Boise National Forest officials are using trickery in their battle against the bark beetle.

So far, the beetle is still winning.Last spring workers placed pheromone baits - chemicals that mimic the scent that beetles emit when they find a good host tree - on trees on West Mountain about a mile west of Cascade.

As forest officials hoped, the beetles were fooled into attacking the baited trees and now loggers are harvesting about 8 million board-feet of the infested timber in the remote area.

"Our objectives are to slow down the beetle population and the infestation," said Steve Patterson, timber management assistant for the Cascade Ranger District. "We don't think we're going to totally solve the problem. We're just trying to buy ourselves some time until the weather changes."

In 1989 Douglas fir beetles killed more than 1,500 trees on West Mountain, officials said.

The beetles are always a part of the forest. But four years of drought has caused added stress for trees in the Boise forest, which has caused the worst infestation of beetles in the forest on record, officials said.

Without adequate moisture, trees can not produce pitch to defend themselves from the beetles' attack.

Officials said about half of the salvage logging on West Mountain is being done by helicopter so no major new road construction or rebuilding is needed. The logging was expected to be completed by the end of the month, they said.