Living with Flies and Mosquitos

Duchess Natural Insect Repellent

Flies! Evil, evil, flies!!!  As I sit in my chair and write this post, I can hear the sound of my horses stomping their feet in their stalls.  I do everything I can to minimize the number of flies around the ranch, but they still are present.  Argh!!! What I have learned in my many years of horse keeping is, at best, we can lessen them, but not fully eradicate them. Unless, you wouldn’t mind wearing one of these…. →

So, lets face it, flies are a fact of  life.  Horses and flies go together like peanut butter and jelly.  I am going to explain the conclusion I have come to; flies are here to stay, but if we can decrease their presence, hopefully we can minimize their annoyance!

Essential Oil Formulations

First, I make two formulas of the “Duchess Natural Insect Repellent“.  I primarily use the citronella/lemongrass blend when I know there will be mosquitos, or other biting insects present. I love to use this formula when my horse and I are hitting the trail, the bugs can be awful here in Florida.  Read here, how lemon eucalyptus oil, one of the many essential oils I use to formulate my insect repellent, is approved by the CDC to repel mosquitos…  My other formula, the lavender/mint/rosemary blend works wonders for my horses while I am grooming them before riding, or a farrier visit.  We all want our horses to stand quietly and be on their best behavior while their feet are being done. And trust me, your farrier will thank you!

How often to re-apply?

The formulas being sold on the market claiming to work for up to 14 days, BS!!!  There is no way! Horses sweat, they roll in the dirt, they get rained on, etc.  I’m sorry, but I don’t know of ANY formula, toxic pesticides or not, that will last for more than a few hours.  Everything has to be reapplied frequently, from sunscreen, to bug spray, to lip gloss; it all needs reapplication every couple of hours to effectively work! There, I’ve said it, insect repellent at best, only lasts for a few hours! That being said, it should at least smell good!!!  This is another reason for my two formulations.  I know some people dislike the citronella/citrus smell, but who doesn’t love lavender and mint? Believe me, when I spray the lavender and mint formula, even my horses love it.  Actually, they are probably thinking, where are the peppermints?

Here are some other helpful tips to try and manage the fly population:

  1. Clean stalls one to two times daily. I spread my manure daily with the help of the Newer Spreader. It was the best purchase I ever made!!!
  2. Spread fly predators….it kinda seems like you are just setting microscopic bugs free, who will be dead before sunset, but I have noticed a huge difference when I skipped a summer and did not spread them.
  3. Invest in an automatic fly spray system.  I bought mine through this site, I make up my own repellent, but you can purchase the repellent through their site as well.
  4. Keep a clean and tidy barn! Clean around your horse’s grain bucket, flies love to snack on grain your horse missed!

I hope this information helps you enjoy the precious time we get with our four legged companions.  Please feel free to ask me any questions, or to expand on any of the areas I have covered above.

Love Your Horse!



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