Homemade fly spray for horses


When picking a fly product for your barn, you have dozens of options at the store. You also have the option of making a homemade concoction. Get thee into the kitchen and whip up a batch of homemade fly spray for horses!


There are dozens of homemade fly spray recipe options, and much of the success will depend on whether the summer flies in your area are attracted to or repelled by the ingredients. Also—quick disclaimer—please patch test your horse with any new products to ensure there is no skin irritation before you douse your horse’s coat with your creation.


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What’s the best DIY recipe for natural fly spray?


  • I have no idea. The internet is chock full of recipes, how do you know what’s best? This largely depends on the types of flies that pester your horse. These bugs all find their meals differently – sight, smell, and movement are the three main ways. No amount


  • However, in the name of learning, having an open mind, and even being a bit more “green,” I have compiled some information about ingredients for homemade fly sprays. This will hopefully be informative and perhaps even entertaining.



Fly magnet.


Homemade horse fly spray ingredients – citronella, eucalyptus, and more


Gather some of these ingredients to form the base of your spray. Then, add some essential oil.


  • Avon’s Skin So Soft. This is the holy grail of fly spray ingredients for the do-it-yourself-er. This product is designed as a mineral oil-based moisturizer for humans and contains chemical ingredients. The entire line of Skin So Soft products includes some specific bug-repelling lotions.


  • Vinegar. About half of the homemade recipes specify white vinegar, while the others say apple cider vinegar. Perhaps it depends on the smell you prefer.


  • Dish soap. Many of the recipes for homemade bug sprays contain dish soap. I have seen recipes with just about every brand of dish soap. Dish soap is used as an emulsifier so that the oils and water in your concoction can mix and stay mixed together.


Oils to make homemade fly spray for horses


  • Citronella oil. 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 mosquitos and stable flies and has a nice smell. Some people report that citronella attracts bees.


  • Eucalyptus oil is another choice, although it is hard to tell from the lack of research what this oil repels. Lemon eucalyptus oil is an ingredient that is EPA-registered for mosquito repelling. As with citronella oil, eucalyptus oil is highly concentrated.


  • You may want to consider rosemary, lemongrass, tea tree, peppermint, or lavender oil as additional ingredients for your new bug repellent.




Or try ACV if you like.


  • For more information on essential oils and horses, you can read these amazing guest blogs, part one and part two.


Gray areas about vinegar in your DIY horse fly spray


  • There’s a lot of information, not research, on what types of bugs vinegar repels. There is also much information about fruit flies, aphids, and insects that love decaying matter being summoned by vinegar, either white or apple cider.


  • No amount of vinegar will stop all flies. For example, deer flies like movement, shiny things, and warmth to find their next meal. They will not be dissuaded by fancy-smelling sprays.


  • On another note, apple cider vinegar is a great topical treatment for insect bites and as a post-bath conditioner when used as a rinse, helping add shine to your horse’s coat.


Use caution with your homemade recipe


  • You have zillions of choices when choosing an insect spray for your horse. If you do decide to go the homemade route, here are a few thoughts when it comes to being the chef:


  • Try a very diluted product first, with lots of water and tiny amounts of oils. Oils (and any ingredient, really) can cause reactions.

Try this horse fly spray recipe:


  •  There are loads of different recipes, but most boil down to this formula to repel pests:


      • 1 cup of water (8 oz.)
      • 1-2 cups of apple cider vinegar (8 – 16 oz)
      • 1 tbsp. oil (or less)
      • dollop of dish soap
      • dollop of Skin So Soft


  • Mix everything together in a spray bottle. Again, a patch test is critical to ensure your horse won’t react. Use the upper inner portion of your horse’s leg for a patch test. If there is a skin reaction after 24 hours, there is some ingredient that your horse doesn’t appreciate. Try a substitute oil, and talk to your vet for suggestions.


acv bottle with cloudy mother included

ACV is another option for your recipe.


 Attack all stages of the fly’s life cycle.


Making and using the best fly spray is useless if you are not tackling ALL aspects of fly control at the barn. Attack all of the fly life cycle stages.


  • Keep your horse’s stall and paddocks free of fresh manure and urine. Pick more, give your horse more turnout, and let wet patches dry. Using zeolites will help with odors and wet patches.


  • Use fly predators to eat insect larvae so those bugs don’t even hatch. They are beneficial wasps that only like to eat larvae. And they are tiny!


  • Bust out the traps. Put them in places far away from your horse to lure the flies over there.


  • Use fly masks, sheets, and boots. Stomping is no fun for your horse, and pasture and turnout should be enjoyable.


  • Remember that flies hunt for meals differently – some hunt by sight, some by smell. Your fly repellent won’t address all of them.



An easy way to protect your horse’s legs.


Is homemade fly spray cost-effective compared to store-bought options?


Homemade fly spray for horses is often more cost-effective than store-bought options. Using simple ingredients like essential oils and vinegar can create an effective fly spray at a fraction of the cost of commercial products. Plus, homemade sprays are usually free from chemicals.


For more DIY horse projects, this article has you covered!


How to do a patch test on your horse





For fly-busting products, you can pick up these to add to your arsenal. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which are at no additional cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support! You can also visit my Amazon storefront here:  PEG storefront.

Spray Bottles, 500 ml/17 oz

Why have a boring ol' spray bottle when you can have these gems!

05/07/2024 04:25 pm GMT
Mother Earth, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with The Mother, Half Gallon
$24.99 ($0.39 / Fl Oz)

This half gallon of ACV can help your horse be shiny, and perhaps ward off some flies, too. It's great for soothing bug bits.

05/29/2024 07:51 pm GMT
05/09/2024 01:53 am GMT
Fly Whisk

For *mostly* bug free riding

04/08/2024 08:43 pm GMT
Farnam Equi-Spot, Horse Fly and Tick Control, 12-Week Supply for One Horse
$27.49 $23.99

This spot-on product kills and repels ticks and helps with mosquito control.

05/20/2024 02:27 pm GMT
06/12/2024 03:53 am GMT
05/09/2024 01:53 am GMT
05/08/2024 01:27 am GMT
05/14/2024 11:15 am GMT
05/13/2024 01:17 am GMT
Cashel Quiet Ride Horse Fly Mask with Long Nose and Ears

This style is great for riding!

05/11/2024 02:43 am GMT
03/13/2024 02:43 am GMT
05/20/2024 08:28 pm GMT
05/05/2024 01:33 am GMT
05/20/2024 11:32 pm GMT
06/12/2024 05:08 am GMT

Thank you!