Horse flies torture horses and other animals, including humans, with abandon. An accidental but long-standing remedy that horse flies seem to hate is Avon’s Skin-So-Soft bath oil. Vinegar -- white or apple cider -- is another. Each is safe for animals or people; just pour in spray bottles and apply. You can buy prepared sprays containing citronella, which also serves as a repellent, as well as shampoo for animals.
Smells We Like, They Don’t
Look for other ingredients in sprays -- or make your own with natural oils -- that are believed to be offensive to horse flies. These include peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, clove, rosemary, basil, tea tree, lemongrass, catnip and cedar. Many people like some or all of these scents, making them more pleasant for you to use.
Prevention Is Best
Remove standing water and employ good manure removal practices to control breeding areas.
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Based in Central Texas, Karen S. Johnson is a marketing professional with more than 30 years' experience and specializes in business and equestrian topics. Her articles have appeared in several trade and business publications such as the Houston Chronicle. Johnson also co-authored a series of communications publications for the U.S. Agency for International Development. She holds a Bachelor of Science in speech from UT-Austin.