Before we begin, and you get too grossed out by the image to the left, I’ll let you in on a little secret; those are not actually chocolate covered roaches – they’re chocolate covered dates, and it’s probably a better idea to make them for Halloween instead of Valentine’s Day. But what if your sweetheart isn’t into the conventional flowers and chocolate gift, and you’re stumped? Insects don’t seem like they’d fit the bill for a Valentine’s Day token, but you’d be surprised.
Maybe your significant other would like something a little more personal. Well, the Bronx Zoo might have exactly what your beloved wants: a Madagascar hissing cockroach named after them. The Bronx Zoo’s website states, “What has six legs, a surprisingly high tolerance for radiation, and is bound to crawl into your loved one’s heart?” With a small donation, your significant other will receive a certificate featuring the newly named cockroach. You’ve heard of buying a star to name it after your love, but this sort of takes it to the next level, and I think it’s safe to stay it is a special kind of person who would really enjoy this gesture. If you’re reading this thinking that this gift is only meant for lovers and you find yourself alone this Valentine’s Day, you’re in luck. The San Francisco Zoo takes a different approach, allowing you to adopt a hissing cockroach or scorpion in honor of your ex, saying on their website, “Much like your low-life ex, they are usually found in and around low-elevation valleys where they dig elaborate burrows or “caves.” Also just like you-know-who, when a suitable victim wanders by, the scorpion grabs the doomed creature with its pinchers and stings the prey.” Yikes.
Roaches are repulsive to most people, so tossing them into the mix on Valentine’s Day is far from romantic for the majority.
However, I might have some bad news. That box of chocolates you’re planning on plowing through on the 15th? Well, cockroaches might be involved there, too. I think it’s fairly common knowledge that there are some insect parts in all the chocolate we eat. The FDA guidelines are about eight insect parts in a sample of chocolate to be safe. Okay, no big deal, just a few bug hairs or legs, so small we can’t see them. But it gets worse. This ABC article says the trace amounts of bug parts can affect those of us with allergies or asthma, often aggravated by the presence of cockroaches. So if you or your loved one experiences, hives, migraines, or cramps after eating chocolate, it might be a cockroach allergy flaring up. And there’s no way to avoid chocolate with cockroach bits; they are in everything.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m sort of turned off by all of this. I told my husband I wanted chocolate this year, but I’m kind of thinking maybe we’ll just stick to flowers this year. Oh wait. Apparently imported cut flowers (which make up a huge percentage of cut flowers sold in the U.S.) are full of invasive species – both diseases and insects – that custom agents inspect for. The influx of flowers around this time of the year means that sometimes bugs and viruses slip through the cracks, potentially unleashing a deadly pest into your local environment. Who knew that Valentine’s Day gifts were so fraught with insects? Maybe I’ll just stick to a card this year.