In North Dakota, a mass dying of butterflies was seen after the area was sprayed for mosquitoes. Inforum reported on the event, calling it a “monarch massacre.” Fargo residents woke up on Thursday morning to find hundreds of dead butterflies throughout the town.
“I saw a couple of kids piling them up, probably 25 monarchs,” Matt Paulson, who was out delivering packages at the time, told the outlet, adding that in just one neighborhood he “saw at least 300.”
“I went for a walk throughout the neighborhood and they were all over the sidewalks and the streets,” added another local resident.
According to KVRR, Cass County Vector Control is “saddened” by the death of the butterflies but they say it was a necessary evil. They are the company that did the overnight aerial spraying, as there was an increase in mosquitoes in the area.
The company’s voicemail was full of hate and anger just 24 hours prior to the mosquito massacre. Considering the fact that there have been reports of the West Nile virus not far away in Wahpeton and Grand Forks, spraying was necessary. KVRR reports that he also said that there weren’t any changes in protocol and no errors occurred during the spraying.
“We’re saddened by it, but the human health, and human comfort is paramount. That’s why we are here,” 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 mosquitoes are so bad.”
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A change.org petition has been started by residents in an effort to get the company to use insecticides that are less toxic. They would also like the spraying to occur outside of the Monarch migration season.
KVRR states that according to Prather, they are using the least toxic option at this time.
In North America, there are 2 primary populations of monarchs that migrate. According to the official government website, one of them is found in North Dakota. The butterflies start to migrate north near the end of February, and at the end of summer, the next generation begins to head south.
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