Ask the Carpenter: Dealing with a mysterious well and stink bugs

Ask the Expert Home Improvement
. AP

Q. We recently discovered a shallow well with a wellhead, piping, well pump, and water tank while cleaning out a small room off the garage inside the basement of our home (which was built in the 1930s). The well comes out of a hole in the basement floor, with water visible about 5 feet down. We have no way of knowing how deep the well pipe is.

We found the well after searching for the source of water that was flooding our garage floor after rainstorms. Our driveway had also been flooding at the same time, due to a backup from a clay drain pipe for stormwater that had been plugged by tree roots. We replaced the clay drain pipe with a larger plastic pipe, which ended the flooding in the driveway. The water from the well has not flooded our garage floor since the drain pipe was replaced; however, water continues to circulate through the well and the wellhead piping under its own pressure, even though the well pump has not worked for many years. Our question is what to do about the well. Should we leave the wellhead and piping in place, even if water continues to come up through the pipe, drip back onto the floor, and flow back into the hole around the well? Is there a way to plug the well pipe to stop the flow, or is there some other measure we should take to seal the hole and prevent well water from entering the area?

GEORGE, Sharon

A. I’d try to cap the pipe first. If that doesn’t work, I’d call a pump and well company. The pipe may need to be dug up and repaired with a new piece of poly pipe and capped below floor level. Then you would need to patch the floor.


Q. We’ve been finding a few stink bugs here and there in our ranch-style home. I’ve read an article about stink bug infestations that sound like horror movie plots. With climate change warming our environment, it seems it’s just one of the problems we home dwellers will have to face. Am I being paranoid, as my husband says I am? Do New Englanders have to worry about this now or in the future? And, if so, how should we deal with the critters?


A. I reached out to my friend Matt Carr from Concord Carlisle Pest Control. Here is his reply:

“Stink bugs, lady bugs, Asian lady beetles, flies, and a host of other insects will try to escape the harsh elements of winter. A nice, warm winter vacation spot is your home! On warmer or sunny days, homeowners will often find them on or close to windows and corners of ceilings where there may be a warm pipe or air duct nearby.

Insects will crawl up foundations, sneak in around doors and windows, and enter through gable, soffit, and ridge vents. If there’s temperature fluctuations, they will find it.

To keep control of them there’s a few options: Glue boards, chemical sprays and dusts, and sealing up every nook and cranny, which is close to impossible and can be time-consuming and expensive.’’

Rob Robillard is a general contractor, carpenter, editor of, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business. Send your questions to or tweet them to @robertrobillard. Subscribe to our free real estate newsletter at