STUDY: Painting Zebra Stripes on Cows Cuts Biting Fly Attacks in Half

Zebra stripes confuse biting insects so they don’t know where to land, researchers discover

Scientists have long hypothesized that one of the reasons zebra’s evolved stripes is to deter biting insects.

Now Japanese researchers have proven that stripes do have this effect… not only on zebras, but on cow’s too!

A team of scientists from Kyoto University painted black cows with white stripes and found it reduced the number of biting flies on the animals by more than half. (Study)

Apparently the black and white stripes confuse the insects so they don’t know where to land.

They tried painting black cows with black stripes too, to make sure it wasn’t just the water-based spray paint deterring them. It wasn’t the paint. It was the color pattern. The flies attacked the black painted cows just as much as the naturally black cows.

Cows protected by white stripes were also less stressed, exhibiting less head shaking, foot stomping, tail flicking and other insect-repelling behavior.

The scientists said the simple solution of painting stripes on cows could save the beef and dairy industry billions of dollars per year on pesticides, not to mention the environmental benefits of eliminating those chemicals.