HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Tell us about it
TELL US

Food dropped in a crack... worried about bugs

e
evagram Nov 10, 2013 08:06 AM

For some reason, in my kitchen, they installed the cabinets with a two-inch gap between the wall and where it ends. On the floor of the gap, they have tried to fill it with plaster, but did not get very far so it like just jagged edges. Anything small that falls in can never come out because it will be trapped into the spikes of the dried plaster.

Last Night I was cutting raw butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes and one piece fell into that gap. I tried to get it out with a long stick but obviously just pushed it in further. I'm worried about cockroaches now or even maggots developing. What can I do to prevent this from happening??? Please help!!

Or, I'm also asking: what happens to a raw piece of butternut squash as it decomposes? will it rot and get disgusting or just dried up?

  1. t
    treb Nov 10, 2013 08:09 AM

    if you had the cabinets professionally installed call them back to complete the install correctly. have get clean out the mess as well.

    2 Replies
    1. re: treb
      e
      evagram Nov 10, 2013 08:12 AM

      Sorry, I should mention that I live in a rental in NYC. It is an old building and for three years I haven't dropped any food down there. This is the first time...

      1. re: evagram
        Ttrockwood Nov 10, 2013 03:14 PM

        Are you my next door neighbor?!?! Hahahaha. Same situation here (aka half assed construction)

        Chill out. If you're really worriesd get one of those raid bait plastic houses and drop that down the crack.

    2. porker Nov 10, 2013 08:40 AM

      To me, it should be blocked one way or another. Thing is, you likely want it to be esthetic as well as easy to clean.

      I don't know the exact set-up of your counter top or kitchen, but I'd suggest picking up a piece of decorative L-molding, something like this
      http://imageserver.grainger.com/is/im...
      and screw it against the wall adjacent to the counter (a construction adhesive (glue) might work as well).
      To keep crumbs out, you can run a bead of clear silicone between countertop and edge of molding.

      This would solve your biggest problem of stuff falling in from the counter.

      You might have a backsplash which would also have the opening as well as the front side of the cupboards.
      The L-molding might work here as well.

      If you fix the problem before anything else gets down there, I wouldn't worry about bits of squash. It'll eventually dehydrate and become somewhat inert.

      1. Veggo Nov 10, 2013 08:45 AM

        Similar happened to me - 2 baked Stouffers spinach soufflés tumbled down the same size gap. I couldn't do much at all so I let them petrify. No critter problem. It also was a rental.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Veggo
          sunshine842 Nov 10, 2013 09:44 AM

          helped along the petrification process, no doubt, by the stream of profanity that serenaded their fall....

          1. re: sunshine842
            Veggo Nov 10, 2013 09:53 AM

            To make it worse, the delicious smell wafted all around, and I was really hungry with empty cupboards.

        2. Kajikit Nov 10, 2013 08:57 AM

          There's a gap between our stove and the cabinet in our rental apartment... I try very hard NOT to think about what might be down there because sometimes I cut stuff on the stove and of course little bits fall off and go down there... but it's never smelled bad. They sell fancy covers you can slide into gaps like that to make them more hygienic but ours is kind of crooked so it wouldn't fit and I've just left it be. It hasn't been a big hassle in the ten years we've lived here...

          1. h
            HillJ Nov 10, 2013 09:01 AM

            Foam in a can that runs through a tiny nozzle and fills gaps is sold in HomeDepot, Lowe's etc. It's the ideal solution to fill gaps. The foam goes in wet and dries hard.

            As for removing the food piece, I'd drop a bit of dry bleach down the same hole and then fill the gap with the foam product and then if you want tack in a simple piece of molding to fit. Then I'd call the landlord.

            1. e
              evagram Nov 10, 2013 09:19 AM

              Thanks for your responses, everybody. I am extra sensitive about this because I had a cockroach problem when I first moved in three years ago that I eventually got rid of over the course of 6 months by never leaving any food out and keeping everything super clean. (I also got a cat--not just to kill vermin, but she's been great!) Anyway, what I ended up doing just now was I unfolded a wire hanger, and with the hook, a flashlight, my head against the wall, was finally, laboriously able to fish out the squash!!

              Below is a photo of the gap. It seems the wall slopes out as it gets closer to the floor, which is why there's a gap at the counter level. I'm definitely calling the landlord tomorrow to get them to foam it or put in an L-shaped cover, as some of you suggested.

               
              12 Replies
              1. re: evagram
                sunshine842 Nov 10, 2013 09:46 AM

                that is, without the tiniest doubt, the shittiest installation job, and the most shining example of apathetic, lousy carpentry, I have ever seen.

                I work in the construction industry, so I've seen some doozies...and that tops 'em all.

                1. re: sunshine842
                  t
                  treb Nov 10, 2013 09:48 AM

                  Agree, what a hack job.

                  1. re: sunshine842
                    e
                    evagram Nov 10, 2013 09:56 AM

                    I thought this was fairly typical in NYC apts, as in you take what you can get when it's rent-controlled... But I agree, it's not pretty. Oh well, I am moving out in 4 months.

                    1. re: evagram
                      loratliff Nov 10, 2013 10:56 AM

                      I knew you were living in NYC when I read the thread title!

                      Honestly, if it happens again, wouldn't worry about it. I have a similar gap between my stove and the wall. Who knows what's down there? Never have seen any bugs.

                      1. re: evagram
                        Ttrockwood Nov 10, 2013 03:18 PM

                        Totally par for the course in nyc apt rentals that are less than five figures a month.

                      2. re: sunshine842
                        biondanonima Nov 10, 2013 12:21 PM

                        Come to NYC - this actually looks good in comparison to a lot of what I've seen.

                        1. re: sunshine842
                          porker Nov 10, 2013 03:56 PM

                          Wonder whats outta plumb, the wall or the cabinet? (or both....)

                          Moving out in 4 months? Fill it with food.
                          {;-/)

                          1. re: porker
                            sunshine842 Nov 10, 2013 04:53 PM

                            I thought of that....and shudder at the thought.

                            I moved into a flat that had been occupied by someone even the rental office referred to as a slob...they forewarned me that they'd bombed for roaches twice, and that they'd re-treat the apartment for free until I was happy.

                            Don't leave a nightmare for the next tenant!

                            (fortunately, my cat proceeded to bring in every anole lizard he could find off the porch, and the roach problem was solved, chemical-free, in about 2 weeks. Anoles have a voracious appetite for roaches and spiders -- that's why I like them!)

                            1. re: sunshine842
                              EWSflash Nov 10, 2013 05:09 PM

                              Brilliant kitty!

                              1. re: EWSflash
                                sunshine842 Nov 10, 2013 05:56 PM

                                nah, he was a sweet kitty, but hunting ability wasn't one of his strong suits. He could catch, but he didn't know what to do with them once he caught them....

                                1. re: sunshine842
                                  Veggo Nov 10, 2013 06:10 PM

                                  Same with little veggo and tarantulas, he just swipes at them because he likes to watch them jump. His worst habit is snacking on geckos but he enjoys scorpions also.
                                  Good kitty, bad kitty, good kitty.

                        2. re: evagram
                          h
                          HillJ Nov 10, 2013 10:16 AM

                          ah, now with a photo to see the size of the gap, need more than foam.

                        3. y
                          youareabunny Nov 10, 2013 10:45 AM

                          Glad you got the food out. Maybe you can store some tea tins along the wall so it blocks the gap and looks a bit like its on purpose

                          1. EWSflash Nov 10, 2013 05:06 PM

                            This will actually work. Get some food-grade diatomaceous earth (you can get it on Amazon if nothing else) and sprinkle generous amounts of it down the crack. It's primarily a dessicant and being the ground up shells of tiny prehistoric sea life, actually pierces the bodies of insects like if you wandered into a room half full of glass shards. Also, being a dessicant, it will help dry up that piece of squash. It won't kill rodents, but it will kill roaches, flies, maggots, etc. . Don't inhale the powder, but you can use it freely, it's nontoxic otherwise.
                            Since your landlord left you holding the bag, you shouldn't feel guilty, you're doing your part to control the insect population.

                            Show Hidden Posts