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  • Repel flies with zebra print

Repel flies with zebra print

Repel flies with zebra print

Can Zebra Print Repel Flies?

Annoying horseflies? Our striped zebra friends could hold the answer to this pestering problem.

Various studies around the world have proven that horseflies do not like zebra stripes and will steer clear of surfaces with this pattern.

Scientists have been researching the evolution of zebras striking black and white striped coat for over a century. The most common findings suggest it is to confuse predators, blind and deter biting insects, help regulate their body temperature, or even serve as unique identification, like a fingerprint.   

The research behind zebra stripes repelling flies has recently prompted numerous case studies around the globe, particularly within the equestrian industry. Could the bold animal print be the solution to protecting your horse from annoying flies?


The Science Behind The Stripes

A case study conducted from the University of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences used closeup video analysis on the behaviour of flies around both horses and zebras.  

The study discovered far less successful fly landings on the zebras, in comparison to the several fly landings on horses.

The second part of the experiment was designed to eliminate the possibility of any differences in horse vs zebra behaviour or smell, causing the flies to be attracted to one animal over the other. Zebras were removed from this part of the experiment, with just the horses wearing different coloured rugs. The horse rugs included plain black, plain white and zebra-striped. Those horses wearing the zebra rugs experienced fewer fly landings than those wearing block colours, supporting the theory that flies do not like zebra stripes.

The experiment concluded the stripe pattern is confusing and can overwhelm a fly’s low-resolution eyes, causing visual impairment and affecting their ability to land.

Another study conducted in Hungry by the Department of Biological Physics at Eotvos University in Budapest supports the notion that flies dislike zebra stripes.

This experiment involved four plastic horse models placed in a field, each model painted a different colour/pattern including black, brown, white and zebra-striped. The experiment ran over 59 days and only eight flight were caught on the zebra model, compared to 562 caught on the black horse, 334 on the brown and 22 on the white.

The statistics prove that a zebra-striped horse model attracts far fewer horseflies than either homogeneous black, brown, grey, or white equivalents.

Make The Most Of The Scientific Findings

There is no doubt that zebra stripes deter flies. Numerous experiments have proven it’s not a factor of a zebra’s smell or behaviour that deters flies but in fact the pattern of black and white stripes.  

Flies find zebra stripes extremely confusing and unappealing, causing them to steer clear of surfaces with this pattern.

So, if you struggle to keep annoying flies off your horse, give them the flick and introduce stripes!

Our Conrad Zebra Fly Mesh Horse Rug Comb is specially designed in a zebra pattern, scientifically proven to repel flies. Ideal for summer, this rug is made from cooling mesh to maximise airflow all while keeping nasty summer flies off your horse.

There really is so much more behind this stylish zebra print rug than simply making a bold fashion statement!

Shop here.