If you count yourself among the crowd that’s repulsed by the thought of unknowingly consuming spiders and other small insects, boy do I have some distressing news for you: Strawberries, among the most beloved of fruits, are crawling with very tiny bugs.
This disturbing revelation has surfaced in the most unlikely of places, TikTok, where users have temporarily shunned viral dance challenges for an unnerving science experiment. The trend, which bears the foreboding tag #strawberrieswithbugs, goes as so: You submerge store-brought strawberries in a bath of salty water, and then inspect the berries for little critters. In some of the videos, no vermin appear. But in many of the posts, you can hear the users wail as they zoom in on little worms that bear a striking resemblance to the berry’s seeds. While I personally have not dunked my strawberries in salty water, a fearless BuzzFeed writer investigated the trend. Her findings: Her strawberries definitely had bugs.
The bad news is that the bugs are actual maggots from a fly called the Spotted Wing Drosophila, which inject fruit — typically, berries — with their eggs. Sometimes, these eggs don’t hatch before you eat the infested berry; other times, as evidenced by the TikTok videos, the maggots break free from their eggs before you pop the berry in your mouth. But the good news is, they’re not dangerous for consumption. In fact, the FDA allows all kinds of bugs to be in your produce, meaning, strawberries aren’t the only food in your fridge that may contain a little bug or two.
Meanwhile, a vindicated Tom Brady is celebrating.