first_img Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferNASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This Weekend Stay on target Repellents might keep blood-sucking bugs away, but research just revealed an innovative insect bite protection strategy: body painting.A study led by Hungarian and Swedish researchers found that white, painted stripes on bodies might protect the skin from bug bites, said a Lund University press release. The study, which was published in Royal Society Open Science on Wednesday, demonstrated that this ancient technique, which is used by indigenous tribes worldwide, could also offer protection from insect-borne diseases.Susanne Åkesson, a Lund University Professor and one of the study’s scientists, said body painting could have developed at the same time on different continents, but it’s unknown where the tradition started.A boy from the Karo tribe poses for a photo in front of the Omo river in Ethiopia’s southern Omo Valley region.(Photo Credit: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)“Body painting began long before humans started to wear clothes. There are archaeological finds that include markings on the walls of caves where Neanderthals lived,” Åkesson said in the press release. “They suggest that they had been body painted with earth pigments such as ochre.”Animals, such as zebras, have stripes that protect them from insect bites. The team decided to step up their research and explore if body painting might yield the same effect for humans.The body painted plastic models in the experiment. (Photo Credit: Gabor Horvath/Lund University)To put this concept to the test, the scientists used plastic models that were the same size as adult humans, and painted them in different colors. For the experiment, the team painted each model a different color: beige, black, or black with white stripes. After painting each model, the scientists covered them with a layer of insect glue.The results showed that the darker model with white stripes had less bugs: The dark model attracted 10 times more horseflies than the white stripes model. Plus, the beige model attracted twice as many horseflies as the patterned model.Scientists also found that male and female horseflies exhibited different behaviors. Male and female horseflies were more attracted to models on the ground, while only female horseflies preferred standing models.Light signals also played an important role in blood-sucking activity: Female horseflies responded to light reflected from vertical planes (ex. standing models), and males responded to light reflected from horizontal planes (ground models).The scientists didn’t share next steps for the experiment, however, it’s interesting to see how body painting might generate less bug bites and reduce the risk of insect-borne diseases for humans.More on Geek.com:Parasitic Worm Bacterial Is Stronger Than DEET Mosquito RepellentVampire Bat Venom Could Soon Be Used for Medical TreatmentsHawaii Officials Investigate Video of Man Standing on While Carcasslast_img

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