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Catnip Not Just For Cats
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Catnip Not Just For Cats

I have been researching natural ways to get rid of or at least repel those nasty irritating mosquitoes and other insects. The chemical repellents work, but get expensive after a while and truthfully aren't that good for your horse or environment. It doesn't take long to work up an area to plant this herb all over where your horse resides and you may even notice a change in attitude in your horse too. 

Studies find that catnip is 10 times more effective to repel mosquitoes than DEET. Imagine having several catnip plants around your barn alone and how much money you would save in the long run not to mention how happy your barn cats and horses would be!

It's an easy-to-grow perennial herb and you can use some of the dried leaves crushed or pulverized in a spray bottle with some water to spray on your horse. The best time for gathering above ground parts is just after it blooms usually between June and September. It's a low maintenance plant which is awesome for those of us who would rather be riding than gardening. It prefers chalky or gravel type conditions, but ultimately it will grow just about anywhere. It doesn't require much water and can be planted in full sun to partial shade, which I take to mean morning sun afternoon shade especially if you live in the southern United States where the humidity can get outrageously high in the summertime. 

It is thought that cats roll in it to repel fleas and other biting insects, which suggests it would be great to crush some of the leaves and wipe it on your horse. Maybe they'll just roll in it and save you that trouble too. lol! You can also give it to your horse for diarrhea, nervousness, excitement and tension. It's considered to be a sedative when taken orally, although if you've watched a cat roll and play in it you would think otherwise. lol! 

It attracts good insects and repels the bad ones. Catnip oil can repel cockroaches and according to research it effects the central nervous system and reproductive system in some insects. Which is great news right? If they can't reproduce all the more better to plant Catnip! 

As soon as I am able "fund wise", I plan on planting it all over my yard, front and back. Ok maybe not "all" over, though I do plan on planting quite a bit in the back around Cookie's paddock. Any help with mosquitoes and flies that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and that is SAFE for her to be around in my books is well worth the effort to get it planted. An added plus for the neighborhood bobbed tail cat who hangs around also. Maybe she'll knock down some of the mockingbird population too as they are eating most of my fruit before it's even ready to be picked. 

Also an update on Cookie. I chatted with a gal who knew the guy we had gotten Cookie from and according to her best recollection Cookie was in with a stud just before we went to get her. So, if that's the case we still have at least 3-4 months yet to go "if" she is bred before we see any real evidence of it. I'm not ruling out that she may be bred because of the odd shaped belly she sometimes has. Currently she has been home since mid October of 2012. She is at least 7 months, give or take. So I'm going to relax about it, keep blogging about her and see where we are in late summer. :) 

 

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  1. autumnap
    autumnap
    Voted. I've not heard of catnip as a repellant but I'm all for natural over chemical treatments. DEET can be quite inflammatory in some horses too. My poor gelding ended up with a sheath like a cow's udder after I sprayed a fly repellant with DEET content in the vicinity of his gentleman's bits! Citronella oil dilited with water is quite effective too but I've never found anything that works for long. x
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    1. Rene Wright
      Rene Wright
      Oh yikes! :( Poor guy! I have tried a mixture of vinegar, water and soap, but it only lasts until it dries. So I figured catnip is safe for horses and it should grow really well all around her paddock so I'll give it a try. Even the fly sprays for horses don't work around here. I just couldn't see myself throwing away that much money on something that isn't working.
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      1. pinman
        You say it is beneficial taken internally too, does this mean horses like to eat it. If so will I have to just plant it outside the fence to keep them away from it. I'd like to try this. Right now my horses get Bugs Off garlic granules and this works pretty well, also keeps flies from breeding in the manure. I still have to spray them some, especially when taking them away from home. I tried the vinegar too, in their food and in a spray, didn't have really noticeable results.
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        1. Rene Wright
          Rene Wright
          Yes they can eat it. Often a horse will only eat the "good" stuff and leave the bad stuff alone. I haven't tried garlic yet, but I'm willing to try anything at this point, aside from chemical stuff. The vinegar in the water didn't prove to be a help nor the spray I made. She just smelled like a pickle. lol!
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  2. PonyGirl
    PonyGirl
    Interesting. I'm going to have to try catnip as well. I have chemical allergies, and most fly sprays bother me. Plus none of them seem to offer protection for any length of time. I'll give this a try. Even if it doesn't work that well for me, the cat will be happy. :D
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    1. Rene Wright
      Rene Wright
      I have heard of quite a few people having chemical allergies. Which should tell the folks making the fly sprays that horses can be allergic to some of the stuff they put into their sprays. I'm certainly willing to try it. I mean between catnip and lemon grass, something should stay away. LOL!
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  3. PonyGirl
    PonyGirl
    Oh, I forgot to mention- feeding garlic to my horses does seem to help some with biting insects.
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    1. Rene Wright
      Rene Wright
      I have thought about using garlic feed through, but to be honest it doesn't work for me so I can't imagine it would work for Cookie. I am trying vinegar in her water too, but I don't think she'll take a liking to it. Before I got her trough completely filled she wiggled her lips in it and turned up her nose. lol So I may have to dump it out and just give her fresh water. It did a great job cleaning the trough though.
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  4. horsesafety
    Would like to know how this experiment turned out. Did the planted catnip work as a repellent? Do the horses try to eat it and if ingested has it been safe for them? How much area around the barn is under catnip? Thanks in advance.
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