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 Help stop the invasion

Zebra mussels in the free-swimming larval (veliger) stage often attach to boat hulls and find their way into hoses, bilges and almost anywhere water will go. Your boat could easily become a ferry for moving mussels from one body of water to another. The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network has recommended the following precautions to boat owners to help prevent further spread of the zebra mussel:

Whenever you leave a body of water. . .

  • When transporting a boat, drain all bilge water, live wells, and bait buckets before leaving infested areas. Do not transport leftover bait from infested waterways to other waters.
  • Thoroughly inspect your boat's hull, outdrive, trim plates, trolling plates, prop guards, transducers, trailers, and other parts exposed to infested waters. If surfaces feel grainy, tiny zebra mussels may be attached. These "hitchhiking" mussels should be scraped off.
  • Thoroughly flush hulls, outdrive units, live wells (and pumping systems), bilge, trailer frames, anchors and anchor ropes, bait buckets, raw water engine cooling systems, and other boat parts and accessories that typically get wet - use hot water - 140 degree F (160 degree C) or hotter water. A pressurized steam cleaner or high pressure power washer is also effective and requires less time.
  • Thoroughly dry boats and trailers in the sun before transporting them to other waterways.
  • On boats that remain in the water, avoid leaving outdrive in the down position. Hulls and drive units should be inspected. Mussels can attach to outdrives and cover or enter water intakes; this leads to clogging, engine overheating, and damage to cooling system parts.

Also, don't forget to...

  • Carry a Zebra Mussel Watch card! That way, you will know what they look like and will be able to report any sighting to the appropriate authorities.

What else can I do?

Learn how to identify zebra mussels and what to do if you
spot an invader.





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photo courtesy of Bob Rashid/Wisconsin Sea Grant

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