Get rid of tires, fight mosquitos

Local residents can join the Montgomery County Health Department in some spring cleaning. The health department will host the fourth annual Tire Amnesty Day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in their parking lot at 110 W. South Blvd. While this event provides the community with a cost effective way to dispose of old tires, the purpose of the event is for mosquito control. 

Last year, the health department collected more than 2,000 tires, more than twice the amount of the previous two years combined. Not only do piles of tires serve as an eyesore, they also are the perfect place for mosquitoes to breed.

In order to lay eggs, mosquitoes require only a capful of standing water. As a result, virtually anywhere that can collect water and create a warm, moist environment is a potential breeding site. 

Waste tires collect rainwater easily, and it is difficult to completely drain any water that collects inside them. Each tire brought in to be properly disposed of is estimated to remove thousands of offspring from entering the mosquito population over the course of the summer. 

In addition to disposing of tires, there are other measures can be taken to limit the population of mosquitoes around homes. These include cleaning out gutters, changing the water in bird bathes weekly and emptying out any other outside containers that may collect rainwater and provide mosquitoes with a breeding site. 

Mosquito populations are monitored and tested by health departments all over the country, because mosquitoes are part of a group of organisms called vectors. A vector is any organism than can transmit infectious diseases to other creatures, including humans. While severe diseases such as meningitis and encephalitis can be transmitted, these instances are rare. 

The Montgomery County Health Department is primarily concerned with monitoring mosquito populations for the presence of West Nile Virus, which, unlike the Zika virus, is present in the mosquito species in Indiana. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 70 to 80 percent of individuals exposed to West Nile will exhibit no symptoms, but some individuals may be more susceptible to developing severe symptoms.  

The first 10 tires brought to the event are free. Each additional tire will cost $1 to help offset disposal costs. There is no limit to the amount of tires each person may drop off, but no tractor tires will be accepted. Health department workers ask you report the total number of tires you are disposing of when entering the parking lot.