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How to mix your own natural fly repellent for horses with neem oil

Updated July 19, 2017

If your horse is suffering from fly bites, consider making a fly spray that contains neem oil. The neem tree is a tropical evergreen that grows in India and Southeast Asia. Neem has been known for thousands of years for its insect repellent and insecticide properties. Neem oils and extracts are powerful weapons to use against flies. For various species of insects, neem disrupts the development of eggs and larvae, inhibits moulting in certain stages of insect development, blocks females from depositing eggs and repels both larvae and adults. Neem oil also suffocates insects by physically constricting their airways.

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  1. Pour 473 ml (2 cups) apple cider vinegar and 237 ml (1 cup) water into your spray bottle. According to the University of California San Diego, high concentrations of apple cider vinegar silence scent activation cells in a fly's brain. The large amount of vinegar in this recipe is strong enough to repel flies.

  2. Combine 237 ml (1 cup) aloe vera lotion with 473 ml (2 cups) apple cider vinegar in the spray bottle if your horse has sensitive skin. Aloe vera has a healing effect on burnt, wounded, irritated and damaged skin. Polysaccharides in aloe increase skin repair and growth, while glycoproteins decrease pain and swelling.

  3. Add 14.8ml (1/2 oz)of pure neem oil to the mixture in the spray bottle. Neem easily biodegrades and is non-toxic to mammals, making it a very safe oil to use on your horse.

  4. Add 14.8ml (1/2 oz) of one other essential oil to increase your fly spray's potency. According to Holistic Horse magazine, eucalyptus, tea tree, thyme, garlic, cedarwood and juniper oils are essential oils that are effective additions to natural fly repellent sprays.

  5. Spray your horse's body with the mixture, giving special attention his lower legs. Do not spray your horse's face; instead, spray a clean cloth and wipe the cloth over his face, avoiding his mouth, nose and eyes.

  6. Tip

    Always use high-quality essential oils on your horse's skin. Low-quality oils contain harmful additives that will be absorbed by your horse's body. Add a different additional oil to your fly spray each time you make it. Flies can become desensitised to repellents over time, so new oil scents will help to continuously deter them.


    Do not apply fly spray to any open wounds on your horse. If your horse develops any sensitivity to the fly spray, discontinue use immediately.

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Things You'll Need

  • Plastic spray bottle
  • 473 ml (2 cups) apple cider vinegar
  • 237 ml (1 cup) water or aloe vera lotion
  • 14.8ml (1/2 oz) neem oil
  • 14.8ml (1/2 oz) eucalyptus, tea tree, thyme, garlic, cedarwood or juniper oil
  • Small clean cloth

About the Author

Based in Colorado, Jacqueline Lerche has been writing alternative health, natural science and environment-related articles since 2009. Lerche holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and an Environmental Affairs Certification from Colorado State University.

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