How to Make Your Own Bug Spray with Essential Oils
Flies are a continuous problem in the summer months if you have animals. There are a few natural solutions to this: Keeping their areas clean, clean, clean! Using fly traps. Diatomaceous earth is great! And of course, Bug Spray. Making your own bug spray is easy, economical, and best---it's a natural alternative for your animals' health.
Nothing beats just keeping the poo picked up. Nothing. Flies naturally head right to these oozing, stinky piles..no matter if it's in the chicken coop or the corral. Our corral is cleaned up daily, not only for our horses' sake, but for the neighbors' and ours too! We clean out the coop these days about twice a week. Luckily, chickens eat flies and offspring. Bottom line: If there is no poo, there are WAY fewer flies!
Using Fly Traps
OK. I have become a fan! These work! From old fashioned fly strips (first invented in 1861, in case you are interested) to the newest electric zappers, there are tons of choices. My favorite kind are the ones we buy at CalRanch or other feed store. There is a stinky substance inside a large plastic bag. You simply fill the bag with water, hang from a nearby tree or other great spot, and the flies come! They end up drowning in the water within the bags, which have holes in the top where they can get in....BUT they can't get out! Bwah ha ha ha ha...!
Here is a cheap and natural idea for a fly trap I've tried in the past. In Las Vegas, in our backyard, I used to hang these by the back patio door, and they truly did work! They kept the flies from coming into the house. I haven't tried them out here on this larger property, but I suspect that hanging by a door, I would get the same result. I don't think they do much for animals, though.
How to Make a Fly Repellant for Outside Your Home
Here is what you do:
1. Get a sandwich (ziplock) bag.
2. Put two or three shiny pennies in it.
3. Fill it about halfway with water.
4. Zip it up and hang by a door!
Weird, right? But like I said, it could possibly work for you! It worked for us! Evidently, the reason behind its probable success is that the flies see what looks like to them a large predator of some type, so they stay away. So obviously, this would not work in a large horse corral, but by the door to your house? Give it a try! It's practically free and very simple!
This is a natural silty earth substance that is made of millions of ancient diatoms which used to inhabit the earth millions of years ago and are still found in certain places. When this is spread around in chicken coops or horse corrals, or any other places, any insect that comes into contact with it ends up drying out or being otherwise affected. I have not tried this yet, either, but I ordered some from Amazon, and it should be here soon! I'll update later!
Finally...What You Have (Maybe) Been Waiting For....How to Make Your Own BUG SPRAY
Well, suffice to say, I am just NOT a fan of bug repellants or sprays. They stink. They contain chemicals that are often dangerous for you and your pets and other animals. I am just NOT a fan. Never have been...even when I was a kid and was being eaten by mosquitoes. (Luckily, my sister was a sweeter target than me, so all I had to do was hang out near her!!! lol)
Our newest additions to the homestead are our two horses, Bud and Ginger. And do they EVER draw the flies! All over their poor bodies, but especially on their eyes. This is true of most livestock of the herbivore variety.
The first thing I did was to go buy a very expensive bottle of horse insect repellant. This bottle contains all kinds of chemicals, and after doing some research I found that pyrethrin (or any similar synthetic compound) is a neurotoxin. BUT because it comes from a plant, the FDA has ruled that manufacturers can call it "natural" even though the chemical in question happens to be a synthetic version of the substance. The other unfortunate thing about insect repellants is that they must be reapplied quite often, because they don't last more than an hour to a few hours.
I decided I did NOT want to be spraying a neurotoxin on my horses. At. All. Ever.
So here is a recipe I created using Essential Oils, Water, and a little alcohol to break up the oils a bit and keep it spraying well. This recipe is safe for pets (except cats), children, and of course, adults.
BUGS!! Be GONE! DIY Bug Spray
2 parts Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil
1 part Citronella Essential Oil
1 part Lemongrass Essential Oil
2 parts Eucalyptus (globulus) Essential Oil
2 parts Peppermint Essential Oil
(For a 4 oz. bottle, my "part" measurement is one full 3 mL pipette.)
Grain Alcohol (I use Vodka) or Rubbing Alcohol
Blend the Essential Oils and let them sit together and swirl gently occasionally to mix. You can use the blend immediately, but I do like to let the oils blend together. You will probably have more of this blend than you need for the recipe below. But you will be using more, I promise! So just save any remaining in a dark glass container.
Using a four ounce container, fill it about 1/10 or so of the way full of the essential oil blend. YOU DON'T NEED A WHOLE LOT OF THE ESSENTIAL OILS! They are very powerful! You can make some adjustments for a greater or smaller amount though.
Then add about twice the amount of alcohol as essential oils, give or take a bit. I tend to use a little less.
Fill the rest of the way with purified water, distilled water, or even tap water if yours is fine to use. We have well water, so I just use this, and have never had a problem.
Here is Ginger after being sprayed....And those flies were really trying too! Blessed relief!
So this is what I do right now, while I am off work for the summer: I spray my horses 2 or 3 times a day. :-) Even though this spray is truly natural, being made with essential oils, I still have to reapply fairly often in the summer months.
By the way, this spray will work on dogs too. I have not had to use this on my cats, but I would not, personally. Cats tend not to do very well with some essential oils. This spray is fine to spray around a coop area for poultry too, but I would not spray it directly on chickens or turkeys either. It is EXCELLENT for human use! It's what we use ourselves when we go out into the wilderness!
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Hugs & Self-Reliance!
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