Of course we have our most commonly used defense against flies, none other than the trusty fly spray itself. But what do you do when you have run out? Well, there is something you can do when you need a good quick-fix for those times. You can make your own fly spray!
Making your own fly spray is quick and easy to do, and I can’t forget to mention that it is also fun and satisfying. The recipe I am sharing with you is a simple DIY Fly Spray that works! And might I add, it is also extremely customizable! This recipe will surely help to tide you over until you can get a chance to order your regular fly spray. Or maybe you were already looking for a natural alternative that didn’t cost an arm and leg. Whatever the case is, this is bound to help. Best part is that most of the items you will need, you likely already have on hand. And if you don’t have them, you can easily get them from your local supermarket.
But before we get to the recipe we need to talk about the actual elements that will be doing all of the fly repelling work. Essential Oils. Essential oils have many benefits, they can be calming, reduce stress, be used to heal minor injuries, and you guessed it, repel bugs. Here is a list of commonly used essential oils that repel bugs.
Disclaimer: Be sure to test these oils on your horse first before you use any of them in your fly spray to make sure that the horse does not have an allergic reaction to the essential oils.
Pungent, robust, and with a hint of lemon, Citronella has a very distinct and an easily recognizable scent. It is the most commonly known bug repellant, and is found in many bug sprays and other bug repelling products. It’s quite evident that this repels a wide variety of insects.
Clean-smelling, refreshing, and citrusy is what is associated with the scent of lemongrass. It actually is closely related to the citronella plant, they both are a type of grass and have a lemony scent. Despite their similarities they also have their differences. The obvious difference is that lemongrass is used frequently for cooking and citronella not so much. In addition to its frequent use in the kitchen, this herb is also used to repel insects. Lemongrass is great for a whole range of bugs including fleas, fruit flies, moths, no-see-ums, and mosquitoes, including the ones that carry yellow fever, Zika, and West Nile viruses.
Eucalyptus is another oil that has a scent that is easy to recognize as well. Remember the Vicks Vaporub your parents might have used when you had a stuffy nose? Yeah, that had eucalyptus in it. Not only does eucalyptus clear up noses, but it also repels ticks that carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever as well as wasps, lice, gnats, flies, and mosquitoes.
Tea Tree is widely known for its hair-benefiting properties. It helps to promote hair growth, skin health and has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Tea Tree oil has a very strong scent, one that repels flies, fleas, lice, ticks, and even leeches! If you decide to use this essential oil, I suggest that you pair it with a nicer scented oil like peppermint or lavender.
Peppermint oil is a very soothing and refreshing scent, for both humans and horses. It also has a calming effect. Because of these benefits it has found itself in many calming supplements and products. It is also great for repelling lots of different types of bugs like fleas, flies, lice, even ants and moths, and so many others!
Rosemary is a very aromatic herb that is commonly used in roasted food dishes! But aside from being used to season food, it has many other uses including repelling bugs. Especially flies and mosquitoes that do not like the strong and woody scent.
Cedarwood oil has a strong woodsy scent that has been used in perfumes and in aromatherapy, and despite how pleasant this scent is to humans, insects despise this scent. This essential oil repels fleas, ticks, gnats, mosquitoes, lice, and even spiders to name a few.
Lavender is such a lovely essential oil. It is fragrant, soothing, and gentle. It makes a wonderful bug repellent, but it doesn’t stop there! Lavender has anti-inflammatory properties that makes it a great topical to soothe and relieve bug bites. Some of the insects most affected are fleas, flies, mosquitoes, ticks and chiggers.
Geraniums are widely known for their popularity in flower beds, hanging baskets, and tabletop planters. But the oil extracted from this humble little plant repels a wide variety of insects, including mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, ants, fleas, gnats, and ticks.
You will need:
A 32 oz spray bottle
2 parts Vinegar (either apple cider vinegar or white vinegar)
1 part Water
2-4 squirts Conditioner
25 drops each of your choice of Essential Oils (I personally use all of the essential oils listed above at the same time for my fly spray with good success, but if you don’t have all of them it is still okay to use whatever you choose from this list)
Pour the water and vinegar into your spray bottle. I use white vinegar because it is easier for me to buy it in bulk at my local grocery store.
Squirt some conditioner into the bottle. The amount you use is up to you, you can go more or less. 2-4 squirts is pretty good because the conditioner’s purpose is to help emulsify or blend the oils with the water. Give the bottle a good shake until it is all mixed together.
Then add your essential oils. You can tweak the amount of each oil by adding more or less to suit your preference. Give it one more good long shake and you are ready to go spray your horse!
Now the length of protection may vary and depends on the combination of oils used and how much of a fly magnet your horse is. This spray works best when you use it everyday or as needed. And there you have it folks! A nice bottle of fly spray that you made yourself and that has ingredients you can pronounce as well! And as an added plus, you can use it on yourself or even your dogs!
The National Youth Board (NYB) serves as a liaison between Pony Club’s youth members and the Board of Governors by communicating the needs, ideas, and concerns of USPC youth. NYB members also work with the national office on projects related to marketing, leadership development, and service for the benefit of the organization and all Pony Club members. Delegates of the NYB are between 18 – 23 years of age, highly motivated and dedicated, and have strong leadership and communication skills. To learn more, log in and visit the National Youth Board page.