Coffee Boring Beetles: Depriving The World Of Caffeine For More Than 30 Years

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Hi Guys. This is Trisha with Insectopia here to talk to you about a coffee boring beetle. This beetle is closely related to weevils and is native to Africa. Although nowadays, wherever there is coffee, you can find these borers. Today, we are going to talk about a beetle that is only 1.5-2 mm long and that causes $500 million damage worldwide annually. It survives solely on coffee. Do you ever feel like that? Like you could survive solely on coffee? How many cups of coffee do you drink daily? The average American drinks 3 cups of coffee per day.

To consume the same amount of caffeine as these beetles, relative to their size, a human would have to drink 230 cups of coffee every day! What do you think? How would you fair on 230 cups of coffee daily? I think most of us in the morning start in one of those 3 center emotions. Coffee helps and slowly but surely we scale up the right side of the scale. But, humans are not made the same way that these beetles are and sometime before your 230th mug of coffee, this scale wraps around. That much caffeine would surely kill a person. In fact, caffeine is a natural insecticide that is used by the plant as a defensive chemical. Can this caterpillar eat the yummy berries? Nope What about this stink bug? Still No. And finally, the coffee borers? These coffee borers have evolved with the plant and are not affected by the high level of caffeine.

They have evolved with the plant and have bacteria in their gut that feed solely on caffeine. What does the female beetle do once it finds a fresh berry to attack? Well, it needs to start the next generation. The female will bore into the coffee berry and lay eggs inside of it. The larvae will bore and eat inside of the berry that they are laid in. There can be up to 150 beetle grubs in a single berry! Our human equivalent to a clown car. They pupate inside of the berry and emerge as adults. The males and females mate inside of the berry with their siblings. The adult males do not have wings so they will stay in this single berry and mate with as many females as they can before they expire.

The adult females are picky about the weather and will not leave the coffeeberry if it is sunny out. Otherwise, it is possible that she loses too much body water, which is called desiccation, and she can die. She waits for it to rain and then flies to the next berry to lay eggs and start a new brood. This is what a coffee beetle looks like in real life. These are some closely related species like bark beetles and weevils. Thank you for listening! If you have any questions about coffee borers or a thought on what it would be like to live your entire life in a single berry, let us know in the comment section below! Make sure to like, comment, and subscribe for more videos like this one.

I will be posting videos frequently. Come and check our next video on a moth that can dive in the water..

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