The following interview really pushed me to fresh grind all the time!
Here’s the link great interview by Terry Gross of NPR with Dr. Emlen who is an entomologist. But the best part is the paragraphs from the interview that follow!!
GROSS: …but why do you think that even entomologists don’t like cockroaches?
Dr. EMLEN: I shouldn’t have said that. I’m already going to regret it. But I knew - I know several entomologists that they have not liked cockroaches. For one thing many, many people are allergic to cockroaches. They have - basically cockroaches developing in your house or in a building, shed their cuticle, their skeleton and their skin as the molt as they grow. And they also have (unintelligible) or feces that they produce and these have chemical residues on them that many, many people are allergic to. And, I mean, I hate to say this on record but you’d be hard pressed to find any building probably in this country that’s not infested with cockroaches at some level or another. Certainly all public buildings, they’re - it’s impossible to keep these things completely gone. And what happens is then the shed pieces of cuticles and frass get picked up in the air duct systems of these buildings and dispersed around the buildings.
And a lot of people suspect now that may be a major trigger for asthma, one of the causes of asthma because so many people are allergic to or sensitive to cockroaches. I can tell you an anecdotal story about that if you’d like…
Dr. EMLEN: …that is sort of - okay. It’s peripheral to what we’ve been talking about but when I was an undergraduate, I was hugely influenced by a professor of mine, a biologist and entomologist named George Ichor(ph), one of the greatest entomologists I ever met. And I remember driving across the country with him when I was a college undergraduate. He was an advisor to me. I was doing research out at a place called The Rocky Mountain Lab in Colorado. And we had to keep going way out our way - this was in the late '80s, this is before there was a Starbucks on every corner and you can get really good coffee.
And he was fiercely addicted to caffeine - to coffee. And we’d have to drive way off the interstate to go find good coffee in that day. I mean, we’d go 45 minutes off our route to go find a place that had whole bean fresh ground coffee. And I remember giving him a really hard time because we were wasting a lot of travel time trying to feed his addiction because he need a coffee every couple of hours. And he finally explained to me he had to drink only sort of whole bean fresh ground coffee. And it was because of cockroaches. There’s a point to this story which is that he found out the hard way from teaching entomology year after year after year, handling cockroaches - people used cockroaches as the lab rat for entomology labs - he got really badly allergic to them. So, he couldn’t even touch cockroaches without getting an allergic reaction. And because of that he couldn’t drink pre-ground coffee. And it turned out when he looked into it that pre-ground, you know, your big bulk coffee that you buy in a tin, is all processed from these huge stock piles of coffee. These piles of coffee, they get infested with cockroaches and there’s really nothing they can do to filter that out. So, it all gets ground up in the coffee…
Dr. EMLEN: …and he was actually allergic to pre-ground coffee because of that sort of spin off from having handled them teaching entomology for all those years.