How about a Natural Alternative to ‘Beating the BOT’?

How about a Natural Alternative to ‘Beating the BOT’?

Smudge enjoying an Autumn evening

Autumn 2023

Bot flies have been a real problem for us this year.

They are repetitively harassing horses in our area, and my sensitive thoroughbred, Smudge, has been a prime candidate.

It’s an endless battle attempting to keep them away and he is spending many days stressfully galloping around our paddocks to avoid the relentless bot fly buzz.

Smudge is burning countless calories when he should be accumulating them as he enjoys his grass and hay in peace.

Thinking about the continual application of chemical fly repellents I am applying to Smudge’s legs during the warmer months concerns me.

Hair and skin absorb into the body whatever is applied to their surface plus breathing in these fumes daily can’t be all that good for either of us.

I expect his body would be working overtime to cleanse and release the chemical toxins from the insecticide sprays.

Many people recommend kerosene and/or a bot knife to kill and remove eggs but this can be difficult and time consuming.

Contemplating our options, Boyce and I came up with a plan to reduce the chemical ingestion while considering our environment and using natural, readily available ingredients, alleviating the cost of personal insect spray and ultimately, keeping our horses more comfortable.


From the outside – Boyce and I have created a simple solution of 2 cups NRG Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 cup vegetable oil and a couple of tablespoons of citronella essential oil.

This is shaken in a bottle with a tablespoon of gentle dish liquid (to emulsify).

We have been applying this to smudges legs from the hock down, using a spray bottle with great success.

The oil absorbs into the skin but also stays on the hair surface, making it slippery for the bots to lay their eggs.

The insects are also less inclined to hover around, thanks to the aroma of the NRG Apple Cider Vinegar and Citronella.

We have found it to be a cost-effective, quick and easy solution.


From the inside – Smudge is fed NRG Apple Cider Vinegar all year round, but this is the perfect time of the year to introduce NRG Garlic Apple Cider Vinegar.

The garlic may support his gut health and his overall immunity as the weather begins to cool down.

Garlic could also help with keeping bot flies and other insects away.

Our plan is simple, natural, time efficient, kind on the environment and cost-effective PLUS, it works for Smudge.

I can now enjoy seeing him happily graze in his paddock without a care in the world, until that terrifying butterfly, bird or tiger jumps out from the bush!!!!

Jodie Rouget

The NRG Team

The NRG Team Apple Cider Vinegar 5L

The NRG Team Garlic Apple Cider Vinegar 5L


4 thoughts on “How about a Natural Alternative to ‘Beating the BOT’?

  1. Julie

    How do you get your horse to drink the vinegar?

    Thank you

  2. Would tea tree oil work as an alternative to citronella?

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