Thousands of monarch butterflies have died in what appears to be a mass killing in Maryland on Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay.
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Residents found the brightly colored orange and black insects by the bucket-full Monday throughout the community, WJLA-TV reported.
A social media post showing the extent of the killing went viral as people expressed fear that a neighborhood mosquito spray could be to blame.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture rejected the idea that the spray they used last week to kill mosquitos also killed the butterflies.
Agency officials told WJLA that the chemicals used to kill the mosquitos was sprayed in low concentrations and was "not known to affect larger species like monarch butterflies.
Wildlife experts have worried in recent years about monarch butterfly populations and have recorded declining numbers of the colorful winged insects mainly attributed to loss of habitat and pesticide use.