Credit where credit is due, this is not my recipe, but one my BO tweaked over the years until she was happy with it. She uses her name in the title, but in the advent of privacy, I've modified the title. This recipe battles the bugs in our temperate Appalachian rainforest environment beautifully! I've been using it for 6 years now with wonderful results - it's definitely better than any store-bought I've tried.
While the recipe can be made without the permethrin, I will tell you from experience that it won't be as effective. My BO is a medical professional and did some research into the toxicity of it in this recipe because so many people cry foul at chemicals these days. She noted that while yes, it can be toxic, in the amount we use it on the horses for the number of months we use it, adverse effects wouldn't start occurring until >40 years of use. Considering the average horse lifespan, we're in the clear! IMHO, I'd rather give my horses some relief from the present-day pain of biting insects than worry about adverse effects that are 40 years down the road.
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Deadly Appalachia Fly Spray Recipe
Makes 1 quart.
- Empty, clean fly spray bottle
- 3 tea bags (Earle Grey is best) – omit if horse is white (I have never omitted and have never had an issue with it staining)
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper or peppercorns
- 3 large cloves garlic - mashed
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 2 Tb. lemon juice
- 6 oz. Pine Sol cleaner (off name brand okay as long as it has pine oil in it)
- 4 oz. Avon Skin So Soft (if none, get off name brand baby oil with lavender)
- 10 drops lavender oil
- 6 oz. Listerine (off name brand okay as long as it has the eucalyptus in it)
- 2 tsp. Citronella oil
- 4 oz. concentrated Repel X or 2 oz. 10% permethrin (available at Southern States)(can leave this out if you're anti-chemical)
- Funnel (optional, but helps greatly)
Boil the tea bags, bay leaves, pepper/peppercorns, and garlic in 2 cups of water until it boils down to about ½ cup of liquid. Cool to room temperature and strain well to remove any solids. Cool completely! (If you don't strain it well it will likely clog the spray bottle head. I usually strain 3x to make certain I've removed even the tiniest of sediments. Additionally, my tip is to make a double or triple batch of this step so that you can keep it in a closed container in the fridge for more batches later. It is definitely the most timely step in the whole process, so having some on hand later when you need it saves a lot of time!)
Once the above mixture is at room temperature, add the remaining ingredients to the bottle. (I have not found that the order they are added makes any difference at all, so long as everything is room temperature.)
The active ingredients in the permethrin are destroyed by heat, so make sure everything is at room temperature before you mix it all together. This mix works well without the permethrin, but doesn’t have the “staying” power as with it. The cost is about $3/quart without the permethrin and about $4.50 with it.
Contents will settle, so shake well before using.
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Comment and let me know how it works for you! Or, if you have your own recipe, how does it compare to this one? 😉