I know this post is going to be off season a bit but what can I say….I was inspired. Over the weekend I had to run into one of the box stores, one of least favorite tasks, to pick up a few items. I couldn’t help but notice the seasonal section was already filling with patio furniture, umbrellas and bug spray… bug spray??? Isn’t it a bit early I thought??
Retailers are always trying to be ahead of the curve I suppose. Unfortunately, as soon as I stepped back out to the parking lot, my daydreaming about warm summer days were promptly ripped away by the 25 degree weather and icy parking lot. Springtime??? no sign of it yet ...just wishful thinking.
As I drove away, I left thinking about that Bug spray… While I complain about the cold now, it won’t be long and I will be scratching and complaining about the mosquitoes and all the other winged devils that torture the horses. There isn’t much out there for mosquitoes for horses but for flies???? There are more choices than most of us know what to do with? It’s akin to buying cold medicine these days.
A couple of years ago I started experimenting with home made natural fly spray. I figured if I thought that the commercial off the shelf brands smelled putrid, I could only imagine what the horses must think. I started to realize something was wrong when the horses would run as far away from me as soon as they caught sight of me headed their direction, wielding a a halter and spray bottle.. the stuff just smells so bad……and tastes even worse if your a bad aim like me….hahaha.
Not only that, I couldn’t even pronounce half of the ingredients and I just thought maybe it would be better if I could avoid putting chemicals on my horses. As an added insult, it’s pretty expensive stuff for a relatively small amount and most seem to stop working as before I could even get out of the corral! At one time, I tried some of the more “natural” brands out there and while they did prove better in the smell department I think it attracted the flys and knats even more.
After experimenting with a few concoctions, here is what I came up with, a homegrown recipe. Measurements are for a regular sized spray bottle. You can adjust these according to your bottle size and you may have to experiment with the amounts of essential oils for effectiveness in your area.
2-3 cups of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (available at health food stores in gallon jugs)
¼-1/2 cup of Avon Skin so Soft Original body oil (for mosquitoes) or canola oil if you prefer (canola oil repels insects by altering the outer layer of the leaf surface or by acting as an insect irritant)
15-20 drops of Citronella oil
20-30 drops of Tee Tree Oil
A few drops of Clove oil ( also helps soothe existing insect bites)
10-15 Eucalyptus Oil
10 drops of Patchouli oil ( I don’t always put this in)
Then top off with water.
Shake well before each use.
I can't promise you this is going to work 100% all the time and ofcourse you do have to reapply it, but it seems to help atleast as much as those off the shelf , if not better, especially for Mosquitoes. The best part??? If you happen to not have the spray nozzle pointed in the right direction and spray yourself in the face, you don’t have to worry about dying from ingesting some harmful chemical!!