I hate seeing my poor cows inside a cloud of swirling flies during the hot summer months. Unfortunately, I could only imagine how aggravating that must be, so I wanted to find a natural organic fly spray. I was just desperate to repel the bugs and give my cows some relief.
So, after experimenting with some other homemade recipes, I’ve been using this homemade fly spray on my livestock with success. It will work just as well on your horses, goats, sheep, or even dogs. In fact, it’s safe enough for people too!
Our Experience With Fly Spray
Early yesterday morning I thought I would take advantage of the children being in bed, the glorious morning sounds & sunrise, and the cool of the day to do some pasture clipping with the scythe (since the sheep are falling down on the job and all.)
I’m running about a week behind and the thistle is blooming so I know I have about no time to spare before they start spreading their infectious cottony tufts throughout the grass.
Ecto-Phyte Fly Spray
Before heading out, I stopped in at the milking parlor to have Bill put an edge on the blade and saw him finishing up spraying Stella with fly spray and let her back out to the pasture.
I was horrified.
Here I was promising you all that I would share my awesome homemade fly spray recipe and moments after application, Stella was covered in flies! But I had seen it work so well so many times before. So, why not now?! Where did I go wrong?
I started frantically grilling Bill, breaking the peace of the morning. Oh, no wait! He had already done that with his classic ’80’s hits on Pandora (which is sacrilege to do so in my not-so-humble-opinion). But I digress. Rapid-fire, I questioned him: “How long has it been in the bottle? Did you shake it, really well, first? What was the ratio of concentrate to water that you used?”
“What?! That’s Ecto-Phyte?!!!”, said my husband.
Apparently, we had run out of my mix and he used a little bit of Ecto-Phyte (you know the super expensive, $99 organic fly spray concentrate). It was leftover from last year and he decided to use it.
And, guess what? It didn’t work.
My Homemade Fly Spray Mix
I was real pleased with it last year, which is why I set about trying to make my own knock-off blend. I was shocked. But now that I think about it, it makes sense that it wouldn’t work.
Not only have we learned that mineral oil is very effective in fly control (and he wasn’t using it in the mix that morning), but essential oils stored in a large, clear, plastic container is sure to decrease their efficacy over time. For a small-scale homesteader, who won’t be going through it as fast, financially, it doesn’t make sense.cents.sense.
I mix our fly spray in small batches every few weeks so the oils are being stored properly in their own containers. It takes about 5 minutes to measure out, maybe less, so it’s not a big deal.
The savings make it totally worth it. Not only am I not running the risk of it weakening over the winter if I don’t use it all, but my homemade fly spray comes out to about $.36 per ounce.
Theirs… $.77 per ounce!
So I’m saving money, staying organic, keeping obnoxious flies off my girls, and only losing a couple of minutes here and there. Plus it smells good. Sounds like a win to me.
See. And it WORKS!
(I swear that’s the same cow, same day. The sky was being weird and messing with the lighting. The first shot has golden sun & the second one is cloudy. So there you go.)
Notes Before Start Preparing The Fly Spray
- A note on ingredients: while you could use other oils to help make it “stick”, we’ve talked to farmers who say that mineral oil really works the best. I don’t sweat not using raw apple cider vinegar.
- Cheap stuff will work just fine and that’s what I use, BUT I noticed last year that Heinz is making an apple cider flavored vinegar that really isn’t apple cider vinegar so you’ll have to watch out for that.
- As for the essential oils, I buy mine from Bulk Apothecary (no affiliation) and have been extremely pleased with their quality and even more so with their prices. (Seriously. You can get like 8 oz. for the price of ½ an ounce on Amazon or anywhere else.)
- A note on duration: you will need to reapply this spray about once a day. You’re probably not going to find an organic solution that lasts any longer.
Homemade DIY Fly Spray Recipe
Now, let’s see what we need to prepare the fly spray and how easy it is to combine them all. Don’t worry! The process is super easy and fast. So, you just need the proper ingredients and I added some links in order to help you.
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup mineral oil
- ½ teaspoon lemongrass essential oil
- ½ teaspoon citronella essential oil
- ¼ teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil
- ½ teaspoon bitter orange essential oil
- ¼ teaspoon clove essential oil
- 2 Tablespoons Bio Kleen Concentrate (for emulsifier), or dish soap
- Combine all of the ingredients for the concentrate together in a storage jar.
- In a spray bottle mix it at 1 part Fly Spray Concentrate to 5 parts water.
- Shake well before and during use.
- Re-apply daily.
Homemade Fly Spray: FAQ
Here are some extra insights about other ingredients that keep the common flies away.
Does lemon juice repel flies?
Lemons and cloves are two natural scents that can help keep the common housefly away, as they cannot stand the smell of either. You can use any type of citrus fruit: lemons, oranges, limes. It really doesn’t matter. You just want something strong. And the use of it is really simple: you simply slice a lemon in half (I like lengthwise for a table setting) and stuff the inside with cloves.
How does vinegar get rid of flies outside?
The first thing you should know is that flies are naturally attracted to the smell of vinegar. So, you should use considering you want to assemble a fly trap. You can make a trap by mixing vinegar and dish soap, putting it into a cup, sealing it tightly with plastic wrap, and poking holes in the top.
What exactly attracts flies around yoour home?
- Garbage cans left uncovered.
- Animal carcasses in the walls, attics, or elsewhere.
- Manure or pet feces around yards.
- Fermenting fruit on countertops.
- Spilled soda and open containers of alcohol.
- Scum at the bottom and coating the inside of drains.
Finally, let us know about this fly spray recipe and its results. You can also share with us all your experience with homemade fly spray in the comments section. Tell us everything about your own recipes and their benefits. Moreover, ask any other further questions and share your roadblocks with the other readers.
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Would Castile Soap work with this recipe?
Toni Le Gresley says
I’m going to give this a try but with white vinegar instead. Is that a Jersey or Guernsey cow in the photo. Only asking as I live in Jersey, Channel Islands, UK. I’m always surprised to see how many countries they end up in.