Surprise Strawberry Pest Encounter

Just about a week ago I was eating lunch outside on some picnic tables, snacking on some strawberries from West Servery. I wasn’t particularly paying attention to the strawberries, but after taking a small bite from the end of the strawberry something dark catches my eye. As I look more closely, I see what appears to be a tiny black larva or worm inside the strawberry right where I would have bitten into!

It was about half an inch long, and very dark, but I wasn’t observing it too closely after the shock of having almost eaten the strawberry pest. I inspected the outside of the strawberry and, surely, there was a tiny hole near the stem where the insect had bored into the fruit. Luckily that was the last strawberry on my plate, because I had just lost my appetite for further fruit snacking. I did a little bit of research on what kind of pest might’ve been boring its way into the strawberry, and found one likely possibility. A beetle larva, possibly from Harpalus rufipes (the strawberry seed beetle), from the family Nitidulidae (sap beetles), or from the family Elateridae (click beetles). Some beetles lay their eggs on fruit, such as this strawberry, and the larvae remain inside it until ready to emerge as adults. However, I have no way of knowing where the strawberries were grown and I only had a quick glance at the insect pest, so these are just rough guesses.

Holes very similar to the one I saw, caused by beetle feeding Source:

After this encounter, it took me a few days to begin eating strawberries from the servery again. It definitely surprised me that the food that makes it all the way to our servery is still not guaranteed to be pest free. Even now I make sure to check my strawberries beforehand for any holes that might indicate a pest is living in them!

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