This Zebra Trick Might Be Better than Bug Spray

Ever wonder why zebras have stripes? It’s an age-old question, and we may finally have the answer… and it’s fascinating! According to recent research, it doesn’t seem like zebras evolved their stripes for camouflage or fashion. Their primary function may be for pest control.

Pest control? Yep, those stripes have a natural protective effect from biting bugs. A recent study published in PLOS One suggests that zebra stripes evolved to protect them from the harassment of horseflies… and it might also help humans, too.

Flies On Horse Face

It all started when researchers noticed that most striped equine animals live in areas of the world where swarms of biting horse flies are the norm. These flies aren’t just irritating. Many actually also carry deadly diseases. Developing a natural way to ward off these pests would be a significant evolutionary advantage. So they set out to a horse ranch with both horses and zebras during peak fly season to see if stripes gave zebras an evolutionary advantage against the bloodthirsty pests.

As you’d expect, the horses had lots and lots of flies hovering around and biting on them. They were getting ravaged. But oddly, the flies hovering around the zebras sort of just bumped into them and bounced off, as if they couldn’t even see the zebras. The zebras were getting significantly fewer bites.

Next, researchers put striped coats over the horses’ bodies and were astounded to notice that, although they were still getting bitten on uncovered areas, the striped areas remained nearly bite-free. The stripes seemed to be confusing the flies and warding them off!

Zebra Face Black and White

So does this mean you should dig out your safari-inspired garb and rock zebra stripes all summer? Honestly, it might be an effective option, although there is absolutely no research yet to back that up.

When it comes to fighting off flies and mosquitos, conventional bug sprays are just plain toxic. Seriously, do you really want to be spraying DEET all over your body? But natural bug sprays are expensive, often don’t work well or wear off rapidly (although there are definitely some decent ones out there). If dressing like a zebra can help you enjoy your summer bbqs a bit more, why not?! Try it out for yourself, and let us know if it works for you!

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95 comments

Thomas M
Thomas M7 days ago

Thank you

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Leo C
Leo C15 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Marija M
Marija M16 days ago

tks

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Sam E M
Sam E M17 days ago

Fascinating! Roll on Summer so we can try this out. Thanks for posting.

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Leo C
Leo C19 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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danii p
danii p21 days ago

TYFS

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Leo C
Leo C25 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Paulo R
Paulo R26 days ago

ty

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Michael F

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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danii p
danii p26 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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