Shock Chloramination: Potential Treatment for Chironomidae (Diptera) Larvae Nuisance Abatement in Water Supply Systems

M. Broza, M. Halpern, B. Teltsch, R. Porat, A. Gasith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the early 1990s, infestations of midge larvae (Chironomidae, Chironomus sp.) were discovered in the potable water system of Tel Aviv, Israel. Control measures, such as draining and cleaning tanks, spraying water into the tank's air space, and electrocution traps of midge adults, were either inadequate or ineffective. In this system, monochloramine concentrations of up to 0.75 mg/liter are used routinely as a secondary disinfectant. This chemical was tested in the laboratory as a toxicant of midge larvae. The mortality of 4th instar midge larvae after short exposure to high chloramine concentrations (LC50 values of 32 mg/liter for 75 min) suggested the efficacy of instituting a Shock Chloramination treatment program. Tanks were partially drained until they contained only 20 cm of water and were then temporarily disconnected. Chloramine was added to this water to produce a concentration of ≈70 mg/liter for 1-2 h. Subsequently, all dead chironomids were flushed out, and the tank was refilled to attain the operational volume of water. A 2nd identical treatment of water in the tank was suggested 7 d later to kill midges from reproductive adults and egg-masses that survived the 1st treatment. This treatment program was tested in commercial covered tanks and gave complete control of these pests for 6-10 wk. These results suggest that this treatment program may effectively prevent midge outbreaks in Israel's drinking water supply system during the height of the summer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)834-840
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Economic Entomology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1998


  • Chironomid
  • Chironomus luridus
  • Chloramine
  • Drinking water
  • Red worms
  • Water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Ecology


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