Fargo City Council will discuss dead butterflies tonight

FARGO, N.D.  – The mass butterfly deaths in the F-M metro caused by aerial spraying to control mosquitoes late last month comes before the Fargo city commission Monday evening.

Thousands of dead monarchs led to complaints from residents and an online petition signed by nearly 2,000 people calling for less toxic pesticides. Commissioner John Strand says he wants to know the practices and protocols for spraying and what alternatives could be used to reduce the risk to other insects. He also wants information about the impact the pesticides have on people who have medical conditions.

Strand says there was a similar situation several years ago during the monarch migration. He reached out to officials who alerted Vector Control who modified mosquito spraying so there was less of an impact.

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture and North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality are also investigating the deaths of the monarch butterflies to determine if proper procedures were used.

Vector Control Director Ben Prather said this “unfortunate result” came at a time when there was a serious West Nile virus concern as the mosquito population was at a four-year high in Fargo Moorhead.

He also said the pesticide is the least toxic available.

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