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Fargo, ND ( Learfield News Service) - They were targeting mosquitoes but also ended up killing a large number of Monarch butterflies.

It happened in the Fargo/Moorhead area last week.

Cass County (ND) Vector Control is taking responsibility for the deaths of thousands of Monarch butterflies across the Fargo-Moorhead area, the result of aerial spraying for mosquitoes.

Director Ben Prather says with mosquito numbers so high and the threat of West Nile Virus, the demise of the butterflies was a sad and unfortunate consequence:

Prather says about 100 square miles were covered in the latest round of aerial spraying. He says he was overwhelmed by complaints about mosquito numbers ahead of the application and now he's hearing from people upset about the butterflies. He says the pesticide used is the least toxic available.

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