Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Caffeine As an Insecticide

...
black coffee image by Maxim Kulemza from Fotolia.com

Caffeine is a compound most commonly found in coffee and teas. It is addictive to humans and is known for boosting energy levels for a short period of time. Studies show that caffeine is also toxic to insects and is becoming a new class of biochemical insecticides that holds minimal risks for humans.

Caffeine

Caffeine is a naturally derived biological substance that is found in various plants such as coffee beans and tea leaves. Its stimulating effects on the central nervous system have earned it recognition and popularity all across the globe. It is considered by the FDA to be a drug and food additive and is also a diuretic, causing the body to lose water.

Research

In 1984, neurologist James A. Nathanson published an article for "Science" magazine stating that caffeine is produced within plants to ward off dangerous insect pests and is a natural insecticide. In his tests he observed that caffeine interfered with general behavior and growth of many insects and their larvae.

  • Caffeine is a compound most commonly found in coffee and teas.
  • In 1984, neurologist James A. Nathanson published an article for "Science" magazine stating that caffeine is produced within plants to ward off dangerous insect pests and is a natural insecticide.

Mosquitoes

Mosquito infestations treated with caffeine will become inhibited in their development during early stages without introducing toxic chemicals into the local environment. As the primary carrier of the virus that develops into yellow fever, governments across the American continents are seeking alternative control agent different from the chemicals they have previously used.

Benefits

Most chemical insecticides are highly toxic to humans and animals as well as insects. They can cause serious illnesses including some forms of cancer. Caffeine as a potential insecticide will reduce the threat posed from the use of manufactured chemicals to the human population.

Considerations

Caffeine is not selective as an insecticide. It is lethal to most insects and, over time, even to the plants they are protecting. Caffeine does not decompose along with other substances within plants and will build within the soil over time. As this builds, the toxicity level of the soil raises to the point where the plant becomes unable to survive. This is why coffee plantations tend to erode after only a few decades.

  • Mosquito infestations treated with caffeine will become inhibited in their development during early stages without introducing toxic chemicals into the local environment.
  • Caffeine as a potential insecticide will reduce the threat posed from the use of manufactured chemicals to the human population.

Related Articles

How Does Caffeine Affect Plant Cells?
How Does Caffeine Affect Plant Cells?
Cygon for Fruit Trees
Cygon for Fruit Trees
Components of Insecticide
Components of Insecticide
Pyrethrum Daisy as a Pesticide
Pyrethrum Daisy as a Pesticide
Types of Insecticide
Types of Insecticide
Pyrethrin Vs. Permethrin
Pyrethrin Vs. Permethrin
Does Roundup Weed Killer Kill Insects?
Does Roundup Weed Killer Kill Insects?
Importance of Landscape Planning
Importance of Landscape Planning
Safe Insecticides for Tomato Plants
Safe Insecticides for Tomato Plants
The Best Insecticide for Caterpillars
The Best Insecticide for Caterpillars
The Effect of Nicotine on Plant Growth
The Effect of Nicotine on Plant Growth
List of Organic Pesticides
List of Organic Pesticides
The Effects of Fertilizers & Pesticides
The Effects of Fertilizers & Pesticides
The Effects of Roundup on Food Crops
The Effects of Roundup on Food Crops
Will Diazinon Kill Ants?
Will Diazinon Kill Ants?
The Effects of Antifreeze on Grass
The Effects of Antifreeze on Grass
Garden Guides
×