Piles of dead monarch butterflies were found all over the Fargo-Moorhead area Thursday morning after the area was sprayed for mosquitos the night before.
Cass County Vector Control conducted aerial spraying for mosquitos in a 100 square mile area Wednesday night, Valley News Live said. But a consequence of the spraying to get rid of mosquitos was the death of "thousands" of butterflies, according to KVRR.
Vector Control sprayed for mosquitos after traps this week revealed a record number of mosquitos in the area, tweets from Vector Control said.
The abundance of mosquitos prompted complaints from residents angry that Vector Control wasn't doing enough to fight mosquitos, some of which have tested positive for West Nile, Forum News Service said. And more complaints rolled in after the butterflies were found dead.
“They mourn the loss of these insects that everybody enjoys and appreciates, they are beautiful creatures. We’re saddened by it, but the human health, and human comfort is paramount. That’s why we are here,” Cass County Vector Control Director Ben Prather told KVRR. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic. The last thing we want to do is tell people don’t go outside because the mosquitos are so bad.”
A Change.org petition is urging Vector Control to use a Pyrethoid-based insecticide, which is less toxic than others. Vector Control told KVRR it already uses it and according to Forum News Service, the agency hasn't changed its process or procedure in spraying for mosquitos in 10 years.
BMTN has reached out to Vector Control for comment.