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No horse lover wants to see her equine friends plagued by flies, but it can be a nightmare to repel them. Overuse of insecticides has caused many flies to become resistant to them. Not only are natural home remedies for fly control often more effective, they're less costly as well.
Garlic is a natural source of sulfur, which can help to keep flies at bay. It also produces a strong odor that flies dislike and promotes an alkaline pH in the body, while flies are attracted to acidic environments. Feed your horse a specially designed equine garlic supplement, rather than just fresh garlic cloves. Follow the manufacturer's dosage directions, as the amount you feed will depend on the size of your horse and the brand of garlic supplement you're using. Never exceed the recommended dosage, as overfeeding garlic can lead to anemia in horses.
Certain essential oils are useful when it comes to fly control, as their scents are unpleasant to insects. These essential oils include citronella, geranium, eucalyptus, lemongrass, thyme, lavender, tea tree, pine and clove. Always dilute essential oils with water, a mild base oil, or aloe vera lotion or gel at a ratio of no more than 1 ounce of essential oils per 16 ounces of water, oil or lotion. Neat essential oils could irritate your horse's skin. Once you've mixed up your essential oils, put them in a spray bottle and spritz your horse all over, avoiding his eyes.
Vinegar can either be used as a fly spray or fed to your horse to keep flies away. If feeding vinegar, use a food quality apple cider vinegar and feed 2 to 4 ounces per day. You can either add this to your horse's drinking water -- at a ratio of 1 cup of apple cider vinegar per 20 gallons of water -- or mix it with his hay or feed. If using as a fly spray, mix one part distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar with one part water.
While home remedies will help your horse when flies are bothering him, it's even better to reduce the amount of flies that are around in the first place. To prevent flies from infesting your property, keep it as clean and tidy as possible. Muck out your horse's stable daily and pick up manure from his pasture regularly. Horse flies breed in water, so try to get rid of any standing water, including rain barrels. Empty, clean out and refill all water troughs regularly to get rid of larvae.
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