Bunny safe bug spray?

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Well-Known Member
Jul 19, 2011
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Pocatello, Idaho, USA
So all 3 of our rabbits are outdoor rabbits, and they use the bathroom a lot.... so there's gnats all over in their cages.

There's that, plus the fact that their outdoors in our wood shed/ dog kennel, so there are lots of creepy crawlies.

Mom and I have been trying to find a bug spray that's safe for the bunnies, but I'd like to know if there's a bug spray or something we can make at home that we can use to help them.

Pyrethrins are made from natural ingredients, but long term constant use has shown to cause side-effects (it works by paralyzing bugs). If you're just using it during the summer, you should be okay (the cases I saw were using them as aerosols year round in Florida).

Pyrethrins use some sort of ingredient from pyrethrum daisies (pink or red petals with yellow middles). I'll see if I can't find the instructions for extracting it and using it.
Here's what I found:

How to Make: If you grow your own pyrethrum daisies, you’ll have the main ingredient for a make-it-yourself spray. The concentration of pyrethrums is at its peak when the flowers are in full bloom, from the time the first row of florets open on the central disk opens too the time all the florets are open. pick flowers in full bloom and hang them in a sheltered, dark spot to dry. Once the flowers have dried thoroughly, grind them to afine powder, using a mortar and pestle, old blender or small hammer mill. Mix with water and add a few drops of liquid soap. Store in a glass jar and keep the lid tightly closed, because the mixture looses activity if left open. You’ll have to experiment with the amount of water to add, because the concentration of pyrethins in the flowers is an unknown variable. If the spray you make does not seem to kill insects, but instead only repels them, use less water the next time you make the concentrated spray. Also keep in mind whole flower heads stay potent longer so do not grind until ready to use.

How to Use: Pyrethrins are more effective at lower temperatures, so for best results, apply in early evening when temperatures are lower. Spray wherever you expect the bugs will be, because spray must directly contact the insects such as thrips that hide in leaf sheaths and crevices. The first spray will excite them and bring them out of hiding, the second will kill them. Never use pyrethrin products around waterways and ponds, because they are deadly to fish (although they are harmless to mammals).
For something quicker, I found an article on mixing essential oils:

Gnats - Spearmint Essential Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, Geranium Essential Oil, or Eucalyptus globulus Essential Oil

Flies/Horseflies -
• Purification Essential Oil (citronella, tea tree, lemongrass, rosemary, myrtle and lavandin [lavender?]) and Idaho Tansy Essential Oil together

several drops of the oils in with some distilled water. Place it in a glass spray bottle; and shake and spray away!
We have gnats, that's the most important one. I'll have to go to the store and look fro some stuff and try to find some of these Daisy's. I just don't want the gnats laying eggs on my bunnies and getting into their ears!

We have 4-H bunnies and the fair is next month, so we are trying to spruce them up and stuff. : )
A great safe and easy recipe for natural insect repellent is:

• 1 garlic clove, chopped
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
• 1 Quart water
• 1 Tablespoon liquid Ivory soap

Mix all of the first four ingredients and let sit for one hour.
Strain mixture.
Then add the liquid Ivory soap right before you are going to use it in the sprayer.

This is good for a wide variety of bugs....especially in the garden.

However,some of my buns HATE the smell of onions/garlicso I'll just use an Ivory soap and water solution around their housing.

Insect netting plus non chemical sticky fly papers for any that make it through, are the safest option.

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