Ask LH: How Can I Check Under My House Safely?

Hi Lifehacker, My wife needs me to check underneath the house. Is there some way I can do this without getting bitten/covered by the spiders and whatever else lives under there? Thanks, Nervous Husband

Photo: Flickr, K. Latham

Dear NH,

If it's an enclosed crawlspace, you could always nuke the area with a pesticide control bomb a few days before venturing inside. These products are designed to eliminate all manner of creepy crawlies and should turn every nook and cranny into an inhabitable tomb.

As with any poisons, it's imperative to take all the necessary safety precautions prior to getting started. You're going to need something that's safe to use in an enclosed, outdoor space and that won't cause damage to the surrounding environment. If you have any AC outlets under your house you should probably switch these off to minimise spark risks. Also be sure to wear a protective face mask to ward against any lingering fumes.

If you'd prefer not to commit mass arachnicide, try wearing full-length clothes, gardening gloves and solid shoes. Above all else, apply a lot of caution: if maneuverability is limited, probe in front of yourself with a broom or stick before moving. Bear in mind that most spiders want even less to do with you than you with them — as long as you don't blunder directly into them an attack is unlikely.

If any readers have pesticide tips of their own that are suitable for under the house, let NH know in the comments section below.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Step 1. Set house on fire to kill all bugs.
    Step 2. Collect insurance cheque.
    Step 3. Buy new, bug-free house without a crawl space.

      If you can't do this, then get a hard hat (saves the head bangs on floor framing you didn't see) and knee pads because you'll be on them.
      Biggest tip tho is to take your time, move slowly, have a good torch and check before you do move.

    I bought a set of heavy weight mechanics overalls from an op shop. Best $5 I ever spent, I feel invincible in them and can crawl anywhere.
    Don't like my advice? Enjoy being just plain old vincible then.

    Disposable overalls

    Send someone else in..

    Just get in there and eat the spiders first, like a real man.

    Last edited 16/10/14 3:36 pm

    Why can't she do it herself?

    I'm pretty sure this is why electricians always have an apprentice / work experience kid with them.

    As an electrician who spends a lot of time in crawl spaces, I'd just say go for it. In 10 years I've barely even seen a spider let alone been bitten and all I wear is shorts and t-shirt. The only time I'll spot one is in either a new house or in a place that's just been de-cobwebbed because the customer is doing me a favour. Spiders will fill crawl spaces with cobwebs then move on once it's full. Just wear whatever is comfy, take a torch and stick and you will be fine. :)

    Check under the house... For what exactly?


    Wear some old clothes, grab a broom, take a spoonful of cement and get amongst it!

    Have spent many hours in the crawlspace under my house and in the ceiling cavity and can't remember ever seeing an actual spider, a few cobwebs maybe. You'll be surprised how clear it is under there.

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