Dynamic Duo: Jay & Nicky Turner
With a degree in biological science Jay Turner knows his insects and once bred bugs for the pet trade, earning him the nickname ‘the scorpion man’. His wife and business partner Nicky Turner doesn’t like creepy crawlies so much, but is great when it comes to networking with humans. Together the couple runs the multi-award winning Laguna Pest Control in Noosa. They have three children and lots of reptiles.
Nicky: Jay and I went to the same primary school in Geelong, in the mid 1980s. I knew who he was but we never hung out. Over the years our paths constantly crossed, but I couldn’t stand him. I found him to be a bit of a nerd; he was very quiet and I thought he was weird. Plus, he paid me absolutely no attention at all.
I was first attracted to him when I realised he had ambition. He was very smart. He would come into the local milk bar where I worked. Nothing happened between us for quite a while, until he asked for my number at a Geelong nightclub. It escalated from there.
We got married in 1997. We were quite young. I was only 21. By this stage we’d already bought our first house in Geelong and were both working in a bakery that was owned by my mum and dad. Right from the start we worked really well together. We had a goal to win the best Australian Bakery Award and we worked our butts off to make that happen.
Ever since he was a little boy, Jay has had a passion for wildlife, especially insects and reptiles. He is known in Victoria as ‘the scorpion man’. He would often go out hunting for different species of scorpions to keep as pets. And he got his first snake just before our first child was born.
I used to have night terrors about pythons eating me. We’ve had some doozies where critters have escaped. I’ve been sitting in the loungeroom and a rainforest scorpion has walked across the floor. I’ve come home to find a goanna in my bathtub. I’ve been sitting on the toilet and had a ferret bite me on the ankle. We’ve had some feisty disagreements, but I’ve learned to live with it now.
At one time we ran an insect breeding business – Mini Beasts Enterprises - selling crickets to pet shops to use as feed. We ran it from a shipping container on our property in Geelong. It was a huge success. Jay always comes up with great ideas, but I’m the motivator.
We got into pest control because when you’re breeding insects, you get a lot of escapees. The escapees caused wolf spiders to come into our house looking for food. We had to call in a pest controller and Jay ended up working for him. We went from breeding insects to killing them.
In January 2010 we decided to set up our own business in Noosa. Jay is a natural at it because he understands the biology. Moving to Noosa was a struggle for Jay. He missed his friends and family. I told him he’d have to get used to it, because I wasn’t going back. A quick trip back to Geelong made him realise we’d made the right decision.
Everything Jay does, is for his family. He’s the hardest worker I’ve ever met. He’s the Steve Irwin of pest control. It’s his life.
We still argue about his animals. I’ve had to get him to cull back because otherwise we’d be living in a zoo. He’s big into his Australian tarantulas. He even has one named after him, because he found a new species. He still has quite a few snakes and scorpions.
We share a passion outside of pest control and critters; we’re big food and wine buffs. We love going to restaurants. We recently did a trip to Tasmania to taste different whiskies.
Jay is my best friend. We are completely different and that used to bother me, but now I absolutely love it. He challenges me in every possible way and I know I challenge him too. He’s my biggest supporter.
Jay: My first impression of Nicky was that she was out of my league. I thought she wouldn’t be interested in a guy like me. She was pretty good looking and still is. I think she found me interesting because I wasn’t like any other guy she’d ever met.
We wanted an outdoor wedding at Aireys Inlet on the Great Ocean Road, but Nicky told me I should book an indoor venue as well, just in case. Me, being a bit tight with money, didn’t bother. Sure enough it poured raining, so I had to ask the Aireys Inlet lighthouse keeper if we could use her front verandah. Nicky refused to get out of the bridal car until it stopped raining, because she was so angry with me. I quickly learnt that my wife knows best.
We argue about my reptiles a bit. She’s had to put up with a lot living with me. She woke up in the middle of the night because she heard something under our bed. I had to tell her it was just a pillowcase full of water dragons. I’ll occasionally get a phone call: Jay, get your butt home now, there’s a big python inside the house and it’s yours.
She’s always right. That’s pretty annoying. Even if she is wrong she’ll never admit it. But I love her laugh and her smile. People warm to her personality.
We enjoy our holidays together. We appreciate good food and wine. We’ll always be talking about the next winery tour, or restaurant we want to try. She loves her bubbles. A typical weekend might see us walking around Noosa Heads National Park, or going for a drink down at Gympie Terrace.
We are completely opposite in every way, but we find that harmony in the middle to make it work.
#doublethepower #dynamicduo #twobetterthanone #pestiepartnerships #celebratethepestie
Find Jay and Nicky at Laguna Pest Control in Noosa.
Story first seen in Garrards Pest Review magazine 2020.