TikTok Has People Soaking Strawberries In Saltwater In Search Of Tiny Bugs

by Julie Scagell
Originally Published: 
Strawberries in water bowl
Eiji Ogura/EyeEm/Getty Images

‘Strawberry bugs’ are a thing and 2020 is officially canceled

What started as a TikTok trend now has most of us ready to swear off a popular berry forever. Apparently, if you wash your strawberries in saltwater, little bugs may crawl out of them. Let’s all take a moment to pause and collectively dry heave, shall we?

A little-known fly called the spotted wing drosophila lays eggs inside strawberries, and once they hatch, will crawl out of strawberries when washed in warm salt water, appearing as tiny white maggots. And why, may you ask, did these little friends make it past farmers undetected? “They’re so sneaky that they’re the only pest that can be transported to the grocery store,” Sriyanka Lahiri, an assistant professor at the University of Florida, told USA Today. And it’s all thanks to the fly’s powerful ovipositor, or egg-laying organ. “This species is able to make a very fine incision that can’t be seen with a naked eye and lays its eggs in there.”

People on various social media platforms are posting videos whilst washing their strawberries in salt water, and the results are somewhere between “mildly upsetting” and “living under your bed forever.” With how 2020 is shaking out, I’m leaning towards the latter.

Now, most of us know if we eat fresh fruit we’re going to ingest a bug or two now and again, but that doesn’t mean we need photographic evidence of it. I’m sure we ate All Of The Hairs back in the days when we dined at restaurants, but chefs aren’t showcasing them like an edible garnish.

The Food and Drug Administration has an entire guide dedicated towards safe levels of “defects” we eat in food, including the presence of insects. According to the organization, it’s impossible to get rid of all insects from food without using an “insane amount of pesticides,” Lahiri agreed. Again, perhaps we file this under things we never needed to admit to ourselves.

There are many people who choose to eat bugs. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that two billion people globally eat bugs as part of their normal diet. Also, those people on shows like Amazing Race and Fear Factor. Others would like to continue doing so in ignorant bliss.

Once people started sharing the videos, it began trending with hashtags like #strawberrybugs and #strawberrychallenge because we most definitely need not one, but hundreds of videos showing maggots writhing out of our summer salads.

This is 2020, folks. A global pandemic, murder hornets, and now strawberry bugs. LOL forever.

This article was originally published on