We don’t yet understand why the coffee beetle bores in beans, but we do know that this little pest is becoming more and more of a threat. With its numbers continuing to grow, the bug is ruining and depleting the reserves of our most precious commodity: coffee.
Some of you may argue it’s not no longer a commodity, but it’s become a necessity in the modern world. But, instead of arguing, let us focus on what the beetle actually does. Appropriately called the coffee berry borer essentially bores itself into coffee beans where it can eat it from the inside out.
Soon, if we don’t find a solution to the spreading of this bug, we may have to eat the bugs in order to get our wake-up kick-start for the day. But how does it survive, you ask? Have you ever drunk 500 espresso shots of coffee? Probably not, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article.
Yet, that is exactly how much coffee this strange black bug can eat without dying. Balzac, the famous French writer, would be jealous, as he could only drink 30 cups a day. Still, one wonders how either could sleep at night… literally. The bug has a collective of 14 strange species bacteria in his so called stomach which can rapidly consume the caffeine before it becomes fatal and kills the host critter.
It should be stated that normally, coffee beans are no less than poison for most insects. Wouldn’t you like to have hose 14 bacteria too?
So what are the solutions proposed to “take care” of the pest? Well, one study conducted by a combined team of researchers from Berkeley Lab, the Department of Agriculture of the U.S., and the Frontera Sur College in Mexico has proposed one interesting idea.
Starting from the premise that you cannot use pesticide on coffee plants – except if you deliberately want to ruin the morning coffees of hundreds of thousands of people – the scientists focused on the 14 bacteria that break down the active ingredient off coffee. They speculate that if you could somehow kill these bacteria, than the bugs would also die.
One other method published by the National Academy of Sciences in 2014 experimented with the idea of growing trees close to coffee fields. This way, more birds could be attracted, and if you remember your basic biology lessons, birds feast on bugs. I’m particularly optimistic that they would really like these ones, since, hey, it would be their equivalent of a morning coffee infusion.
Whatever solution these researchers may decide upon, they better do it quick. Imagine a world without coffee. I know. Horrific, right?
Image source: lintvkhon.files.wordpress.com