There are a variety of flies that pester horses. Some of them are nuisance insects, like the face or house fly. These bugs don’t bite their hosts, but can definitely disturb a horse by flying into their eyes or nose repeatedly. These insects tend to gather around areas of poor sanitation and then lay eggs, which grow up to be adult flies that begin the cycle of pestering all over again.
Biting flies are a little more dangerous to deal with and include biting gnats, black flies, horn flies, horse and deer flies, and stable flies. Effective pest control is crucial to the fight against these bad bugs that cause pain as well as cause a reduction in weight and an increase in fly-borne disease.
One of the simplest and most effective ways of protecting your horses from biting and annoying flies this year is by using an insect repellent to keep them safe. Repellents are a great way of managing fly populations. Flies that have pesticides sprayed around them can become resistant to chemicals inside, creating a new breed of insects that are harder to kill. This leads to the need to rotate pesticides regularly for optimum green flies control. Additionally, some equestrians may prefer to use a more natural approach to fly management out of concern for the health of their horse. Insect repellents do not kill insects; they only make a host unattractive to flies by using odors that are offensive to them. This keeps flies away from your horse but doesn’t chemically change the fauna around his living area.
Homemade repellents are a great way to provide protection for your horse. They’re safe, inexpensive, and easy to use. You can quickly whip up a batch of repellent using items you probably already have around your home. Vinegar is the key ingredient in some of the best recipes I’ve ever found for keeping my own horses pest free during the hot summer months.
Apple cider vinegar
ACV is one of the greatest products with a variety of uses; it’s especially great as a fly control and getting rid of flies. Just add a little to your horse’s drinking water and it will not only keep the flies away, it will provide a variety of internal benefits. Apple cider vinegar is a liquid that’s good for humans and animals alike.
This can be easily added to a homemade fly trap. If you use a trap with bait, you can make your own by adding ½ cup of white vinegar, ½ cup of sugar, and 2 cups of water. Stir it and place it in the fly traps before hanging, for an effective way to attract flies without chemicals.
Vinegar can also be used as a spray on your horse to keep the flies away. Combine 1 cup of water, 1 cup of Skin So Soft from Avon, 2 cups of vinegar, a teaspoon of eucalyptus oil, and a teaspoon of citronella oil. Shake it well and then spray this on your horse. Not only will it keep the flies away, it smells absolutely heavenly and it’s very refreshing on a hot summer day.
You can easily substitute apple cider vinegar for white vinegar in the above recipe by substituting the following ingredients: 1 cup ACV, 1 cup of water, 2 ounces of Avon’s Skin So Soft, and an ounce of citronella oil. Either way, you’ll want to make enough to fill a large spray bottle so you can spray it on your horse whenever he needs insect repellent or if you have a flies on dog problem too.
As you can see, there are several ways to use vinegar. You can mix it in with drinking water to keep your horse healthy as you repel insects. You can add it to a fly trap to lure bugs away from living areas. You can spray it on your horses as an insect control and as a way to cool and refresh your animal. Vinegar is a truly miraculous way to keep the bugs at bay, without using smelly, dangerous chemicals. It can also be a fun way of achieving fly control, because so many different ingredients mix well with vinegar. You can add a variety of essential oils to any horse sprays that you mix up to make your horse smell nice. Mint does an especially good job of repelling flies while keeping your animal cool. The key to finding the best combination for your horse is to slowly introduce any new products into your horse’s life with the oversight of your veterinarian. If your horse is tolerant, add a little more until you find the right amount for optimum fly prevention. Your horse will thank you for the reduction in flies as well as the extra attention.