According to a Japanese study published in Plos One, painting your cattle can decrease the chances of them being bitten by flies by 50 percent. 

"This work provides an alternative to the use of conventional pesticides for mitigating biting fly attacks on livestock that improves animal welfare and human health, in addition to helping resolve the problem of pesticide resistance in the environment," the study said. 

The study took place over three days with a group of Japanese Black Cattle painted with zebra-like stripes, a group painted in black stripes only and a group with no stripes at all. 

The researchers tracked the number of bugs on each cattle with high-resolution cameras and also observed their behavior. 

"We found that painting zebra-like stripes on cows can decrease the incidence of biting flies landing on individuals by 50%," the study said. "We also found that the reduced landings of biting flies coincide with a reduction in defensive behaviors in cows."

It is believe that the stripes may confuse insect motion detection systems that control whether flies approach or land on the animal.