One of the home remedy (and now commercial) uses for marigolds is that is makes a pretty effective spray to repel flies, horse flies, tomato hornworms, leaf-cutting insects and asparagus beetles. There is a natural commercial version that uses marigold as a fly spray for dogs and horses.
We live in an area with quite a few horse farms, and they are always dealing with that issue, especially on very hot days. No toxic chemicals here to make you or your animals sick.
Thanks to my dear next door neighbor Marie, I was able to forage French marigolds from her shade-dappled flower garden. I had forgotten to plant the seeds this spring, and she was happy to share. Everyone thought these bright orange beauties made the house smell quite interesting.
Marigold’s have a distinct fragrance which may be part of the fly deterrent. It didn’t smell objectionable but – very green!
Marigold Insect and Fly Spray Recipe:
- Simply collect a cup (packed tightly) of marigold leaves, stems, and flowers, and
- Put them into a blender with 2 cups of water
- Cover and blend on high speed
(Note: I used too many flowers ~ more stems is better.)
Pour the fly spray into a glass jar for 24 -48 hours, capped tightly, and allow the natural chemical compounds in the marigold to be drawn out into the water. When you walk by it, shake it once or twice. Easy as that!
Once done, strain out the pulp using a rag or cheesecloth; then squeeze it to get the last drop from the pulp. Add 6 cups water, 1/4 tsp. of Castile soap (this makes it stick to the leaves of your plant), and spray on the plants that are being attacked. Store it in the fridge.
Now wage war on tomato hornworms and flies!
Note: if you apply the spray on horses or cattle, you might want to leave out the Castile soap.
Using Marigold Fly Spray on Dogs and Horses
Marigold fly spray will also work gently on the tender nose and ears of your cat or dog.
Since you are so close to their eyes, use a saturated paper towel wipe, applying the fly spray where they are vulnerable so they won’t get bitten by flies or horse flies on very hot days.
We almost lost our sweet-natured apple-faced Siamese cat Goodness (above) to a horsefly bite. The horsefly had laid an egg deep in the tissue on the bridge of his nose. That egg developed into a larvae which burrowed deep almost to the sinuses. It was HORRIBLE! I remember the night my husband almost had to put him down because Goodness was writhing in pain… well, I said almost…and that’s another story. We did save Goodness’s life bc the nurse in me took mercy on him and dug the wriggling larvae out to heal the wound!
We began using marigold fly spray on our pets and on Goodness, and he lived to a ripe old age!
Also on Anna our faithful guardian Great Pyrenees and her puppies!
Concerned about use on Cats?
Note: While the marigold spray didn’t harm our cat, Goodness, I did see this from a reader: “The compound in marigolds that repels and kills insects is permethrin. I have read this natural chemical can be toxic to cats. You should check this out with your vet. It is safe for people, dogs and horses.” So check with your vet!”
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These beautiful little flowers can be quite useful! Interesting post.
I love that flower photo, the color is so nice!
I jut want to say big thank you for your lovely comment on my blog 🙂
wow, i didn’t know this about marigold. my aunt has lots of marigold in her garden, i will tell her. thanks for sharing.
the top photo is beautiful.
Aha!! I have many marigold this year and it wards off deers at my flower garden. The flies I do want to get rid of and would try this one… thanks so much!!
Pretty and useful.
Hope you’d find time to visit me here.
Thanks for sharing this process on marigolds, I like using natural products anytime I can and this one’s easy for my girls to make!
Oh my gosh your poor cat, glad he survived that horrible episode and lived a good long life. Found your photos lovely, thanks for sharing such an interesting post.
Wow, I never thought marigold can be very useful, thanks for the info. Visiting you from BLUE MONDAY. I hope you can visit my entry as well too. Thanks!
Very informative post. Pretty flowers too. I will have to pass the info on to my dh who is the big gardener in this family. Happy Blue Monday.
Mary at Sweetwater Style
I never planted any marigolds this summer and now I am really bummed….I too am going to canvas the neighborhood. My brother is an expert in Permaculture….I bet I can tell HIM something he didn’t know…yuck yuck! Thanks for a great post.
I learn something new every day; thank you!
I am jealous of anyone with flowers, as our 100 degree temps and no water have made everything brown. It is getting sad. Thank you for a splash of color.
Just curious – why did you mention that you might not want to add the castile soap if used on animals? I use a commercial marigold rehydrating spray ($$) on my animals and am looking for a homemade alternative. I think the soap may be good for the animals coats, no? I will have to research. 🙂 Great blog!
Hi, Lisa! I went back to read why, and I think I wasn’t worried about using the Castile soap because it was harmful, but because it would make the pet sticky or soapy or get into eyes 🙂 We use it on our food and bodies. I am confident that it is not harmful for people or pets.
Marigolds are so pretty but I had no idea you could make a spray out of them. For some reason slugs always seemed to go for our marigolds. On the up side, they pretty much left the other plants alone, lol!
I’m not really sure what a horse fly is but I assume they’re big. I’ll have to google them, they sound gross! So glad your kitty is fine!
Thanks so much for linking up to the “Making Your Home Sing Monday!”
can u use this on yourself
on a human skin to avoid flies or other pests?
Yes, you could, but maybe without the Castile soap. I’d just spray it on my cuffs, pant legs, and areas away from my face, though. It is not toxic to humans, but satisfy yourself by Googling marigold toxicity and see if anything is noteworthy. Blessings!
Have you tried this mixture to be used in mosquitoes?
Just curious because I was looking for material about natural mosquito repellent for this >> Tanaman Pengusir Nyamuk
I have not had personal experience with it for mosquitoes, but it works great for flies and other flying insects. What I use routinely for mosquitoes is Vinegar of the Four Thieves: https://deeprootsathome.com/vinegar-of-the-four-thieves-recipe/
You will smell a bit like a salad, but it is pretty effective if you use it regularly.
I also purchase a product that isn’t as natural, but works well, too: http://amzn.to/1OCY0Kf
Blessings to you in the Lord!
Will this get rid of mosquitos? My garden is full of them and it’s making it difficult for me to even water when needed. I put repellent on me but they will find any spot I missed!
Is there a way to preserve the marigold mixture for the next year?? I have a lot of insects eating my leaves, but I don’t want to kill my marigolds just yet, as my season is almost over here in Wisconsin, but I can surely put the greens to use right before my frost….IF I can figure out how to preserve it for next year??
Diane, I am pretty sure that you will not be able to preserve it with just water. You could, however, make it with vodka and it will keep for a very long time…from year to year.
Thank you for the reply and idea. So if I did use vodka, would I then dilute it next year?? as wouldn’t the vodka burn the plants if not diluted??
Hi, Diane! Yes, it would burn plants!!! Eek!!
I am sorry – for the vodka, I was thinking for pets (still be careful with their eyes!) ~J
The compound in marigolds that repels and kills insects is permethrin. I have read this natural chemical can be toxic to cats. You should check this out. with your vet. It is safe for people, dogs and horses.
Esther, thank you for this insight! I think that is so important and will add to the post!
Good for cat owners to know!