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MLA Full: "These microbes live on insecticide. #shorts #science #SciShow." YouTube, uploaded by SciShow, 25 May 2023,
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Coffee is a natural insect repellant, but natural selection lets coffee borer bugs fight back - with the help of microbes!

Hosted by: Hank Green (he/him)

Emma Dauster: Writer
Angela Reed: Fact Checker
Amy Peterson: Script Editor
Faith Evelyn Schmidt: Videographer
Savannah Geary: Script Supervisor, Editor, Associate Producer
Daniel Comiskey: Editorial Director
Sarah Suta: Producer
Nicole Sweeney: Executive Producer
Hank Green: Executive Producer


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Hank: These bugs can beat coffee plants' defenses, thanks to microbes.

Coffee's natural insect repellent is a lovely little chemical called caffeine. But there's at least one bug that even caffeine can't keep away. They are single-handedly responsible for up to 80% of global coffee crop losses annually.

Coffe berry borer bugs can ignore the caffeine jitters thanks to their secret weapons: the microbes in their guts. Their gut microbes live off of caffeine even more than the rest of us do, because they literally digest it and use it for nutrition instead of just using it to help them study. So by breaking it down, the microbes keep their bug hosts safe to keep munching away at our beloved coffee plants.

But don't worry. We've got other natural pesticides to keep our coffee crops safe from these bugs.