Indian farmers use Coca-Cola as a pesticide

Urban legend has it that Coca-Cola works well to remove rust spots, clean corroded batteries, polish toilets, and — we can confirm this one — dissolve baby teeth that have fallen out of an innocent 5-year-old’s mouth, thus yielding a lifelong terror of soft drinks. But Indian farmers have added another unexpected use to that list: They are spraying their crops with Coke in lieu of pricey pesticides. A liter of most popular pesticides in India costs about $220; 1.5 liters of locally produced Coke costs about 66 cents. One theory is that the sugar in Coke attracts red ants that feed on insect larvae. Sadly for Coke, they won’t be able to claim this as a victory in the cola wars — according to the farmers, Pepsi works just as well. Even so, we were surprised to see that a Coke spokesflack scoffed at this new marketing channel, saying there’s “no scientific basis” for using soft drinks in crop management.