Barn Fly Remedies

| Modified: Aug 21, 2020
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Do you have a barn fly problem? Or are flies of any kind troubling your pets? There are natural steps you can take to persuade flies to find their meals elsewhere, without filling your animal's environment with harsh pesticides.

Simple steps can be taken around the barn, the dog house, or wherever your animals happen to be afflicted with flying pests. Sometimes, a small change or addition to your animal's diet can dissuade flies from pestering your animals. Certain essential oils or aromatic foods such as garlic or cayenne can be natural pest deterrents, whether eaten or applied topically (usually, in a dilution--be careful with applications directly on your animal's skin or fur).

Natural Remedies: Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is so far the most popular home remedy to shoo away barn flies, and it has a long tradition of such use. ACV can be used in a sprayer or can be added to your animals' water or feed. If spraying directly on your pet or animals, dilute 1:1 with water.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted by C Alesi (Lake Mathews, California USA) on 11/21/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I have been putting a cup of ACV in my horses water barrel since last spring. I noticed my gelding was drinking alot more water with ACV. A few weeks of ACV, my gelding peed out a calcium deposits the size of a walnut. It also helped with the biting flies. One of our mares would get terrible fly bites, but this year she was scab free.

Replied by Babytodd
Cerro Gordo, Nc

could you please tell me the ratio of Apple Cider Vinegar and water for your horses?

Replied by Deb
Uintah, Utah

How much ACV should I add to my 30 gal watering barrel for my horses?

Replied by Lynn
Pearlington, Ms

I don't know the ratio of ACV to water but I do remember reading that you start off with less and then gradually add more to get the horse used to it.

Replied by Swhit
Los Angeles, Ca

ACV also makes their coats/feathers shine. I put a few capfuls in my chooks water (5 gal container) and it does help keep the flies away from the chicken poop.

Replied by Swhit
Los Angeles, Ca

Forgot to mention I sprinkle Food Grade Diatomacious Earth in their coop and run also and that also helps besides keep insects/flies away. When I clean out the coop I always use full strength ACV and let it air dry before putting down new bedding.

Posted by Tangie (Jefferson City, MO) on 11/13/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I have a Chow German Shepard mix & a Lab both are outside dogs. In the summer months we had a problem with the biting flies, which causes bad sores on my dogs. I used (ACV/Water)1 cup of apple cidar vinear to 2 cups water sprayed my dogs every other day and it helped a lot. Don't spray on open wounds.

I also have 2 small dogs and a cat inside the home that have fleas I use 70-90% full strength rubbing alcohol put it in a spray bottle and spray the animals and their bedding (do not spray eyes, inside ears or genital areas) Spray the carpets and all cracks and crevices of floors (carpets and tile) not good on wood. Not good around birds, I saturate one room, close the door and then go to next room. Put birds in a room that isn't being treated. Do not stay in the sprayed rooms leave until carpet/floor dries. Once I had a flea my arm and ankle i spritz the area with the alcohol and the flea died instantly.

Posted by Erica (Merced, CA) on 10/19/2008
5 out of 5 stars

acv pinesole worked really good for the flies my poor dogs were infested with them and when we sprayed it all over the back yard they were all gone.

Posted by Deb (Brooklyn, Wisconsin) on 07/20/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I mix ACV with Avon Skin So Soft, Citronella and water to make a fly spray for my horses and mini donkeys. Have also tried it on my dogs and it smells great.

Replied by Debra
Watford, Ontario Canada

does this not sting or hurt their bites??? and is it safe, don't get into blood stream? I was considering SSS from Avon and have tried tea tree oil mixed with mild detergent/shampoo.

Please help, getting tons of small bites on her undersides and legs and throat... And around face etc.... Help, my yearlings are pretty blondes don't want them all chewed up! Debra

Posted by Krissy (Plant Cirty, Fl.) on 05/10/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I was absoluetly amazed with the resuts after I started using ACV, pine sol and water as a spray on my horse,I also sprayed it in her stable and the flies are gone, You will still see a few but not near as many as there was,I mixed equal portions of ACV,skin so soft and waterand rubbed on her face careful not to get it in her eyes,she tilerated it ok not as good as sher normally is,but would you like the smell,the next day you can't hardly smell it at all.Her caot is so shinny and soft.I think I have discovered something, No more expensive fly spray.

Posted by Melissa (Gonzales, TX) on 12/10/2006
5 out of 5 stars

I have been using ACV on JR this past year and have seen a big difference in using this product then any of those commerical fly sprays. I give him around 1/2 cup per day with 2.5 lbs of grain. I also mix in corn oil around 1/2 cup and this has kept his coat looking shinny and flys to a minmum. Great Stuff!

Posted by Sylvie (Langley, B.C) on 07/12/2006
5 out of 5 stars

I have a beautiful, 6yr old standard bred mare that i only bought about 6 weeks ago, who was very impressive looking when i first laid eyes on her, she was very healthy and strong, she stands 15.2 and now she has been under attack by flies and mosquitoes and you can just see her aggravation --she runs herself into a sweat and has even lost weight from it , she's not as pretty because she has tons of bumps all over her body. So i took it upon myself to look on the internet for a solution and found this site. I have now been using the acv and canola oil and have mixed it 60/40, more acv then oil. I think it's working so far because she is healing and seems happier. I'm now thinking of using it in her feed to see what results i get from there. thanks for this site, I'm confident this will be the best thing for her in the end.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic

Posted by Ds Doyle (Aurora, Colorado) on 08/13/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Yea, ACV. We have a 15 yr old mare that was getting bitten by flies and bleeding from them. We used ACV and Garlic in her food daily and could really see the difference in her bites. When we had gone on vacation the care givers ran out of ACV and when we returned we saw more bite marks on her again. The ACV and garlic both really work. It also keeps the flies down in the corral and barn.

Replied by Charles
Competa, Malaga, Spain

Apple Cider Vinegar and Garlic? My horse is being driven crazy and so am I by his state! What mixtures do you use/quantities? My Gypsy Horse wont eat garlic although I put fresh garlic in all his feed bins he just leaves them behind. How do you get the garlic in the ACV? Is it fresh, granules or powder? I'm desperate for these answers. many thanks. Charles

Bot Fly Remedies

Posted by Nancie (Vernal, Ut) on 08/21/2020

I need help with what think are bot flies in my tiny dog. She's a mouser and chases chipmonks. What can I use on the tiny bumps to suffocate the larvae?

Dog Fly Repellent

Posted by Wishapup (Southeastern Area, Ontario, Canada) on 05/13/2013

My dog is plagued by flies every year (especially her sensitive, floppy ears) and the only thing that's worked well so far is a strong chemical product that I apply to her ears and do not like using.

Last year, I compounded a homemade mixture, but I don't think it was quite strong enough. It deterred some of the flies but she suffered nonetheless.

This year, I want to try a mixture of:

2 cups water
2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Cayenne pepper
1 packet Avon Skin-So-Soft
10 drops spearmint oil
10 drops citronella oil

I plan to mix it in a spray bottle and mist it on her coat. Does this sound okay? Strong enough? Right proportions?

I'm determined to keep the flies off this time.

Eucalyptus Oil

Posted by Boomer (Toledo, ohio) on 07/04/2009
5 out of 5 stars

i just finished reading most of these posts, and remembered that i have some eucalyptus oil and water in a spray bottle for warding off fleas....tried it for flies on Boomer JUST NOW... working so far....

Lemon Dish Soap, Lemon Ammonia

Posted by Dr Doc (dlcs) (U.S.A.) on 07/06/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Home Remedies Fly Control

i am crippled with parkinsons disease and have a small veg garden for a therapy. i use one cup of lemon scented dishwashing liquid and one cup of lemon scented amonia in a 20 gallon hose end sprayer. i fill the remainder of the sprayer bottle with water and it seems to work quit well for flies and other insects control. i apply about every third day or so. i also plan now to use your sites suggestions. Thanks, Dr Doc (dlcs)

Spearmint Oil

Posted by Dawn (North Hollywood, CA) on 08/01/2006
5 out of 5 stars

You mix 15-20 drops of spearmint oil in a spray bottle with water, spray on fur and ears, careful not to get in eyes, you can spray dog houses, the outer perimeter of your home and the flies disappear almost instantly. my dogs are 7 and I have never found anything that worked until I tried this.

Posted by Dawn (North Hollywood, CA) on 07/10/2006
5 out of 5 stars

I would like to tell you about something I discovered I did not see on your site. Dogs and Flies... My dogs were being eaten up by flies, a friend recommended spearmint oil and it worked. I have been using it over a week now and there has not been one fly around them since. IT WORKS.

Replied by Lb Gal
Long Beach, Ca
5 out of 5 stars

We moved homes and have a nice back yard now w/ shade. Our 2 lab mixes just started getting pestered by tiny flies all of a sudden (May-June-through now July). We wash them every week. They are indoor/outdoor dogs. Went to Whole foods to buy some essential spearmint oil to mix w/ h2o. Just sprayed our dogs... So far its working.. Hope it continues!! Thx for the easy and wholistic tip!

Replied by Lace_lael
Midwest, Nd

Dear People who post to this site: Please be specific when you post your remedies. example pet category: Flies: One post says 10-12 drops of spearment oil in a spray bottle.

This is not specific enough to be helpful. 10-12 drops in a 2 oz, 4 oz, 8 oz, 10 oz or 20 oz spray bottle... With water? with oil? with ???? I love that people share what has worked for them but I have a request for them that they be specific enough that we can repeat their success!! Do not post remedies that are not complete enough for them to be helpful or useable. TELL US WHAT YOU DID!! Thank you! Lace_ lael

Tea Tree Oil

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 07/26/2014
5 out of 5 stars


A farmer my son knew had a sick calf that he didn't have time to deal with and gave it to my son, hoping he could nurse it back to health and then keep it. So this calf had some kind of parasite/bugs on the face. I mixed up tea tree essential oil and water (1 T. oil to 1.5 cups water) in a spray bottle. My son sprayed this on the calf in the face a couple of times a day. It did seem to rid her of the parasite. We also noticed that flies were no longer on her face. If we sprayed her whole body she would be fly free for hours. I guess this would be an expensive long term solution (and not very convenient)but for a sick animal who needs to be spared the further irritation of flies, it works.

By the way, my son has had the calf for 6 weeks or so by now. She is doing well. I think she is going to make it! She is very sweet and friendly and hangs out with our big cows.

~Mama to Many~