February 4 2009, 9:17 AM
Herbal tea may soothe your nerves, but it's stinky stuff if you're a bark beetle. So say U.S. Forest Service scientists who have found that sprinkling tiny flakes of tea containing the pheromone verbenone over lodgepole pine forests reduces the number of beetle-killed trees by two-thirds, according to The Washington Post. The pheromone tricks the beetles into thinking that a tree is crowded, so they move on. In Colorado, nearly two million acres of forests have been killed by beetles, and helicopters are a relatively inexpensive way to spread the tea. But before you become a homeopathic bug killer, consider the wisdom of the Coloradoan's naturalist, Kevin Cook, a man who appreciates the natural cycle of life, death, and rejuvenation in Colorado's forests, including that of bark beetles.