Chironomidae (Diptera) pupal exuviae samples are commonly used for biological monitoring of aquatic habitats. DNA barcoding has proved useful for species identification of chironomid life stages containing cellular tissue, but the barcoding success of chironomid pupal exuviae is unknown. We assessed whether standard DNA barcoding could be efficiently used for species identification of chironomid pupal exuviae when compared with morphological techniques and if there were differences in performance between temperate and tropical ecosystems, subfamilies, and tribes. PCR, sequence, and identification success differed significantly between geographic regions and taxonomic groups. For Norway, 27 out of 190 (14.2%) of pupal exuviae resulted in high-quality chironomid sequences that match species. For Costa Rica, 69 out of 190 (36.3%) Costa Rican pupal exuviae resulted in high-quality sequences, but none matched known species. Standard DNA barcoding of chironomid pupal exuviae had limited success in species identification of unknown specimens due to contaminations and lack of matching references in available barcode libraries, especially from Costa Rica. Therefore, we recommend future biodiversity studies that focus their efforts on understudied regions, to simultaneously use morphological and molecular identification techniques to identify all life stages of chironomids and populate the barcode reference library with identified sequences.