All about fly repellents

Essentail oils VS Sythetic oils

Essentail oils are great repellents and unlike man made repellents insects dont seem to get immune.

The big problem with synthetic pyrethroids is that many species of flies now demonstrate resistance to them. Jerry Butler, PhD, a medical and veterinary entomologist with the Entomology and Nematology Department at the University of Florida, has done extensive studies on fly repellents and insecticides. He notes, "Permethrin used to last three days. Now it’s only effective for a couple of hours. As resistance has built up, the repellent action has been lost first." So, it’s not your imagination; your fly spray probably is less effective than it used to be. But interestingly, no resistance has yet been noted for natural pyrethrin.


Natural Oils are very biodegradable and are often put with formulas to try and make the oil stay around for longer such as sun cream and different carrier oils these often actually attract flies. 

New products are coming to the market like FLY-OFF inserts these are designed to continuosly release the oils slowely over several days. Other methods are using foam pads to put oils on these work like a car air freshener releasing small amounts of oil constantly. 


So which oils are best for blood eating flies and flies attracted to decaying matter (around eyes, sheath).

Eucalyptus has been shown to be as effective as DEET and has been recognised by the CDC but has little effect after a few hours (article)

A new oil has been found. It’s chemically related to citronella and looks to be a more potent version of that chemical (repellents in the same chemical family also are found in citrus peels). This is proving to have more effect than DEET repelling mosquitoes, no-see-ums, stable flies, horn flies, and even ticks and fire ants. (University of Florider).

With citronela already the leading essential oil for fly repellents this could be a massive break through

Other commen effect oils are  lavender, pine needle, tea tree, lemongrass, and pennyroyal. 

Repelling fleas, mites and ticks

Peppermint has been seen to be a great repellent for beetles, fleas, spiders and even mice. Horses dont get fleas as they dont sleep in the same spot day after day but with the use of rugs and stable boots there are cases poping up so it is worthwhile adding a drop just for protection. This oil is also great for feather mites so again a great prevention. 

Essential oils Fruit Flies

Every have your apples in the barn and within a couple of days rotting because the flies have tucked in? Well it might be worth putting Geranuim Oil near them. It is a common plant to plant amongst your friut and plants, it has strong smell which detters flies such as the fruit flies iother insects such as beetles.


DEET is a great repellent of insects but there is worry about it being harmful. We do not advise spraying this onto the horses skin the toxins can be absorded and may effect performace or even cause health problems. But with little research it is a very unknown toxic product. 

Products weve found

FLY-OFF contains four essentail oils including Geraniol the new essential oil, ideal for repelling a wide ange of insects, cost effective and lasts upto 14days. 

Natural Horse bridle diffusors

We have also found Natural Horse who do a fly repellent to go in there bridle diffusor.Although doesnt contain Geranoil does contain a good range of oils which together repells most insects. Lasts about 3 days and also comes with a pouch to hang in the stable or trailer.