Homemade Fly Spray For Horses With Permethrin

It’s easy to pick up a bottle in any tack shop, but to avoid nasty chemicals or add your own ingredients, try a homemade fly spray for horses with permethrin. Making your own fly spray is also one way to save money. Let’s take a look at insect-busting permethrin and how you can make your own bug repellents.

Protect Your Horse From Biting Insects

As soon as the weather warms up after winter, the bugs come out to irritate people and horses alike. Flies and mosquitos can spread disease and make horses uncomfortable, even driving sensitive horses crazy.

What Is Permethrin

Permethrin is a type of pyrethroid insecticide. While it is not a natural insecticide, it is quite similar to pyrethrum. Pyrethrum is a natural bug killer derived from chrysanthemum plants.

Pyrethroids are more stable than pyrethrum. While pyrethrum breaks down with exposure to sunlight and only protects for a couple of hours, permethrin lasts much longer, even days. It is one of the most effective fly sprays for horses and the least toxic.

Protect Your Horse From Biting Insects

Permethrin is effective on several types of bugs including, flies, ticks, and mosquitoes. The doses used in insect control don’t negatively affect people, but it is not completely safe. To avoid any of the effects, which usually only occur with exposure to high doses, stay inside when spraying property with it.

Is Permethrin Safe For Horses

Permethrin is toxic to flies and other insects. When they come into contact with it, it affects their nerves, leading to paralysis and death. However, it is considered safe for horses.

Safe Use Of Fly Spray For Horses With Permethrin

While fly spray will not eliminate insects on your property, it will deter them from landing on your horse and biting them. Insects are attracted by your horse’s body heat, and unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to stop this. However, if you use fly spray, the insect will avoid contact when exposed.

Always read product labels thoroughly before using them. Permethrin is sold in varying strengths, and sometimes it is combined with other products. Make sure when using a homemade fly spray for horses with permethrin, you use the recommended dilution. 


Even though it is rare, some horses experience sensitivity to permethrin. The most commonly seen issue is a skin reaction. If this occurs, give the horse a bath with a gentle shampoo and rinse thoroughly. 

Another side effect of permethrin use on horses is coat loss. This is usually due to the use of a highly concentrated product, such as a spot on. Always take caution to avoid contact with your horse’s eyes and nose.

Homemade Fly Spray For Horses With Permethrin

One alternative to purchasing commercially produced insect control is to create your own homemade fly spray for horses with permethrin. You won’t have trouble finding a recipe to make your own but we will help you get started with a couple of suggestions that include permethrin.

The first ingredient you need regardless of your recipe is a bottle of 10% permethrin concentrate. Make sure the version you buy is labeled safe for horses and other animals. The best place to find the right kind of permethrin is a tack shop or your local farm supply store.

Homemade Horse Fly Spray Recipes

1. Mix the following ingredients in your spray bottle.

  • 30ml of permethrin concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon dish soap
  • 2 cups of apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • 2 teaspoons eucalyptus oil
  • 1 teaspoon cedarwood oil

Bayer Permectrin II Insecticide, 32-Ounce

Add all the ingredients to your spray bottle and give it a good shake. Fill the remainder of the bottle with water and shake again.

2. The next natural fly spray for horses with permethrin comes from Dr. Twilla, a vet at Brandon Equine Medical Center in Florida. Mix the following ingredients in a spray bottle.

  • 2 ounces of Skin So Soft
  • .75 ounces of permethrin 10%
  • 4 ounces of white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of citronella
  • 6 ounces of Healthy Hair Care
  • Water

Simply add all of your ingredients into your spray bottle and shake well to mix it up.

DIY Horse Fly Spray Without Permethrin

If you prefer to keep your fly spray as natural as possible, you can make your own without adding permethrin. However, keep in mind this will greatly reduce effectiveness and likely only last for a short period of time.

Saddle Box has shared this budget-friendly fly spray for horses. Just add all the ingredients together in a 32-ounce spray bottle and shake it up.

Homemade Fly Spray For Horses Without Permethrin
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • ½ cup of spray-on sunscreen
  • 50 drops of citronella oil
  • 25 drops of lemongrass essential oil
  • 25 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 20 drops lavender oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap
  • 2 cups water 

For another great homemade fly spray for horses that don’t use permethrin check out this detailed helpful video from Budget Equestrian.

Essential Oil Must-Knows

When choosing an essential oil to add to your homemade fly spray for horses, take extra care. For example, citronella oil comes in two types, one of which is very dangerous. You want to pick the essential oil citronella, not the type that is used for tiki torches.

All essential oil is highly concentrated, so you only need to use small amounts. Check that the oil actually pure, only containing compounds of the plant. Watch out for solvents and synthetic essential oils.

Essential Oil Must-Knows

Fly Spray For Horses That Really Works- Conclusion

Making your own homemade fly spray for horses with permethrin is easy, economical, and even fun. Ensure you use a safe concentration of permethrin on your horse and only add essential oils that are non-toxic for them. If your horse gets a reaction to your fly spray that doesn’t resolve with a bath, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a vet.

In addition, to fly spray, you can use fly masks and fly sheets to protect your horse from insects. These are particularly good to use if you have a horse that is sensitive to insect bites.

One important thing to note, with regards to permethrin use, is to avoid using it on or near cats, as they are more sensitive to it and susceptible to neurotoxicity.

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