As warmer weather approaches, many Missouri residents will be heading outdoors to hunt for mushrooms. An unfortunate consequence many encounter as a result, are ticks. beefsteak

Click play below to listen to KMZU’s Elizabeth Orosco talk with Alan Dreves about ticks and mushrooms.

Alan Dreves, environmental public health specialist for both Ray County and Carroll County says avoiding ticks and certain types of mushrooms are key to staying safe and healthy this season.

Dreves says although there are several important diseases associated with ticks, such as lyme disease and  rocky mountain spotted fever, avoiding contact with ticks is possible.

“They perch on tall grass, leaves on the edge on the boundaries between lawns and trees, and have their legs stuck out so when a person or animal walks by, they reach out and grab and get attached.”

Dreves says knowing how to remove a tick is also important. Old wives tales such as alcohol or a match are not the best remedies. He suggests using tweezers to pull tick out as close to the skin as possible.

As far as prevention of tick contact, Dreves says purchasing products that mask carbon dioxide scent could be the trick.

“The way ticks find animals and humans is they sense carbon dioxide. Products that mask the carbon dioxide smell make it harder for ticks to locate people or animals.”

Turning to the issue of mushrooms, Dreves says certain mushrooms are not safe to eat.

“The beefsteak mushroom is really not safe to eat. I have eaten them in the past, but there is a real risk associated with that. Certain people have tolerances to that, and beefsteak mushrooms can have varying levels of the toxin called Gyromitrin. That actually turns to jet fuel in the body. One could eat beefsteak mushrooms for maybe several years but that toxin will accumulate in the body and doesn’t go away.”

Dreves also reminds mushroom hunters to check for a hollow stalk when picking mushrooms, to ensure they are the correct Morel mushrooms, which are safe to consume.


Elizabeth Orosco is a reporter for KMZU 100.7, follow her on Twitter at @elizabethjulene and sent story ideas to