An evaluation Zequanox® efficacy and application strategies for targeted control of zebra mussels in shallow-water habitats in lakes

Gregory W. Whitledge, Megan M. Weber, Jessi DeMartini, John Oldenburg, Dave Roberts, Carolyn Link, Sarahann M. Rackl, Neil P. Rude, Andrew J. Yung, Lindsey R. Bock, Devon C. Oliver

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18 Scopus citations


An evaluation of Zequanox® (a naturally derived biopesticide that is non-toxic to humans and other aquatic life and selectively kills dreissenid mussels) for controlling zebra mussel infestations in shallow-water habitats in lakes was conducted at Deep Quarry Lake in DuPage County, Illinois during summer 2012 and 2013. During the 2012 trial, three sets of paired 24-m² treatment and control sites were established within the lake, while a single 324-m² treatment site was established for the 2013 trial. Zequanox was applied to treatment plots, contained using PVC barrier curtains, and barriers were removed during the morning following application. Zebra mussel mortality and size distributions on natural substrates were assessed one day and one week post-treatment for 2012 trials and one day and two weeks post-treatment for 2013 trials; percent mortality of zebra mussels in mesh containers in treatment and control sites was also monitored up to 14 days and 48 days post-treatment in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Several water quality parameters were measured in control and treatment plots before and during application and up to 14 d post-treatment. Mean percent mortality for adult zebra mussels on natural and artificial substrates in treatment locations 7–48 d following Zequanox application ranged from 92–98% during both years, while mortality was consistently ≤10% in control locations. Mean percent mortality ranged from 15–76% in locations > 5 m from and in water shallower than Zequanox application points (<0.6 m depth) during the 2013 trial likely due to limited product dispersal into these areas. There was no significant difference in the size distribution of live and dead zebra mussels in treatment plots. Mean veliger mortality was 94.4% 20-h after the start of the 6-h Zequanox treatment period in the treatment area compared to 15.1% in untreated locations during the 2013 trial. Temporary but substantial reductions in dissolved oxygen were observed in treatment locations during the morning following Zequanox treatment in both 2012 and 2013 trials, likely due to the presence of the barriers that prevented well-oxygenated water from circulating into treatment zones from adjacent areas in the lake. Dissolved oxygen concentrations quickly rebounded to levels consistent with control sites upon removal of barriers. No effects of Zequanox treatment on ammonia, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, biochemical oxygen demand, chlorophyll a, pH, or conductivity were observed. Results suggest that Zequanox has potential as a tool for controlling zebra mussels in shallow-water habitats in lakes without significant long-term effects on water quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
JournalManagement of Biological Invasions
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for zebra mussel monitoring by Dr. Whitledge’s laboratory at Southern Illinois University was provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) through the Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance program (administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), project CAFWS-86. We thank the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County for permission to use Deep Quarry Lake as a study site and for use of equipment, facilities, staff time, and logistical support. Application of Zequanox® was conducted by PLM Lake and Land Management, who donated a portion of their expenses to the project. Financial contributions to this project from Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. were made in the form of donation of Zequanox product and payment for PVC barrier curtains, mixing equipment, staff and travel expenses, and licensed aquatic pesticide application. This projected was completed after review and approval required under NEPA, Section 7, and IDNR Comprehensive Environmental Review Process. Three anonymous reviewers provided constructive comments on the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 The Author(s) and 2015 REABIC.


  • Biopesticide
  • Control
  • Deep Quarry Lake
  • Dreissena polymorpha
  • Field trial
  • Illinois
  • Mortality


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