Ugh, bugs in mouths. Bugs in mouths! It’s the grossest thing I can think of, which is why I’m so haunted by a mysterious viral video that’s been circulating for at least three years. The video (don’t watch it, it’s gross) shows an insect larvae being pulled from a person’s swollen upper lip, along with the following caption: “This little bug is very small and lives on soda cans… It sticks itself to a human and grows as it’s shown… never drink from containers directly without cleaning them beforehand.” It’s enough to put me off soda cans for life. Fortunately, Snopes recently debunked the video, judging it “miscaptioned.”
Per Snopes, bugs really can burrow into your upper lip, which is horrible. However, the bug in the video didn’t come from a soda can. “This is a genuine video of a larva being removed from a person’s lip. However, the viral caption is incorrect,” Snopes writes. “This small bug does not live on soda cans. The above-displayed video shows a botfly larva being removed from a person’s lip, and botflies do not live on soda cans.”
Snopes also cited María Ángel Marcos García, an entomologist and professor of zoology at the University of Alicante. Snopes translated García’s interview with a Spanish fact-checking outlet, which went thusly:
“It is without any doubt the larva of Dermatobia hominis , a dipteran whose larvae are parasitic and live inside the tissues of vertebrates. This species does not live in Europe but is native to Central America and is also present in some countries from South America.”
García explained that this species doesn’t lay eggs directly on the human body; instead, they’ll lay eggs on mosquitos or house flies, and those eggs can then be transferred to humans. Regardless, the chances of picking up one of these bad boys from a soda can are slim to none. Snopes points out that this is “far from the first time that a scaremongering rumor has circulated about an illness being spread via unwashed soda cans.” Bottom line: it can’t hurt to wipe down the tops of your soda cans, but forgetting to do so probably won’t send a worm wriggling into your lip. Small blessings, eh?