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Can Garlic Help Repel Flies and Other Biting Insects?

Can Garlic Help Repel Flies and Other Biting Insects?
July 30, 2020 4014 view(s)
Can Garlic Help Repel Flies and Other Biting Insects?

Flies, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other pests often plague our farms and yards from the spring into the fall. If you’re like us and avoid chemical deterrents, the war against pests can feel daunting at times. Fortunately, there are diet strategies that can help protect our animals from insect invasions. One of the easiest strategies is garlic.

Feed Through to Shoo!

Vampires aren’t the only ones who run from garlic—many biting insects do, too! It’s been suggested for years that garlic helps deter flies and mosquitoes. When used as a feed-through strategy, garlic creates an odor in an animal’s sweat that presents an offensive barrier to biting insects. The oil of garlic can also be used as a topical strategy, but it can be overwhelming for some animals (and their handlers!).

The Power of Garlic Doesn’t Stop There.

While much of the evidence is anecdotal, there is widespread support for using garlic to repel biting insects, as well as promote general gut and respiratory health in horses and other livestock. 

In the gastrointestinal tract, garlic’s inulin content provides a functional fiber (a non-digestible carbohydrate), which acts as a prebiotic to promote beneficial bacteria in the gut. Garlic also has antimicrobial effects that can prove beneficial in animal health and management. An active principle in garlic called allicin can have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiparasitic properties. For instance, one study found that garlic powder decreased fecal egg count in lambs that were infected with gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs) and therefore increased their growth performance. As scientific evidence continues to grow in support of garlic as a feed-through repellant, we look forward to continuing the spread of anecdotal garlic love. 

Some Products Offer Garlic with Vitamins and Minerals, Too!

New Country Organics both makes and distributes several products that contain garlic: Healthy Minerals for Cattle, Goats, and Horses; our specific minerals for horses, goats, and sheep; our Flock Perfect Healthy Herbs; Redmond 10 Fine with Garlic; and the Redmond Natural Salt Block with Garlic

As with any supplement, there can be cases in which animals have adverse reactions. Carefully read all labels and consult with your veterinarian if you think there could be any risks associated with feeding your livestock garlic.

We are here for you!

Want to learn more about feeding garlic to your livestock? Give our experts a call at 888-699-7088 today!


Ankri, S., Mirelman, D. (1999). Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic. Microbes and Infection, 1(2), 125-129. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1286-4579(99)80003-3

Hayes, K. (2019, July 3). The great debate: feeding garlic to horses. Horse & Rider. https://horseandrider.com/horse-health-care/garlic-for-horses

Lynn, J. (2006). Anthelmintic Herbs for the Health of Your Horse. Earth Song Ranch. https://www.earthsongranch.com/resources/Anthelmmtic%20Herbs1.pdf

Saastamoinen, M., Sarkijarvi, S., & Hyyppa, S. (2019). Garlic (allium sativum) supplementation improves respiratory health but has increased risk of lower hematologic values in horses. Animals, 9(1), 13. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010013

Thunes, C. (2017, May 8). Should I feed my horse garlic to repel insects? The Horse. https://thehorse.com/110261/should-i-feed-my-horse-garlic-to-repel-insects/

Zhong, R., Xiang, H., Cheng, L., Zhao, C., Wang, F., Zhao, X., & Fang, Y. (2019). Effects of feeding garlic powder on growth performance, rumen fermentation, and the health status of lambs infected by gastrointestinal nematodes. Animals, 9(3), 102. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030102

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