Caffeine: Insects Killing Substance

What is Caffeine?

It is best described as a bitter substance, white alkaloid, that can be found in more than 60 plants. It is a stimulant drug that has been used for generations. For many people, caffeine is what wakes them up and gets them going in the morning. Indeed, it is the world’s favourite psychoative drug that acts as a central nervous system stimulant to drive your energy up and bring back your alertness.

There are two main types of coffee, Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is grown at high altitude between 1,800 and 6,300 feet above sea level while Robusta is grown in low elevation between 600 and 2,400 feet.

Robusta is known to have a higher caffeine percentage at approximately 2.2% to 2.7%. On the other hand, Arabica has a lower caffeine percentage per bean at just about 1.2% to 1.5%. It means that a cup of brewed Robusta coffee will contain more caffeine compared to the same cup of Arabica coffee.

Journal Science Report on Caffeine

It is fascinating to know that the reason Robusta has double the amount of caffeine compare to Arabica is due to the fact that there are more insects to be found at lower altitude. Caffeine exists in leaves, seeds and fruit of plants such as coffee and tea and acts as a natural pesticide that cripples and kills insects that would eat on the plants.

According to one report in the Journal Science, by researcher Dr. James A. Nathanson, caffeine will disturb the behaviour and growth of numerous insects and their larva. A test was conducted using powdered tea and coffee, as well as with pure caffeine and related compounds.

The mosquito larvae, for example, became so uncoordinated with exposure to these substance that they could not swim to the water’s surface for air and drowned. The test was also conducted to tobacco hornworms, mealworms, milkweed bugs and butterfly larvae. The compounds distorted behaviours, depressed food consumption or inhibited reproduction of these insects. The scientist also found that when caffeine compounds were mixed with certain other natural insecticides, it increased the killing power.

In saying that, “the side effects of caffeine-like compounds appear to be relatively minor in humans and animals,” according to the Boston researcher.

However, caffeine is still a powerful drug and can affect people in so many different ways such as blood pressure, anxiety, disrupt sleep, etc. In short, consume caffeine in moderation.