Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Idaho
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Moffitt, C.M., A. Barenberg, K. A. Stockton, and B. J. Watten. 2014. Efficacy of two approaches for disinfecting surfaces and water infested with quagga mussel veligers. Chapter 30 in W. H. Wong and S. Gerstenberger, editors. Biology and management of invasive quagga and zebra mussels in the Western United States.CRC Press. Florida.


Disinfection tools and protocols are needed to meet an array of applications to reduce the probability of transferring invasive mollusk species as hitchhikers. Applications include rapid disinfection of recreational equipment and boats, to disinfecting water and equipment used in fire suppression, to tools safe for hatchery and aquaculture operations. In replicated laboratory trials, we tested the lethality of concentrations of three chemical solutions on quagga mussel veligers (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis). Aqueous solutions of pH 12 were created with NaOH or Ca(OH)2 and tested at 15 and 22°C and three aqueous concentrations of Virkon® Aquatic were tested at 22°C. We observed mortality of veligers was faster in warmer temperatures and in solutions of Ca(OH)2. We observed complete mortality in solutions prepared with Ca(OH)2 within 10 min of exposure, and within 30 min of exposure in solutions prepared with NaOH. We found solutions of 5 g/L of Virkon® Aquatic, used as a disinfectant in aquaculture operations, killed all veligers within a 10 min exposure. We conclude that all chemicals show promise as disinfectants, and use of Ca(OH)2 or NaOH to elevate the pH of disinfecting solutions may provide an economical and environmentally acceptable way to disinfect large surfaces or tanks.