Skip to main content

Used Tires and Mosquito-related Disease

(March 2016)

Improperly managed used tires provide a prime breeding habitat for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Used tires that contain water and organic matter (leaves, grass, etc.) serve as an ideal “incubator” for mosquito eggs and larvae.  Mosquitoes proliferate by laying eggs on the surface of stagnant water.  The eggs “hatch” to form larvae, which develop into pupae, and then develop into adult mosquitoes.  The life cycle from laying of eggs to the formation of adult mosquitoes is approximately 10-14 days.  The most prominent disease-carrying mosquito species are also “container breeders,” which means they lay their eggs in the stinky, stagnant water found in artificial containers, including used and waste tires.  Over the course of one breeding season, tens of thousands of potential disease-carrying mosquitoes can be generated from a single improperly managed used tire.  Adult mosquitoes can travel up to one mile from their original breeding habitat.

Artificial container-breeding mosquito species such as Culex pipiens (West Nile virus), Aedes albopictus (West Nile virus and possibly Zika virus), and Aedes aegypti (Zika virus), are well-recognized vectors of diseases throughout the world and are found in Illinois. Culex pipiens, also known as the Northern House mosquito, and Aedes albopictus, also known as the Asian Tiger mosquito, are particularly prevalent in Illinois and pose a threat to human health as disease-carrying vectors.

Proper management of used tires will help reduce the proliferation of disease-carrying mosquitoes in Illinois. All Illinoisans can take the following steps to help eliminate breeding habitats for known disease-carrying mosquitoes:

  • Don’t leave tires outside. Keep them inside a building or fully enclosed container so they can’t accumulate water.

  • If tires must be kept outdoors, alter the tires so they can’t accumulate water.

  • Dispose of used tires at an Illinois EPA-permitted commercial used tire processing facility.

  • Report improperly managed used tires or waste tire dumps to the Illinois EPA.

  • If your business accepts or stores used tires, store the tires inside a building or fully enclosed container to reduce the risk of exposure to mosquito-related diseases by your employees, customers, and nearby citizens.

  • Visit the Illinois EPA Used Tire Program web site for more information.

Since the inception of Illinois’ Used Tire program in 1989, the Illinois EPA has removed and properly disposed of more than 20 million used and waste tires that were improperly discarded in Illinois. To report improperly managed or discarded tires, please refer to the Illinois EPA Bureau of Land Regional Offices.

Please visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website at for additional information about prevention of mosquito-related diseases.