Tokyo / Japanese researchers have found a sustainable remedy, based on brush and paint, which confuses flies and minimizes to half the bites that these flying insects on cows, affecting their behaviour and generating an economic cost to rancher. The remedy also works for horses.
The researchers say they have managed to reduce, by up to 50%, the number of fly bites on cows, painting them only with black and white stripes similar to a zebra.
The costume is effective as long as the stripes do not exceed five centimetres and has been thought to reduce the use of pesticides.
This team of scientists from the agricultural research centre of Aichi and the University of Kyoto, led by Tomoki Kojima, explains in a study, published in Asahi newspaper, that it is an option to solve “the problem of resistance to pesticides in the environment”.
White stripes on black spines
Japanese scientists experimented on six pregnant cows of natural black colour, with an approximate individual weight of 480 kilograms, and painted them with white stripes, in contrast to their natural colour, imitating the stripes of a zebra; or with black lines, which were barely noticeable.
The flies bit the cows almost half the time when they were painted as zebras, while there were no significant differences between when they were not coloured or when they were blackened with black stripes.
Flies attracted to the surface of cows over short distances are confused and puzzled by the colour changes of the stripes and choose not to perch on the skin of cattle, according to this research.
Fly bites hurt
The authors emphasize that the bites of the flies cause economic losses by affecting the behaviour of cattle and remember that there are already several studies in the same line.
According to the study, cows painted as zebras had to do fewer behaviours to repel flies, such as tail movements, head turns or strong footsteps.
The researchers state, finally, that the effectiveness of the stripes occurs if they are equal to or less than five centimetres wide, for which it took about five minutes to paint each head of cattle, and they suggest that this method could also be used in horses. (November 22, 2019, EFE/Practica Español)
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