An experiment on a herd of cows in central Japan appears to have proven a radical, nature-inspired solution to a pest problem plaguing farmers.
Apparently, it could solve the age-old problem of fly attacks on livestock, and bring economic and environmental benefits.
Biting flies are serious pests, causing economic losses in animal production. But a new study by Japanese researchers and published in PLOS One found that black cows painted with zebra stripes are nearly 50% less likely to suffer from the bites.
Researchers used six Japanese Black cows with different paint designs in the study.
The treatments were black-and-white painted stripes, black painted stripes, and no stripes (all-black body surface).
The numbers of biting flies on the cows painted with black-and-white stripes were significantly lower than those on non-painted cows and cows painted only with black stripes.