Parkville woman’s butterfly yard wrongly sprayed for bugs

PARKVILLE, Mo. -- A Parkville woman is devastated after a pest company sprayed her yard for bugs. The problem is they sprayed the wrong yard. As for those bugs? She loves them.

Bonnie Martin's entire yard is dedicated to birds, and bees, but most importantly -- butterflies. She says Pro Pest in Belton couldn't have picked a worse yard to spray.

Butterflies surround Martin's house. She's got a flag waving, signs for passers by, and sculptures on her porch, but the problem is none of them are real.

"Almost as soon as I moved here I started planting for butterflies," Martin said.

She put in plant after plant, and flower after flower to attract the bright winged insects.

"They're beautiful, and they pollinate our flowers, and they're fun," Martin said.

When she saw a car in her driveway on Thursday she was in for a shock when she called her daughter.

"She said there's a fella here who says he's supposed to spray for chiggers, and ticks, and mosquitoes, and I said what?!" Martin said.

Martin said Pro Pest sprayed the wrong house and left the bill on her door. Her house is in a new development, and the court next to her is not searchable on GPS. Martin says many of her neighbors will put in her address for services and deliveries, and put a note for visitors to turn right to find the specific address. Martin says - they didn't get the memo. Instead of turning right she says they stopped and sprayed her yard.

"I've built my entire yard to attract pollinators, and now when I see them I realize they're probably going to be dead tomorrow, and the ones that are usually here are not," Martin said.

Mark McKellar, the owner of Backyard Bird Center in KCMO said even if they didn't spray the flowers, it can still kill pollinators.

"Insects are very sensitive," McKellar said. "They have very thin skin, and things absorb very quickly and easily into those baby caterpillars, those young caterpillars especially, so they're very vulnerable to insecticides, and it can only take a trace of certain insecticides to kill butterflies."

Pro Pest said in a statement:

"Yesterday afternoon we mistakenly applied a flea - tick & mosquito application to Mrs. Martins' property.  We where supposed to treat Mrs. Martins' daughters property but treated Mrs Martins' instead.  We have spoken to Mrs. Martin and are trying to work with her to resolve the issue."

"They said they're sorry, and I guess that's all they can say, but it just doesn't help," Martin said. "The damage is done."

Now Martin has to tell her granddaughters they'll have to wait until next year to set the butterflies free.

"It's just uplifting to see them floating up into the sky. It's just gorgeous," Miller said.
"They were so tickled, and I promised them this year we were going to do many many more."

Pro Pest said they didn't spray the flowers, only the lawn, and they're hoping some butterflies will still be able to reproduce this year. McKellar worries their eggs won't survive the season because of the pesticides that were used. Pro Pest plans to visit her on Monday and take a look.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.