Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Parasite War

One Hot Pig prepares for her mud bath.
The best parasite deterrent of them all


 A couple of weeks ago while in Michigan we noticed an extraordinary amount of ticks and mosquitoes. Even the locals said it was far more than normal.

Back home. Same thing. Not as many ticks as in Michigan but still far more than we've seen in other years. In addition the flies seem to be having a riot with their obsessive breeding, swarming, buzzing. Lice has been noted on some of the livestock, as well as fly bots (eggs) especially on horse legs and behind pig ears. Even flooding their pens with the first mud holes of the season did not see to help much. Therefore...

This means war.

Due to our organic certification we are prohibited against any DEET type chemicals or other synthetic parasite control. So we gather up our own supplies and make our own deterrent.   It's always a challenge.

The pig ears were the worst last week, flies had been biting them, drawing blood, leaving scabs etc. I did my research and gathered together my organic coconut oil and the approved Essential Oils and concocted me own brew. It's very complicated. Pay attention,

16 oz water
1/4 oz each of Cedar wood. Peppermint. Rosemary, Lemongrass, and Tea Tree essential oils

Shaking it well, I did what all goofball farmers do....I tested it on myself. Sprayed my extremities and my clothes and went to the garden, in the evening, for some weeding. The night before I had gotten chewed up by several winged creatures, at one point I swear a bat was gnawing on my ear, but after spraying my home brew on me the next night, I was not bothered.

I did however, smell like the inside of a tennis shoe recently used as a makeshift bong, but the odor kept away the critters and for that I was grateful. Next I tested it on my horse Ennis, our three young calves and Mad Max our Red Wattle boar who seemed to have the most fly bites on his ears.

I mean what's the point of having animals if you don't use them for scientific testing? (Just one more reason PETA never returns my phone calls)

My spray worked well for a few hours but needed to be reapplied a couple times that day but by the next am Mad Max's ears had stopped bleeding and there was only a couple flies buzzing around instead of the mob action he had the day before.

The calves backs had small redden areas where they too had been frequently fly bit so I went back to the food processor and beat the living fluff out of 8 oz of Organic Coconut Oil. My water based spray wasn't going to last long enough I suspected. I then added 1/8 teaspoon of the above essential oils (listed in paragraph 6). I needed an applicator so created one from burlap strip and a wooden skewer and went to work applying salve to the critters with serious bite marks.


Good Witch Glenda and her wand...sort of.


4 hours later checked and NO FLIES on those areas of salve. I reapplied for good measure and went to bed. The next day the sores were well on their way to healing and I swear Mad Max's facial wrinkles have decreased as well.


  1. May have to try that out with the goats. They are pestered mercilessly with biting flies when I have them out on leads and instead of grazing, the whole point of them being out on leads, they just run around like nutjobs trying to avoid the flies.

    Thanks for the recipe (and for being the guinea pig)!

  2. The TICKS have been very bad here too. How about some crushed raw garlic in there; it seems to work for humans against mosquitoes, maybe it help the pigs.

  3. CRO great idea. I use the garlic for internal parasites but did not think about it for the external ones. Once again you are brilliant

  4. I'm willing to try this on me. It seems as soon as i step foot outside, one mosquito sends the message, and i have seemingly armies of them arrive for some feasting.

    I have some spray stuff that's probably toxic and which i rarely use, since my youngest cat often rubs up against me and the eldest one likes to lick me. I'd rather use stuff that won't hurt them.

  5. Megan, give it a try. I'm also playing with an oil based spray (using fractionated coconut oil) to make it stay on my skin longer.