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VERIFY: Yes, worms can live in your strawberries – but it's rare

A viral TikTok challenge shows people testing their strawberries to see if bugs live inside.

HOUSTON, Texas — Here’s one story that may have you second guessing your strawberries, but try not to let it ruin your appetite. It’s a viral TikTok challenge: people testing their strawberries to see if bugs live inside.

It's disgusting and hard to swallow. 

These viral videos are taking over TikTok. People are soaking their strawberries in salt water to see if bugs live inside them. Some show tiny worms crawling their way out of the fruit, while others show every other type of bug there is. 

We wanted to verify, are these videos real? 

The good news is most of them are not, but the bad news one of them is. 

We went to straight to our expert, Dr. Sriyanka Lahiri. She’s with the University of Florida and studies the pests of small fruit crops.

She can verify tiny translucent worms can, in fact, live in your strawberries.

But she wants us to give you some background.

First, she says it’s rare, and is not something you’ll see every time you hit the store. 

Lahiri says the worms are, well, maggots. They come from the Spotted Wing Drosophila Fly, a type of fruit fly.

What makes it unique is the female has a special egg laying device called a ovipositor. It allows her to make a fine incision inside a fresh berry and lay egg deep inside. So tiny that human eyes can’t see it. 

So the fruit gets sold to the store and ends up in fridge.  

Once again, she says, it’s rare that a fly would lay eggs in your fruit. She does recommend washing or soaking any produce before you eat it, but salt water might ruin it.  

Most of the TikTok videos show no sign of these insects, but it can happen. 

And she says the worst those tiny worms can do is add a little protein to your diet.

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