How Do You Keep Horse Flies Away Naturally

How Do You Keep Horse Flies Away Naturally?

Natural horse fly repellents are made from naturally grown plants or animals. Further, processing the repellents undergo must not downgrade the “natural” form of its ingredients.

  • Besides, the natural horse fly repellent needs to be safe for plants & animals (at least the non-targeted ones) and human beings.

How do you keep horseflies away naturally? Can you use DEET on horses? Diethyltoluamide (DEET) is a highly effective ingredient in insect repellents. Notably, it was first created by the United States Army in World War II.

  • The ingredient can kill ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes. Further, DEET has a yellow die that could stain your clothes.
  • At high concentration levels (or with highly sensitive skins), DEET could be toxic to animals and people. Icaridin is an odorless and colorless chemical formula.

This ingredient is an excellent DEET-alternative since it’s less harmful. However, it’s great to control horse flies and other insects such as gnats and mosquitos.

Will Apple cider vinegar Repel Horse Flies?

When you need to treat any number of horses, you’ll need to utilize an aerosol fly spray since it will be easier to use.

  • However, YES, apple cider vinegar will repel horse flies – but it must be apple cider vinegar must be natural (unpasteurized).

You’ll need to spray the apple cider vinegar on the horse’s hair coat – externally to effectively kill the horse flies.

Any Essential Oils That Repel Horse Flies?

To repel horse flies, I recommend using a combination of these essential oils: Cedarwood, Lemon Grass, Tea Tree, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lavender, and Citronella.

  • The natural repellents include natural grape seed oil, rosemary essential oil, natural lemon eucalyptus, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, avocado oil, and Aloe Vera juice.
  • Finally, natural products need to be environmental-friendly and bio-degradable, sustainable to the environment and human beings.

However, you can use other products like fly masks, boots, and fly sheets to protect your equine friend. 

Choosing the Best Fly Spray for Horses

1. Active Ingredients

The active ingredients (synthetic or natural) affect the horse spray’s repellent and killing power. However, not all are suitable for foals and lactating mares.

Here’re the most used actives: permethrin, pyrethrins, picaridin, cypermethrin, tetramethrin, and resmethrin.

  • Pyrethrins – A natural active ingredient extracted from one of the chrysanthemum species. Pyrethrins provide fast knockdown – it’ll kill the horse flies quickly. Piperonyl Butoxide plus pyrethrin will give a quick knockdown by damaging the central nervous system of the horsefly.
  • Pyrethrins: – These are derivatives of the pyrethrum (the popular chrysanthemum) plant. However, these pyrethrins are highly poisonous, which means that they’ll readily penetrate the fly’s skin or shell and other comparable insects.
  • Further, the pyrethrin insecticides will immediately move to the fly’s nervous system to immobilize them. However, this will not kill the insect as they have some enzymatic action that’ll detoxify the pyrethrins and enable the flies to recover.
  • Therefore, the spray formulas contain “synergists” that work to slow the enzymatic functioning. Thus, the pyrethrin would have adequate time to paralyze the horse fly. But with moisture, Oxygen, and sunlight, the pyrethrin ingredient will erode easily and hence won’t harm plants and animals – but you’ll need to take top precautions with fish.
  • Synergists – But Pyrethrins must be mixed with additional synergists to prevent being broken down by sunlight. Synergists offer long-lasting protection and boost the killing power of the insecticide. But you can try one of these homemade fly sprays for horses (essential oil-based).
  • Permethrin (a Pyrethroid) – The synthetically created permethrin is comparable to the natural pyrethrin. It stimulates the nervous system of the horse fly and has neurotoxin and synergists that take down the insects. Permethrin is highly stable and will protect your horse longer.

2. Oil-Based or Water-Based Spray?

Oil-based or water-based spray? Well, both have their unique pros and cons. But first, the water-based sprays don’t attract dust or dirt and won’t irritate your horse’s skin.

  • But for the water-based sprays, you must use synergists to prevent break down from sweat, rain, and sunlight.

However, the oil-based spray (marked as having Petroleum Distillate) offers quicker knockdown (through insect suffocation) and sticks better on the horse’s hair coat.

The downside is that the oil-based brands will attract dust or dirt and may irritate or burn the sensitive horse skin.

3. Special Horse’s Conditions

Consider if your horse has conditions like sensitive skin, open wounds, or another health issue that might be worsened by using the horse fly spray.

  • For minor issues, you might need to be extra careful when applying the insecticide.
  • However, any adverse reactions from spraying must be reported to your veterinarian.

But you’ll be safer if you first test the horse fly spray on a spray section of your horse to check its effectiveness and the presence of any adverse reactions.

4. Number of Horses and Residue Effect

Depending on the number of horses you’ll be treated, you must consider the type of formula to use or maximum effectiveness.


You’ll need to consider the number of days that the repellent or fly killer will be effective on your horse – horse flies are mainly active from May to September.

  • For example, UltraShield EX Equine Spray will repel horse flies for seven days.

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