Posted Wednesday, March 30th, 2016


Morris County’s mosquito control crews this winter passed the 60,000 mark in the collection of illegally discarded or abandoned tires, which are found mostly in difficult-to-get-to wooded and swampy areas in all sections of the county, creating perfect breeding grounds for millions of mosquitoes that wreak havoc on picnics and baseball games and walks through nature in Morris County each year.

Tires 5

That total of 60,346 and counting dates back to 2001 when the tire collection program began, in concert with the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, which helps with disposal of piles of tires found each year.

“The best offense is a good defense, so crews spent the winter collecting discarded, abandoned tires, which are a favorite breeding ground for mosquitoes,’’ said Kris McMorland, Director of the Morris County Division of Mosquito Control.

Tires have been collected at some 1,200 locations in 37 of the county’s 39 towns over the past decade. The most have been found in Rockaway Township, Mount Olive and Jefferson.

“The people who discard tires don’t do any of us humans a favor, though they certainly are the friends of mosquitoes who love those tires,’’ added McMorland. “They provide a great breeding habitat for mosquitoes because they hold water, are nice and dark, plus they heat up pretty well.”

Mosquitoes can breed by the tens of thousands in just one illegally discarded tire, McMorland said.

“We strongly encourage residents not to illegally discard tires for environmental and aesthetic reasons and, of course, to prevent mosquito infestation,’’ said Freeholder John Cesaro, who is the county governing board’s liaison to the Mosquito Control Division. “Please, do the right thing. Find the proper way to get rid of your old tires,’’ he added.

Stevens State Park in Mount Olive in 2001

Stevens State Park in Mount Olive in 2001

Starting in the late fall and early winter and continuing into March each year, a small team of county mosquito control crews on foot and all-terrain vehicles and trucks head into the backwoods and swamps, wade into rivers, and patrol along roadsides to find and remove discarded tires as a first line of defense against mosquito-borne viruses.


According to county data, areas of the county with the most discarded tires that have been collected include Rockaway Township, Roxbury and Mount Olive, towns that have lots of natural areas and isolated places for illegal tire discarding. Also high on the list are Parsippany, Jefferson, Randolph and Montville.

“Removing abandoned or illegally dumped tires not only helps reduce mosquito levels and the threat of West Nile virus, but improves environmental quality,’’ said McMorland.

In addition to breeding mosquitoes, abandoned tires also can be a spawning ground for invasive species, such as the Asian Tiger Mosquito, an aggressive biting creature that is believed to have made it to the Americas from Japan by laying eggs in tires shipped to the United States.

Mosquitoes can breed by the thousands in every discarded tire

Mosquitoes can breed by the thousands in every discarded tire

Once the tires are collected, the Morris County MUA ships them to a company that grinds the tires  into pellets that are sold to the makers of crumb rubber—used in making artificial turf, playgrounds, rubber mats, etc… – or they are used as tire derived fuel (TDF).

County residents should check with their towns to see if tires are accepted at local recycling centers. If not, the MUA accepts old tires on Saturdays only at the Parsippany Transfer Station (Not the Mount Olive transfer station). The cost is $200 per ton or about $2 for each car tire or $8 for a set of four car tires, off the rim. Some towns will accept a limited number of tires for free and others charge, so you should check with your individual town about costs.

It is important to note that tires cannot be placed at curbside with household trash.

To check for rules about using the MUA transfer station please visit: (and scroll to the bottom). Residents should call the MUA at 973-285-8389 to get more and accurate information.

Residents who are having new tires put on their vehicle by a private garage should dispose of the old tires with the service station or garage and not try to get rid of them on their own.