Science: Plague for Caterpillars

Forest fires destroy millions of dollars' worth of lumber each year. But in some areas fires run second to the boring, chomping insect hordes that eat their way through the forest, leaving wide patches in ruin. Last week a Russian scientist reported considerable success in a kind of bacteriological warfare against a pesky caterpillar that attacks Siberia's vast evergreen forests.

For several years, Professor Evgeni Talalayev, chief of microbiology at Irkutsk University, collected caterpillars that had died naturally. Eventually he isolated one cause of death: a virulent bacterium, which he used to infect and kill large numbers of caterpillars. He then...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!