You know how in the book of Exodus, one of the ten plagues was massive amounts of flies?
When I was younger, I always thought “Well, that one wouldn’t be THAT bad…”
I take it back.
We had massive amounts of flies last year. It was a constant battle to keep them off of my animals, out of my food, and off of my baby… (It got so bad, I even got bug nets for the playpen!)
Of course, the typical solution is to use hardcore chemicals and sprays to drive them away.
I just don’t feel good about doing that anymore.
Especially when I’m milking my cow.
I know from experience with my horses, whenever you apply fly spray, it gets everywhere. On your hands, on your clothes, in your mouth. I don’t want those chemicals floating anywhere near my lovely raw milk.
Last year I tried a few white vinegar/dish soap/mouth wash concoctions. While they sorta worked, I wasn’t super impressed with any of them.
This homemade fly spray recipe with essential oils works much better.
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Homemade Fly Spray Recipe
- 4 cups raw apple cider vinegar (where to buy raw apple cider vinegar) OR make your own vinegar
- 20 drops rosemary essential oil (where to buy my favorite essential oils)
- 20 drops basil essential oil
- 20 drops peppermint essential oil
- 2 tablespoons liquid oil (olive oil, canola oil, or mineral oil will work)
- 1 tablespoon dish soap (I use this kind)
Mix together in a spray bottle. Apply to the animals frequently (give it a good shake before applying). And be careful, it smells strong. Whew!
The final verdict?
It works. But if you are expecting your homemade fly spray to be like conventional fly sprays lasting for several days, you will be disappointed.
From my observations, it repels the flies, it doesn’t kill them. I had to apply 1-2x per day for maximum effectiveness, but at least it provided temporary relief without chemicals. I will definitely be using it during my milking routine and on my horses and goats, too.
- If you don’t have access to raw apple cider vinegar, you can still use pasteurized apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. I just think the raw goodness packs an extra punch.
- Speaking of vinegar, if you have any glass quart-sized vinegar jars hanging around, often you can screw on a spray top for a cool glass spray bottle.
- If you don’t have these exact essential oils, no worries. There are TONS of oils that repel insects including lavender, tea tree, pine, citronella, arborvitae, thyme, etc. Feel free to play around and mix and match.
- Need insect repellent recipes for the humans in your life? I’ve got ya covered. Here are 20+ recipes to keep the bugs from biting.
- I don’t use homemade fly spray on my chickens, BUT, I do a variety of things to control flies in my chicken coop.