Homemade Fly Spray

Homemade Fly Spray Recipe for Livestock

Learn how to make your own fly spray for pest control. I have tried other natural fly sprays, but they just did not work, and I wanted to do it the natural way. It wasn’t until I began using this recipe that our cows can graze peacefully in the field without being bothered by flies. This liquid homemade fly spray recipe works great on livestock.

DIY homemade Fly Spray recipe-3

I hate seeing my poor cows inside a cloud of swirling pests during the hot summer months. I can only imagine how aggravating that must be. Desperate to repel the bugs and give my cows some relief, I wanted to find natural organic fly sprays or natural fly repellents. I did not want to use those commercial fly sprays with all those harsh chemicals.

So, after experimenting with some other homemade recipes, I’ve been using this homemade fly spray recipe on my livestock with success. This is a natural repellent spray and it works better than other insect repellents.

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 Other Fly Sprays

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 no time to spare before they start spreading their infectious cottony tufts throughout the grass.

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 our cow, 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?

After getting the story from Bill, 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? The Ecto-Phyte didn’t work.

I was shocked. I was real pleased with it last year. But now that I think about it, it makes sense why it wouldn’t work.

Reasons Natural Fly Spray Stops Working

  • Skipping the mineral oil. Mineral oil is very effective in fly control (which Bill wasn’t using it in the mix that morning).
  • Essential oils stored improperly. If you store essential oils in a large, clear, plastic container, it is sure to decrease their efficacy over time. 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.

DIY Fly Spray is More Cost Effective

For a small-scale homesteader, who won’t be going through it as fast, it makes more financial sense to make it in small batches.

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 repellent comes out to about $.36 per ounce.

Theirs… $.77 per ounce (which is why I set about trying to make my own knock-off blend)!

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.

My Homemade Fly Spray Mix


before using my homemade fly spray recipe


after using the homemade fly spray

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 worry about 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.
  • You can use this mason jar with a sprayer lid to mix 1 part concentrate to 5 parts water.
homemade fly spray ingredients

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.

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Homemade Fly Spray

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The process is super easy and fast. So, you just need the proper ingredients. I added some links in order to help you.




    1. Combine all of the ingredients for the concentrate together in a storage jar.
    2. In a spray bottle, mix it at 1 part Fly Spray Concentrate to 5 parts water.
    3. ​Shake well before and during use.
    4. Re-apply daily.


    The links are affiliate links.  This means that when you buy using those links, I get a small commission.  This does not cost you anything extra, but helps me out a little.

    • Author: ReformationAcres

    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 considering using it when 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 your 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.

    More on Controlling Flies Around the Homestead

    Flies are pesky insects, which can be a real problem on the homestead. Here are some more resources to help you deal with flies.

    • You can make a homemade fly trap.
    • Tips on how to get rid of flies.
    • Fly exterminators are small bugs that kill the fly larvae before they can become flies. They are so small that you don’t even know they are there. You sprinkle them near compost or other places that flies lay their eggs. These fly predators hatch and go to work eating the fly larvae.
    • A sticky roll fly tape is great for barns. When the tape is full of flies, you just roll it up and that brings out new tape. Quick and easy.

    Final Thoughts

    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.

    Did you make a recipe? ​Let me know on my Facebook page.

    Best Homemade Fly Spray

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    1. 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.