Help me indentify this crap behind my fridge and oven.
August 26, 2010 6:48 PM   Subscribe

I pulled out my fridge in my apartment and found all this stuff behind it. It's also behind my oven. What is it?

This stuff is behind my fridge and underneath my oven. What is it, and what should I do about it?

Your clues:
  • I've cleaned it out from behind the oven before. After a while (months) it gradually reappears.
  • It's about the size and color of a popcorn kernel.
  • I live on the top floor of a five-story apartment building in Chicago.
  • My first thought was that it's gotta be from some kind of rodent, but I've never seen anything else to support that--no live sightings, no holes in cabinets, food, no animal-like sounds.
  • It's underneath the fridge and the oven, and there's no sign of it on top of either. So it's not falling from the cabinets or ceiling.
posted by tenaciousd to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Does your apartment building provide pest control? It looks similar to some sort of bug bait that my exterminator put behind the refrigerator. I would leave it alone, and ask the super about it.
posted by hooray at 6:54 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Perhaps rodents are bringing in seeds, eating them and leaving the shells underneath the appliances, which are a nice, dark, warm place to hang out and have dinner.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:08 PM on August 26, 2010

Maybe the last residents spilled a big bag of popcorn or birdseed or lentils or SOMETHING and never moved the appliances to clean it up?
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:32 PM on August 26, 2010

I was a handyman for many apartment buildings like yours in Chicago and I know if you get a mouse trap, you will catch some. It is strange though that there is not more poop mixed in with whatever is there.
posted by lee at 7:34 PM on August 26, 2010

Oh, I take mine back, missed the magical reappearance.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:51 PM on August 26, 2010

Yeah, I second granular insect bait. Compare this image (a little hard to see but you get the idea). Or this larger image of granular fire ant bait.
posted by jedicus at 7:53 PM on August 26, 2010

I bet some of it is stuck under or behind the fridge/oven and gets shaken out when you move them in and out to clean.
posted by emilyd22222 at 8:13 PM on August 26, 2010

I kept finding cat kibble behind my appliances months after I no longer had pets and had cleaned up the kibble each time I saw it. So if it's something plausible like ant bait put in before , it's not magically reappearing, just being shaken around and moved every time you shove the appliance.
posted by maudlin at 10:57 PM on August 26, 2010

Looks like bee pollen.
posted by watercarrier at 2:14 AM on August 27, 2010

Bee pollen pic
posted by watercarrier at 2:15 AM on August 27, 2010

Is it loose or attached to the various surfaces? Could it be some kind of mold or mushroom?
posted by reddot at 6:16 AM on August 27, 2010

Looks to me like a previous tenant spilled a box of steel-cut oats while making breakfast. Or ant bait. Could be either.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:46 AM on August 27, 2010

Response by poster: I have a call in with the maintenance guy to see if they drop insect bait, per jedicus & horray's comments.

Watercarrier - it does look like bee pollen, but I haven't seen one bee in my apartment this summer.

Reddot - it's not attached to anything. It's loose and granular.

Thanks for the input everyone.
posted by tenaciousd at 4:03 PM on August 27, 2010

Looks like pest control poison of some sort to me.
posted by dozo at 5:42 AM on September 16, 2010

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