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Idaho Says Invasive Zebra Mussels Found In Pet Stores

National Park Service

Idaho’s Department of Agriculture says it has found representatives of a dreaded invasive species in pet stores. It is taking steps to make sure that species doesn’t get a foothold in the state.Idaho state officials say zebra mussels were found in Marimo moss balls, which are sold to people who put them in their aquariums. Zebra mussels are little pests, about the size of a fingernail, and they’re quite prolific at reproducing.

They’re also quite good at clogging pipes and mechanical systems of dams, industrial plants and other facilities through which lake and river water passes.

For several years, the state has set up road side inspection stations near the borders to check incoming boatsfor the mussels. So far, that work has kept the pests from entering the state and its water bodies.

And they want to keep it that way. State officials say they’re working with managers of local Petco stories to identify and dispose of the products.

For people who have bought them, the agency asks them to remove the balls and put them in plastic bags, freeze the bags for at least day, then drop them in the trash. Or they say you can boil the moss balls for at least a minute, then put them in the trash. Don’t dump the aquarium water or the moss balls in natural water bodies. If you’ve put a moss ball in your tank, you’re encouraged to wash it out.