Strawberries are in season, but the next time you pop one in your mouth, you'll want to ensure it's washed thoroughly—especially after seeing what you can find on its surface. In a recent video posted to Twitter, a slice of strawberry is placed under a microscope, and the subsequent closeup shows what appear to be small bugs crawling all across it. So, could it really be that delicious strawberries have microscopic bugs all over them?
While it remains to be seen if the Twitter footage is completely unaltered, there certainly are bugs that live on—and lay eggs in—strawberries. The phenomenon drew attention in 2020 due to a TikTok trend about using a vinegar and salt wash to draw larvae out of the fruit. While not all strawberries will contain larvae, it was confirmed that spotted wing drosophilas actually lay their eggs inside of strawberries. This can then cause the appearance of bugs or of larvae when the fruit is placed in the vinegar and salt mixture for a period of time.
“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,” shares entomologist Sriyanka Lahiri. “When the picker gets the fruit, they can’t even see that there’s an egg because it’s deep in the fruit. That’s why it escapes detection, and it’s not possible to detect that a fruit has been infested.”
But before you start throwing away your strawberries, just know that there is no evidence that ingesting the pests that crawl on strawberries will cause any harm. Lahiri is quick to remind us that completely eradicating all insects from fruits and vegetables is nearly impossible without the increased use of pesticides. So, just remember to thoroughly wash your fruit before eating and take heart in knowing that these tiny insects aren't harmful.
A video on Twitter reveals what is really happening on the surface of a strawberry.
Are you having a good day today?
I'm sorry for ruining it by posting this video of a strawberry under a microscope. pic.twitter.com/xQKSG04OYK
— QENNY Southsider (@AKBrews) March 28, 2023
While it's not clear if the footage has been altered, there are several videos on YouTube that also show insects.
This isn't the first time microscopic views of strawberries have trended. In 2020, a TikTok trend also showed why washing strawberries is important.
One common pest found on strawberries is the spotted wing drosophila, which lays its microscopic eggs inside sweet ripe fruit.
Luckily, these insects aren't harmful if consumed, but their presence is just another reason to thoroughly wash your fruit.
h/t: [IFL Science!]
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