Just because there is a global pandemic happening right now, doesn’t mean the flies are paying attention to the stay home order. Or maybe they feel that our barns and horse’s stalls are their home, so maybe they are? But regardless of world events, right now fly season is starting to get underway. Which means it’s time to test out some different fly sprays and find the best of the best with honors sir. And I have decided to create my first ever great fly spray challenge where I am going to test 8 different fly sprays.

I decided to do this because honestly, I hate flies. I hate that the little boogers dive bomb, and bite my horses making their summer days filled with stomping and trying to keep the flies away.

So for my first ever great fly spray challenge, I am going to share 8 different fly sprays with you, and let you know how they rate in 3 different areas:

  • Effect on Pests
  • How Long the Spray Lasts
  • Cost

I can’t really include the ingredients, because well, they all have different ingredients. But some are organic and use essential oils, and natural ingredients to repel pests, so I will note that in each review. And I am going to rate the fly sprays in order from the best of the best to the least effective. So, let’s get to it!

The Great Fly Spray Challenge

I have to preface this challenge with things that I already do on a daily basis in order to keep the fly population as low as I can before adding fly spray. Because there are many things you can do to decrease the amount of flies that linger around your horses. And I have written two different blog posts talking about this. My favorite fly products is one. And how to protect your horse from flies this summer is the other.

Now that you have the basics of managing pests on your property, let’s get to the fly sprays! And again, this list is meant to give you some options for keeping the flies away from your horses. And they have been ranked from me testing them out on both my horses and the results I saw.

My Testing Conditions

For my test, I sprayed my horse with fly spray after tacking him up for a schooling session. This way I could see his reaction to the pests while I was in the tack, or while I took him for a walk on the trail. I wanted to have different environments to really see how well these fly sprays worked in real world conditions.

Because I know how my fly control protocol works on my property. But going off my property, and out into the wilderness, and around other horses, well that would be the real test of how these sprays would really fare.

Fiebing’s Flyspray 44 for Horses

If you follow my blog, you probably aren’t surprised by this. This is my favorite fly spray ever. It really works!

I tried it last summer when I was frustrated with how aggressive the flies were getting. And one day when we went to the feed store, I saw it, so I figured I would try it out. Best decision ever. And even though I only had the quart size, it lasted me over a month. I have never had a fly spray last that long. So even though it’s a little on the expensive side ($24.02 on Amazon) it is worth it, because you will buy less fly spray.

It can be challenging to find though. My favorite places to buy horse stuff doesn’t typically carry it. However, Amazon has it in the quart size. And so does True Value. I was able to find it in a gallon size at Midland Hardware online, for $51.09 so that was where I bought it last time. This way I am ready for the summertime flies!

Buying it in the gallon size is the most economical way to buy it. Because I can get 4 regular size bottles out of the gallon, making the cost for a 32 ounce bottle of spray around $12.77. And then when you factor in the lasting time of the spray, it gets even more cost effective.

My Favorite Fly Products

The Best of the Best Fly Spray

If I spray this on my horses on Monday, and the weather stays clear, I will not need to spray them again until Wednesday. So the fly spray lasts a long time. And not only does it last, but it works. I mean, it really works!

And this fly spray is a little different than what you are probably using now. It is oil based.  Which will give your horse’s coat a nice glow. And you don’t need very much of it. A little bit goes a long way.  works! And it makes my horses look shiny too. Which is definitely a bonus – no need to use a shine spray if you use this.

Pyranha Zero-Bite Natural Insect Repellent Fly Spray 32 ounce bottle ($13.95)

Description from Riding Warehouse:

Mother Nature’s powerful natural fly fighter, the Pyranha Zero-Bite® Natural Insect Repellent Fly Spray combines the goodness of natural products including Geraniol, Clove and Peppermint, for a non-oily, non-greasy and non-toxic alternative to traditional fly sprays and wipes. With a pleasant natural fragrance, this effective formula repels stable flies, house flies, bot flies, horse flies, horn flies, ticks, deer flies, mosquitoes, fleas, face flies, gnats and lice!

Well, that sounds great, but does it really work? I put this fly spray to the test.

And the first thing I noticed when I smelled this spray was that it smells just like my homemade fly spray that I make myself. And it worked about the same. Not the best, and not the worst. The staying power was pretty good. I was able to get through a schooling session with Plezant with no head tossing or tail swishing from and flies.

But I think since it is so similar to what I can make myself, I will just make my own versus buying this one again. But if you don’t want to make your own fly spray, and want something that is all natural, this would be a good choice.

Farnam Endure Sweat-Resistant Continuous 360 15 ounce aerosol ($14.95)

Description from Riding Warehouse:

The Farnam Endure Sweat-Resistant Fly Spray provides a repelock conditioner, which provides up to 14 days of fly control – even in moist conditions! Featuring an insecticide, repellent and sun-screen formula; this fly spray continuously repels and kills horse flies, house flies, stable flies, face flies, horn flies, deer flies, mosquitoes, gnats, lice, ticks and deer ticks.

But how does it really work?

First off, the claim of 14 days of fly protection? From my experience no, it doesn’t last 14 days between applications. It does work, but it doesn’t last anywhere near 14 days. But that being said, it is an effective fly spray. And I really do like the aerosol spray.

Plezant didn’t seem to mind it either, which I was a little worried about. But even though this doesn’t last for 14 days, it is very effective against pests. And it stays on even if my horses sweat.

And while it does work really well, you don’t get a lot for your money. I sprayed my horses each, 3 times and used almost the entire bottle of spray. So for me, this is too expensive to buy, unless it goes on sale.

Farnam Equisect Fly Repellent Spray 32oz ($11.95)

Description from Riding Warehouse:

Protect your pets from annoying insects with Farnam’s Equisect Fly Repellent. This water-based, alcohol-free formula repels and kills horn, stable, house, horse and deer flies, mosquitoes, gnats, and controls lice. Containing PyGanic®, a botanical repellent organically derived from chrysanthemum flowers, to ensure your horse is provided a non-irritating, gentle formula to repel insects.

This is a new product to Riding Warehouse, and to me. This was my first experience using Equisect fly repellent. Again I like the fact that they use essential oils. I have had good results with making my own fly spray using essential oils.

It worked to keep the flies away, and it smelled good too. I was impressed with how it worked, and at $11.95, it was one of the most affordable sprays.

MannaPro Pro Force Fly Spray 32 oz ($14.99

Description from Riding Warehouse:

Horses, Ponies, and Foals: Kills and repels Stable Flies, Horn Flies, House Flies, Face Flies, Horse Flies, Deer Flies, Cluster Flies, Sciarid Flies, Mosquitoes including Culex species which may transmit West Nile Virus, Gnats, Midges, Punkies and No-See-Ums, Carpenter Bees, Moths including Almond, Chocolate, Tobacco, Indian Meal, Angoumois Grain, and other flying moths, Fleas, Ticks including Brown Dog, Lone Star, Deer, Other Ixodid Species, American Dog, and Gulf Coast, Chiggers and Lice.

For initial treatment, apply 1-2 ounces daily for 2 to 3 days. (As infestation subsides, repeat treatment every 7-14 days or as prescribed by a veterinarian). Also re-apply every time the animal is washed or exposed to heavy rain.

Used as a Wipe-On: Brush animal to remove excess dirt and dust. Moisten but do not wet to the point of dripping a soft cloth and rub over the hair. It is best to apply by rubbing against the hair growth. Give special attention to the legs, shoulders, shanks, neck and facial areas where flies most often are seen. Only a light application is required. Avoid using an excessive amount on your horses. Do not wet skin. After application, brush thoroughly to bring out bright sheen on the coat.

Phew! That’s a lot of information right? But that information is very helpful. Applying 1-2 ounces every day for 2-3 days, and then every 7-14 days makes sense of how to apply a fly spray, and hopefully it will continue to work.

So I put this fly spray to the test, and followed the instructions of the manufacture. But because I have so many fly sprays I am reviewing, it’s difficult for me to determine the length of effectiveness with this spray. Because both of my horses are getting lots of protection right now with all of the sprays!

But this spray seems to be just as effective as the others. Plezant was content while going for a walk when I used this spray. Oh, and as an added bonus, I really like the way this one smells. It did make a nice shiny coat for Plezant too.

Zephyr’s Garden Pure/Simple Fly Spray Concentrate 16 oz ($15.95)

Description from Riding Warehouse:

Zephyr’s Garden Pure & Simple Original Fly Spray Concentrated Refill offers an economical way to fill ‘er up! A natural, effective alternative to chemical sprays, specially formulated blend of essential oils, herbs and apple cider vinegar, this “summer spray” is not only effective as a fly repellent, but keeps your horse’s coat conditioned and glossy and smelling just as wonderful as the herbs that this spray is made from.

Ingredients: A blend of water, apple cider vinegar, organic aloe vera, wormwood, alcohol tinctures of lavender, chamomile, calendula, and arnica, citronella oil, eucalyptus oil, and pennyroyal oil.

Directions for Use: Pour entire refill concentrate into a 32 oz. spray bottle. Add water to fill and shake well. The Summer Spray is ready to use. For the body, spray liberally so entire coat is covered. Make sure to spray well on legs and underbelly. Use on a wet or dry horse. Can be sprayed directly onto fly sheets and all leg wraps. When applying to the head, face, and ears spray onto soft cloth or brush and apply carefully. Rinse thoroughly with water should any get into eyes.              

Ok, so I bought this because I thought I would be able to get at least 2 bottles of fly spray from the concentrate. But after reading the directions, this makes 1 32 ounce bottle of fly spray. So it isn’t any more affordable than a typical bottle of spray. But, that’s ok, because it’s all natural right?

And of all the sprays, this one smelled the worst. And it did work, but the staying power was not very long.

Farnam Bronco Gold Fly Spray & Coat Conditioner 32 oz ($13.95)

Description from Riding Warehouse:

Specially developed for use on horses, the Bronco® Gold Equine Fly Spray & Coat Conditioner offers a multifunctional formula that repels annoying flying insects and imparts a protective, lustrous sheen on the coat, mane, and tail.

The gentle, conditioning formula leaves a pleasant fragrance that continuously repels and kills stable flies, horn flies, house flies, face flies, horse flies, deer flies, mosquitoes and gnats! Bronco® Gold is the perfect two-in-one solution for summer grooming – spray on before brushing to keep your horse standing comfortably for a conditioning grooming session.

Now if I had to choose between Bronco regular (white bottle) and Bronco Gold (gold bottle) I would choose Bronco Gold. It does last longer than the original. As far as a coat conditioning spray? Well it’s hard to tell because my horses have been testing so many different sprays, and with all of the grooming they are getting, they look great!

But the Bronco Gold did do a fairly good job of protecting Plezant during his schooling session. The only down side was the spray really seemed to attract the dust. Even while we were just standing, it was like the dirt was attracted to my horse. But, it did make his coat really shiny.

Farnam Bronco Equine Fly Spray 32 ounces ($9.50)

Description from Riding Warehouse:

Fed up with pesky flies distracting you and your horse?  Try Bronco® Equine Fly Spray, an economical insect-repelling spray that is perfect for keeping flies at bay!  The gentle, water-based formula has a pleasant citronella scent that repels and kills stable, horse, face, deer, house, and horn flies.  You can say goodbye to mosquitoes, gnats, ticks, fleas, chiggers, and lice too!

I have used Bronco fly spray for years, as I’m sure you have too. Let’s face it, it’s cheap. Really cheap if you buy it by the gallon. A gallon of this spray costs just a little bit more than a 32 ounce size of some fly sprays. And while it does work a little bit, it is probably one of the least effective fly sprays I have used, and this test is no exception.

But when I run out of fly spray, and I run to the local ranch box store, they have it and it is affordable. A bottle of Bronco fly spray will only last me a few days though for both of my horses. I find I have to reapply it frequently and I can’t even get through a training session without having to reapply it.  

And having Pyrethrin & Permethrin included in the ingredients concerns me about applying and reapplying it frequently to my horses bodies. I mean, I’m sure some of the pesticide is absorbed through their skin right?

But overall, the original Bronco fly spray works, but I found it to be the least effective of all the fly sprays I tried. To make it work a little bit better, you can add in some essential oils like clove and peppermint. That’s what I like to do, to make it more effective against flies.

My Favorite Fly Spray

All right, so there you have it! My personal opinion of 8 different fly sprays, and how well they worked for me and my horses. And if I had to rate them in order of best protection to least protection, here is my order:

And in terms of cost and length of protection per application, they would rate this way:

And if I had to pick one overall best fly spray, the one I would select based on all of my judging criteria, I would choose…….

That’s right! You guessed it! Fiebings Formula 44 is still my favorite fly spray to use. I think it should come as no surprise. And some of the others did very well. But I think I will stick with the product that my farrier first recommended for me. Fly Spray 44 from Fiebings is the best of the best. And now I even have the test to prove it.

But I have to say the Pro-Force worked really well too, as did the Endure. But they were both more expensive than Fly Spray 44. So I would choose Fiebings first.

The Great Fly Spray Challenge

So there you have it! I wish I could afford to test every fly spray that’s available to us horse owners. But sadly, I don’t have the funds to make that happen. Do you have a favorite fly spray that is your first choice? What’s your best of the best fly spray? Have you ever done a fly spray challenge? What were your results? I would love to know! Leave a comment with your results, and favorites down below!


Lisa
Lisa

I am horse crazy and love DIY projects, and finding great deals on everything horse related. When I have a new idea, or find a great deal I love sharing this information with you.

    4 replies to "The Great Fly Spray Challenge"

    • Kimberly Smiley

      Thanks for doing this, every time I shop for fly sprays it takes me days to decide, so many different sizes, ingredient concentrations, prices, I usually just end up buying the cheapest because they all seem about the same.

    • Nicole

      Hi, where would you rank your diy fly spray compared to these store-bought ones?

      • Lisa

        Hi Nicole,
        I think I would rank my homemade fly spray about 5th. It works better than the Bronco original, Zephery’s Garden Pure, Manna Pro Pro Force, but about the same as Bronco Gold. One thing I do to switch up my homemade version is to mix up the essential oils. It seems that the flies get immune to the spray if I use the same one over and over again, so by switching up the scent of the fly spray seems to work to help keep them away, regardless of which spray I use.
        And now that I have all of these sprays that I bought, I can change up each time I apply fly spray and it seems to be working really well. My horses are pretty much fly free when I spray them! The flies haven’t been bad at all this year. I haven’t even had to use fly masks on them yet! And while I would like to think it is the fly spray I’m using, regardless of the brand, I think its because of the feed through supplement that is making the biggest difference. That along with the fly spray, and keeping the manure control going seems to be a great way to keep the pesky flies away.

    • Lucy

      My vet warned me that applying fly spray more often than the label specifies is harmful, and those 14 day sprays should indeed be applied every 14 days, not more often. Since getting this advise I have found no fly spray is satisfactory!

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