Eric Paulsen

Eric Paulsen

I wanted to be in radio since I was four - and four decades later I still haven't grown out of it...Full Bio


SCIENCE: Painting cows like zebras could save them from insect bites

A lot of people say zebras like striped horses, but those stripes aren't just distinctive; they seem to come in handy to avoid insect bites.

A study recently published in PLOS ONE titled "Cows painted with zebra-like striping can avoid biting fly attack" ran some experiments and found that stripes of certain widths can help livestock, including cows, avoid getting to many horsefly, mosquito, and other bug bites. Such bites are not only annoying and uncomfortable, but run the risk of spreading diseases.

The study noted, "Research further shows that biting flies eschew landing on white, striped, and spotted surfaces. Stripes narrower than a critical width (approximately 5 cm) and spots smaller than a threshold size (diameter approximately 10 cm) effectively prevent biting flies from landing and these surfaces attract fewer biting flies than white surfaces."

It also noted that painting black and white stripes on cows, in the course of reducing these insect and other bites naturally, would be beneficial to the environment: "This may be an alternative environmentally friendly practical method of controlling biting flies without the use of pesticides in animal production."

Just use environmentally-friendly paint, I guess.

Supposedly this can extend to humans too, so wear stripes! A lot of fashion people suggest vertical.

Stripe away!

Photo credits: Getty Images for regular cow, PLOS ONE for striped cow (

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