Horseflies!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
9 replies 1.2K views
rhiwfieldrhiwfield Forumite
2.5K Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
How do I beat them?

I love gardening but over the last 3 years I've developed an allergy to these silent bloodsuckers aka clegs that are on the wing from June to late August

Once bitten (and they use their jaws to slice skin!) my arm, face or whatever's been bitten starts to ache intensely and then swells hugely, reddens and stays very hot/painful for up to 48 hours. Its that bad that if bitten on the hand it will be unusable for at least a day.

So what can I do to prevent them or stop the reaction? I use an anti allergen if bitten but that has no obvious effect. They can bite thru light clothing so I wear a medium weight cotton jacket and gardening gloves with insect repellent although I'd prefer a less chemical protection. Trouble is they are attracted by perspiration so even weeding becomes risky and they find any chink of exposed skin :mad:

The only thing that half works is After-bite ( a weak ammonia solution) that acts as a counter irritant. If used quickly enough it sometimes prevents the allergic reaction taking hold.

Any ideas welcomed.

Replies

  • Suzy_MSuzy_M Forumite
    777 Posts
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    Oh the lovely cleggies! Still got scars from childhood from the particularly voracious Scottish beggars.

    Have you tried horse and rider stockists?

    Or

    Any of the traditional midge repellants likely to work - garlic supplements, vitamin B, teaspoon Marmite a day (yeuk), Avon Skin So Soft Dry Oil Body Spray (yes it does work - just leaves you greasy)
  • Thanks, Suzy M, some interesting ideas there, now to develop a taste for marmite!
  • Miss_BehavingMiss_Behaving Forumite
    354 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭
    Anything with oil of citronella in it should help - I used to own a horse and used citroella oil neat on my riding hat to combat horseflies and insects. As Suzy M says, any good tack shop will sell insect repellants (gels and aerosoles) and many of these are suitable for use on humans.
    It's better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.
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  • hmmm...I also have a horse and pony and I know that horseflies are a real pain for them and us humans...I used to buy my citronella based repellant from a local tack shop (about £9 a bottle) but understand that they aren't allowed to sell it anymore?. I do have a home-made recipe I could look up for you if you'd like? I spray it on the horses, tack myself, the kids, our clothes...basically everywhere it's needed!! (I even use it on the curtains to stop them coming in the house!!) It does need a few aromatherapy oils (which I buy from ebay)..the recipe is fairly flexible if there's something you can't get hold of or don't like the smell of...
    *searches her laptop for the recipe.....*
  • rhiwfieldrhiwfield Forumite
    2.5K Posts
    hmmm...I also have a horse and pony and I know that horseflies are a real pain for them and us humans...I used to buy my citronella based repellant from a local tack shop (about £9 a bottle) but understand that they aren't allowed to sell it anymore?. I do have a home-made recipe I could look up for you if you'd like? I spray it on the horses, tack myself, the kids, our clothes...basically everywhere it's needed!! (I even use it on the curtains to stop them coming in the house!!) It does need a few aromatherapy oils (which I buy from ebay)..the recipe is fairly flexible if there's something you can't get hold of or don't like the smell of...
    *searches her laptop for the recipe.....*

    Fisher lily, please post the recipe, if it works on the horses it might just work on me :)
  • Here's the recipe I have used for years. Like I said it's quite flexible if you don't like 1 oil substitue another one...the first 5 are the most effective though...I find that 2 x 1 litre bottles will last me all summer so it's actually cheaper than the shop bought stuff too! :T

    [FONT=&quot]Natural Fly Repellant[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]5 caps of dettol - from a 500ml size bottle

    250 ml of Avon Skin so Soft and fresh - 500 ml bath oil. This can be halved if flies are not too bad. I usually buy this in when it’s on offer.

    1 teaspoon of citronella oil - can go up to 1 ½ if flies are bad.
    1 teaspoon of eucalyptus oil
    1 teaspoon of lavender oil
    1 teaspoon of tea tree oil
    1 teaspoon cedarwood oil

    Decant into a 1 litre spray bottle, topping up to 1 litre with either water or cold black (or green) tea. Shake well before spraying and give a quick shake after every few squirts to make sure the oil is mixed with the water.

    Spray on twice a day using enough to leave a fine mist on the coat. Fine to use round sensitive areas (ears, sheaths etc). I liberally spray their fly fringes/hoods (off the animal of course) for extra help during the day![/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]I also use Geranium, Patchouli, Peppermint, Sandalwood and sweet orange oils.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Tea tree, Chamomile and Ylang ylang can be used on any insect bites.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]I would always suggest a skin test for the animal first..Although I have never had a problem (with animal or humans) it’s better to be safe than sorry! [/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
  • ps...I have friends who use this recipe on their pedigree dogs and they swear by it! Good Luck x
  • nesssie1702nesssie1702 Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    ✭✭✭
    Rhiwfield - you have my sympathy, I have a similar allergic reaction to you, it's not nice at all :(

    Clegs are nasty nasty creatures, second only to the wasp I think!

    Have you thought about wearing a midge net/hat or using a natural remedy containing bog myrtle?
  • rhiwfieldrhiwfield Forumite
    2.5K Posts
    Thanks Nesssie,

    I'll pass on the midge net, but the bog myrtle sounds good. I'd never heard of the plant but see its common in Scotland in acidic areas. Totally Herby sell it as a midge repellent so I'll try that as well :)

    http://www.stopbite.com/

    Rhiwfield
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