Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Bug embedded in skin

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Question
I live on Long Island in New York. This morning I woke up with a sore on my neck. I scratched at it and my nail came away with bits of what looked like insect wings and legs. The sore is a little swollen around a small black center from which a black thing is slightly protruding. I don't know what it is.

Answer
Janet,

My guess is you have encountered a tick. Ticks insert their mouthparts ("head") and attach so tightly that they appear to be embedded. The "black thing" that is still embedded is what's left of the mouthparts. Occasionally the mouthparts can cause a secondary infection but are not otherwise dangerous. Obviously if an infection develops you should seek medical attention. See http://www.livingwithbugs.com/ticks.html for other, better, ways to remove ticks!

Jack DeAngelis

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects, insects that bite and sting, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.

Experience

20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

Publications
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology

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