Business

Insect-loving scientist takes out top pest control award

WINNING: Geordie McGrath (left) and Jay Turner of Laguna Pest Control.
WINNING: Geordie McGrath (left) and Jay Turner of Laguna Pest Control. Peter Gardiner

IT TAKES a rare breed of human to spend his days with cockroaches, ants, spiders and termites.

Pest control expert and entomologist Jay Turner didn't set out to lead his industry. He just wanted to do things well.

But with the help of his wife and business partner Nicky, the scientist created a business six years ago that has now been recognised as the Queensland pest control industry's best.

Last week the Turners attended a national conference of pest managers and returned with two awards under their arms - 2016 Pest Manager of the Year (Queensland) and the award for the best Queensland pest control business with fewer than five employees.

For the Turner family, the Laguna Pest Control story started seven years ago when Nicky came to Noosa "on a girl's weekend away” from their Melbourne home.

"I fell in love with the place and just wanted to live here,” Nicky said.

"We uppped and moved the family - had no job or anything - and just started the business.”

Jay had been a pest control teacher at TAFE, and the family's decision also solved another problem, Nicky said.

"We wanted to go out on our own with pest control but we didn't want to start in Melbourne or Victoria, because we didn't want to compete against the students that he taught,” she said.

"The only way we could think of doing it was to move interstate.”

Jay and Nicky first entered the pest industry as insect breeders, starting Mini Beasts Enterprises (now sold) which is now one of the biggest operators in Australia's pest trade.

But after a few incidences with "escapees” they had to call pest managers, and it planted a seed with Jay.

"He felt at the time there was more money in killing insects than there was in breeding them,” Nicky said.

Jay now uses his knowledge of pest species' ecology to design effective eradication treatments.

"We weren't obviously just going in and spraying for pests, we had a good knowledge on the biological side of the pest,” Nicky said.

The company's ant treatments were a cut above competitors', Nicky claimed, because each treatment was designed with the target species' diet in mind.

"With coastal brown ants, they're protein eaters,” she said. "So they go for dog food and things like that, whereas sugar ants or white-footed ants go for sugary products. So the bait is different for each.”

Any new Laguna pest managers are required to spend more than three years shadowing Jay, Nicky said.

"Unfortunately with the pest industry you can do a five-day course, get your licence and go and start operating, which is not something that we really agree with,” she said.

"Even with Jay, he's been in industry for over 10 years and he's still learning, picking the brains of people who know more.”

Laguna Pest Control won the awards because of its industry-leading customer service, Nicky said.

Customers receive an email immediately when they book, a reminder before their appointment, and importantly the technician spends up to 20 minutes before each treatment discussing it with the client, and 10 minutes letting them know what to expect afterwards.

An online portal collates all pest treatments so customers have records - a feature that real estate agents loved, Nicky said, because it allowed a property's pest control history to be accessed.

"We want to set the standard for the level of service our clients expect rather than following our competitors,” Nicky said.

"We want to get the pest control industry where it should be.”

Nicky said the Noosa community had been very supportive, and she realised early on that networking was key to success.

"It's very hard to get work in Noosa - it's not what you know but who you know sometimes,” she said.

"People learn to trust you because they see you all the time. We only work in the Noosa area, we don't go outside of Noosa, so that really works for us.

"We're completely booked out.”

Topics:  business, pest, pest control


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Travellers take advantage of 'free camping' spot

A van parked at Noosa Junction bowls club.

Empty bowls club has become free camping spot out of council control

Waving the way to better mental health

STRONG: Noosa OneWave group would love to see more people join their supportive community.

ONE wave, one conversation, one hug is all it takes - to save a life

Fresh bid for market in Cooroy

The Noosa Farmers markets are a model for the new Cooroy concept.

Cooroy markets pitch

Local Partners

Fresh bid for market in Cooroy

Cooroy markets pitch to local business

MP and Mayor tuck into 'meaty issues'

Noosa MP Glen Elmes and Mayor Tony Wellington.

Noosa MP and Mayor's tasty meeting

Be fabulous with the Queens this long weekend

QUEEN BEE: Melony Brests brings you an evening of razzling, dazzling fabulousness this long weekend at the Noosa Arts Theatre.

Join local icon Melony Brests for a fabulous show this long weekend

Peregian littlies have big hearts for the homeless

HELPERS: C and K Peregian Springs Kindergarten pupils started a donation basket for the homeless. Archie is pictured here with a recreation of Orange Sky Laundry.

Peregian Springs kindy kids start a donation basket for the homeless

Noosa surf lifesaver dives in to graduate position

TOP JOB: James Ghent has landed a graduate position with Arup.

USC student lands position with top engineering firm.

Capturing our Noosa from high

NEW LOOK: Local photographer Dave Gleeson's work can be seen on a Melbourne tram.

Dave Gleeson's freelance photography has taken off

Big plans for our region

TEAM MEETING: MP Andrew Wallace, MP Llew O'Brien, Senator Fiona Nash, Mayor Tony Wellington and MP Ted O'Brien.

The Coast's top ten projects were being showcased to the Minister

10 unexpected school holiday events to get in to

FAMILY FAVOURITE: A scene from the animated movie Zootopia, which will screen as part of Movie Night Under The Stars.

Don't let the holiday's end without getting along to one of these

Nick 'the snake' to call the shots on Survivor jury

Australian Survivor contestant Nick Iadanza.

LATEST evictee is out of the game but will still have a say.

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber split

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber have split after 11 years together.

Why Chris Hemsworth was spotted wearing nail polish

RED CARPET: Do you think Chris Hemsworth is the typical unpolished but well-natured Aussie bloke?

He's now officially the best bloke in Australia

Testament's new album is a concept album

ROME, ITALY- JULY 27, 2016: Testament photographed at The Roman Collisseium in Rome, Italy on July 27,2016. Gene Ambo

Testament to release new album

'Baby' recreates famous Nirvana cover shot 25 years later

The baby from Nevermind album has recreated the iconic cover shot.

PREVIEW: Luke Cage origin story is a strong addition to MCU

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage.

MIKE Colter stars as latest Marvel superhero to get his own series.

6 top tips for getting approved for a rental property

Follow these top tips to better your chances.

Real estate agent shares what you can do to get approved to rent

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.