Painting 'Zebra Stripes' on Cows Wards Off Biting Flies

Flies are a pain. Best case they ruin a otherwise wonderful barbecue. Worst case, biting flies equates to roughly $2.2 billion in yearly economic losses for the U.S. cattle industry. Apparently “the irritating insects cause cows to graze less, eat less, sleep less, and also to bunch together into tightly clumped groups, which stresses the animals and leads to more injuries.” So, basically just like humans. This week a solution seemed to have been found. According to a new study published in PLoS ONE, ranchers should start painting their cows with zebra stripes. Doing so (at least in one study) showed a reduction of biting flies by over 50%. However, before you go painting yourselves black and white ahead of the next outdoor event, remember the study needs to be replicated on a much larger sample set. 6 cows isn’t nearly enough.


Want to receive more content like this in your inbox?