Minnesota Researchers First to Try New Method to Kill Zebra Mussels

July 12, 2017 07:42 PM

Researchers are hopeful they’ve found a new way to control zebra mussels in Minnesota's lakes and rivers.

Zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species are a growing concern. 


The Minnesota DNR reports 213 bodies of water are currently infested with zebra mussels.

RELATED: Lake Minnetonka Zebra Mussel Study Tests Population Control

But now, instead of using high-dose pesticides to kill adult zebra mussels in a small area, researchers are using a copper-based product in lower doses. 

It targets zebra mussel larvae. The goal is to kill them before they can reproduce.

Scientists from the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center say this is the first time anyone in the country has tried this approach.

They were on Lake Minnetonka Wednesday checking enclosures to see how it’s working.

"I'm really excited about it" said Dr. Michael McCartney, MAISRC's research assistant. "We know we can do that in a laboratory. And what we can see from the laboratory is we can treat using much lower doses, like a thousand fold less, than we can use for adults.

"And that's effective at killing larvae."

Using lower doses of chemicals is also less harmful to native fish and plants. And another advantage of using the copper-based product is larger areas can be treated.

"Ultimately the idea would be to treat a large area, something on the order of the size of a bay," McCartney said. "You could even start to think of small lakes."

Prevention is the best way to stop the spread of zebra mussels. 

Boaters should clean weeds and debris from their boats and trailers when leaving the water. Also, removing drain plugs and keeping them out while traveling is encouraged.

As is disposing of unused bait in the trash.

For more information on zebra mussels and what you can do to prevent their spread in Minnesota lakes, click here.



Kevin Doran

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