DIY Natural Fly Sprays

A couple years ago, I stopped buying fly sprays.  It wasn’t because I didn’t need them, but instead because I wanted to avoid the chemicals that many sprays contain–plus save a little money.  So I started experimenting with making my own.




I’ve found one recipe that I’ve stuck with for a while–it uses only two ingredients: apple cider vinegar and citronella essential oil.  You can find the recipe in this blog post, along with several others.  But. . . several people complained that a few of the ingredients in some of the recipes weren’t completely natural or ‘safe’ to use on horses.

So I decided to write yet another post on DIY natural fly sprays–and this time, I found all new recipes which are made with completely natural ingredients!  They all use a blend of essential oils mixed with various other ingredients.

Now I know that many people prefer to only buy a certain brand of essential oils, and I’m not here to sell any specific one– but personally, I like to know that the ones I use are 100% therapeutic grade and I Iike organic as well.  Some of the brands I like include Mountain Rose Herbs, Young Living, and DoTerra, but I’ve used other brands as well.  If you find a company you like, then go for it!

So, without further ado, here are a few DIY natural fly spray recipes for you!


Refreshing Fly Blend by Nan Martin

  • 5-10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
  • 5-10 drops Tea Tree or Melaleuca Alternifolia Essential Oil
  • 5-10 drops Idaho Tansy Essential Oil
  • 5-10 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  • 5-10 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil
  • 5-10 drops Lavender Essential Oil

Drop each of the oils into a 32 oz spray bottle and mix with water.

Source: Equimed


Natural Fly Spray

  • 30 drops Purification Essential Oil
  • 20 drops Eucalyptus Globulus essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 50/50 Purified Water to ACV
  • 1-2 oz. V-6 Carrier Oil (optional)

Mix ingredients in dark colored glass spray bottle. Add carrier oil as needed for ‘staying power’.

Source: Heavenly Gaits Equine Massage


Homemade Fly Spray

  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 20 drops of doTERRA’s essential oil blend Terrashield

Source: Weed ‘Em and Reap


Natural Homemade Fly Spray

  • 1 quart Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 20 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 20 drops melaleuca essential oil
  • 20 drops lavender esssential oil

Source: The Prairie Homestead


Natural Blend

Add 20 or more drops each of:

  • tea tree oil
  • peppermint oil
  • geranium

In a few weeks, switch the oils out and use:

  • eucalyptus
  • lemon, and
  • lavender

Add water to spray bottle.  Optional: add liquid soap or oil for ‘staying power’.

Source: Deby Estel–blog follower


Geranium Blend

  • leftover and dying geraniums –about 2 cups or 20 drops geranium oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic or garlic granules
  • 2 tablespoons neem oil-human grade
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups water

Blend for about 4 minutes, strain and put in spray bottle.
Apply with a sponge around the eyes. Lasts 2 days but that’s about how long the natural stuff lasts. This is cheap and easy if you have a bunch of flowers in your yard like I do. Marigolds are good too since they contain pyrethrin.

Source: Kayla Martens (left as a comment on my other fly spray post)


*Just a note–the melalueca essential oil is the same as tea tree oil.


Also, I think it’s important to mention that there are other methods of fly control that we can use with our horses.  Cleaning up manure is an important one since flies hang out around manure piles.  I’m also using Spalding’s Fly Predators this year and even though we’ve had an epic amount of rainfall this spring in Oklahoma, I am noticing a difference in the overall fly population.

Happy Fly Spraying!




Hi! My name is Casie Bazay. I'm a mom, a freelance writer, and a certified equine acupressure practitioner.

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16 Responses

  1. gail says:

    I have had problems with the oils clogging or deteriorating my sprayer mechanisms. I have tried several different brands of spray bottles, and always “heavy duty”. has anyone found a solution to this, rather than throwing sprayers away and starting with new ones, it defeats the purpose of trying to save money and the environment. thanks for any input anyone can offer…

    • Clissa says:

      re the clogging spray head. I have heard that the use of a few drops of hand wash or dish wash detergent will help to keep the oils in suspension so they don’t clog the sprayer.
      I think the side benefit is that it also helps the oils stay on the horse longer although rain would wash it off just as quickly.

  2. In the anti-fly wars please don’t forget free ranging chickens. Eggs are side benefit. If there are ticks in the area Guinnies (sp) are well worth the investment.

  3. Daniel says:

    I’ve used fly predators (wasps) from both Spalding and Arbico and they are a fantastic way to keep the fly population down. It gets better with time. They don’t kill the flies you see but the wasps lay their eggs in the fly larvae so that they never hatch. It costs me, roughly, $16 a month for five horses. I’d spend a lot more than that in fly spray. Though I still like to spray the horses with something since the predators aren’t 100% effective.
    Some of these formulas look interesting and should smell great.
    The one negative note here is the ‘GMO bad, organic good’ crowd. My guess is there isn’t an organic chemist in the lot nor a biologist. These cultural memes get started for all sorts of reasons but science and truth isn’t one of them. That sort of shallow, ignorant thinking was behind the ban of DDT and responsible for the deaths of millions of people as a result of that, from malaria.
    Every time I’ve challenged someone who hews to that line to provide me with evidence to back up what they are saying I get the sales brochure from some environmental organization pushing an agenda based on propaganda and junk science. People have a right to purchase the products they want and a right to be as ignorant about biology and chemistry as they want. But ‘GMO bad, Organic good’ is not just ignorant but downright silly.

  4. Rhonda says:

    Where do you find the citronella essential oil. Thanks

  5. Lisa says:

    I have found that (rose)geranium essential oil attracts bees. Just FYI. I personally have not used it in a fly spray blend yet, only because everytime that I use that specific oil on me, the bees are always buzzing around me.

    Looking forward to making some of these recipes thus year though, I love using the ACV!

  6. Julia says:

    I will try some of these. Please add me to your newsletter list.

    • Casie says:

      Hi Julia–please add your email to the box where it says ‘Subscribe to Blog via Email’ on the upper left hand side if you’d like to receive weekly updates. Thanks!

  7. Marise says:

    Thank you for this blog, and the natural fly spray recipes. I look forward to trying out a few.

  8. Cindy Daly says:

    I was told that it is very bad to ingest the essential oils(horses grooming each other) and you should not mix essential oils with water only oils because oil and water doesn’t mix together, is this not true?

    • Casie says:

      It’s true that there are certain essential oils which aren’t safe to ingest, but others can actually be given internally (always consult a professional before giving any oil internally though). I’ve used my citronella oil recipe for years and have never had an issue with it. The way I see it, I’d rather use a fly spray with essential oils than one with permethrin which is known to be fatal to fish and cats. Also, I don’t use water in my fly spray, but I know many people who do. I would just shake it each time before using.

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