Caffeine as a Pesticide

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Have you ever wondered what is in the pesticides and insecticides sprayed on our fruits and vegetables to keep the bugs away, what’s in the spray that those applying it to acres upon acres of our food are too afraid to touch, let alone breathe in?

Pesticides and insecticides are evaluated and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, and approximately 865 have been accepted. Unfortunately, this does not mean that they are safe for humans. They are known to contain cancer-bearing carcinogens, cause birth defects, and affect the nervous system. They don’t wash off or go away, either. Pesticides are partially absorbed into the foods they are sprayed onto, putting infants and small children at risk of poisoning by relation of the amount of food consumed to their body weight.

Luckily, there is an alternative to pesticides that, if utilized correctly, can greatly reduce or even eliminate the need for pesticides. Recent studies have shown that while caffeine is an excellent pick-me-up for humans, it is toxic and deadly to insects. Virtually harmless to humans and most animals and with a pH level of 6.5-6.8, very close to the neutral 7.0, coffee grounds would not detract from the quality of the soil; rather, coffee grounds actually improve the soil tilth (structure). They are currently used in composting, showing the benefits they can already provide to the quality of your produce.

To use coffee grounds in your own garden, all that is needed is to simply cultivate and mix the grounds into the soil. Another idea could be to infuse the coffee grounds with water– but don’t make coffee! –and spray it on your plants as you would with a normal pesticide. Do not spread the grounds directly onto the soil and leave it, as when it dries it can repel water.

The main drawback from this method is that coffee grounds do not work well as a fertilizer. In order to maximize your results, it is best to use a nitrogen fertilizer at the same time. Doing so provides nutrients to your plants and aids in growth.

It is my hope that with further research and trials pesticides can be replaced and removed entirely, allowing those wanting to enjoy a healthy lifestyle to not have to worry about what went into their produce before it reached their grocery store.

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1984/10/9/caffeine-kills-insects-scientist-says-pif/

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/lane/sites/default/files/documents/cffee07.pdf

http://www.trinity.edu/jdunn/spiderdrugs.htm

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