Catnip: Not Just for Cats AnymoreBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · March 30, 2011
Cats love it, but flies hate it! An article published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that catnip oil was 99% effective in repelling the bloodsucking stable flies that attack farm animals including horses and cows. The oil is known to repel many other insects including house flies, cockroaches, and mosquitoes.
Researchers tested the effect of spreading cattle feedlots with pellets made from soy, paraffin wax, and catnip oil. Flies left the feedlots within minutes after the pellets were spread and stayed away for about three hours. Similar pellets that did not contain catnip oil had no repellent effect. Though stable flies are mostly just annoying to horses, cattle bothered by the flies may produce less meat and milk, have lower reproductive rates, and may develop fatal diseases transmitted by fly bites. The article stated that the flies cause annual losses to the cattle industry of around $2 billion.