A puuurfect way to shoo flies

By Susan Aielo • Published: March 4th, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

Does Fluffy love catnip? Well, stable flies hate it. These annoying pests spread disease and can worry cattle into weight loss and reduced milk production, costing farmers billions in annual losses.

Now, researchers have discovered that oil from the catnip plant is 99 percent effective at repelling stable flies in cattle feedlots.

Catnip is a perennial herb from the mint family, and it grows throughout North America. The oil in the leaves and stem contains the active ingredient that sends cats rolling — and insects fleeing.

Catnip oil is estimated to repel insects possibly 10 times better than DEET, the active agent in many commercial products designed as insect repellents. Along with stable flies, catnip repels mosquitoes, cockroaches and maybe even rodents.

With any luck, it could someday prove to be as much of a mainstay around the barn as your favorite mouser.