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31 October 2022

Meet the members: 25 years of Bounty Pest Control

MEET THE MEMBER | PPC109 October 2022

This year, Kent-based Bounty Pest Control celebrated 25 years in business. We spoke to Elaine and Martin Rose-King about their pest control journey.

bounty 25 hero

The challenges

The challenges of running a business over 25 years and overcoming all external difficulties mean that Elaine feels lucky and proud to have gotten so far. Particularly as it wasn’t the first choice career for either of them.

“I always wanted to work with animals and started at an early age in the retail pet industry,” explains Elaine.

“When I met Martin he was keen on law. Neither of us were able to pursue our chosen careers; I ended up in dentistry and Martin in catering. 

“We suffered badly from the early 90’s recession, and Martin endured quite a few jobs to get by. The turning point was when he was working as a civil servant and got a diploma from a course in pest control.”

When the army base in Ashford closed, Martin touted his services to a company doing pest control for the local authority. When the company’s contract came to an end, Elaine and Martin stepped up.

“To start a business was daunting,” says Elaine, “Even coming up with the name was tough. With both of us being a touch on the geeky side, and fans of science fiction and action movies, we embarked on a quest for a name to reflect a tribute to escapism, as it had carried us through some really tough times.

“With a glass of wine in hand, sat in our garden, blasted by the evening summer sun, we settled upon the name ‘Bounty’ and our journey began!”

Bounty’s first van was an ex-gas board van – now they run a small fleet of vans.

With a glass of wine in hand, sat in our garden, blasted by the evening summer sun, we settled upon the name ‘Bounty’ and our journey began!

Elaine Rose-King, Bounty Pest Control

At present the team consists of Martin and Elaine, plus Carl the technical supervisor, Andrew (Buster) the service supervisor, newest recruit Simon and some work is done via the contract sharing network (a BPCA member benefit). Their son Elliott has re-joined the team after getting a masters degree.

Both Elliott and daughter Lois have picked up pest control alongside their own career pursuits: both are qualified technicians.

Kent is Bounty’s main area of operation, and that means that newly emerging invasive species are on the radar for the team. And it’s something Martin feels they’ve picked up due to natural curiosity and their ‘geekiness’.

Pest expertise

“Most of us in pest control are curiosity driven, and nothing piques that curiosity more than the idea of a new pest to manage. 

“And of course we have Elliott and his degree in environmental management. Pest control wasn’t initially going to be his area of interest, but as he’s learned more about the Asian tiger mosquito and the Asian hornets, it’s developed from there.”

What makes Bounty’s location a prime target for invasive pests?

“We have lots of touch points in Kent where goods come in and out of the country, so geographically it’s an interesting area of operation and we’re on one of the frontlines for invasive pests,” says Martin.

“We do a lot of work with our local authority, so when Asian tiger mosquitoes were found in around 2016 they came to us, and we began working together to monitor and control them.”

Mosquito monitors are checked by the local authority and if there are any red flags, Bounty picks up from there, does geolocation mapping and has done several treatments for Asian tiger mosquitoes. 

“We also have our foot in the door in a more tangible way with Asian hornets, too. When we became aware of them, we did a lot of research about Guernsey and their battle with Asian hornets. 

We have lots of touch points in Kent where goods come in and out of the country, so geographically it’s an interesting area of operation and we’re on one of the frontlines for invasive pests.

Martin Rose-King, Bounty Pest Control

“They invited us over and we learned a lot from them, and vice versa. We’ve got a great friendship with the people out there now, and we’ve helped them track nests and engaged with the Spring Queening project.”

Martin continued, “Elliott switched his masters degree dissertation to Asian hornet awareness as a result of that relationship. That then led to Ashford Beekeepers asking for training on Asian hornets and they asked us to be Asian Hornet Action Team coordinators for the Kent area. And of course, we’re nerds – so we said yes.”

When a report comes in on the Asian hornet app, it will go to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the National Bee Unit (NBU). They contact the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA), which has an interactive map of Asian hornet verifiers (people who can identify the species). But each area has a coordinator for those verifiers, and Bounty now does that for Kent. 

Once a nest has been identified, APHA has its own people that come out to treat the nest, take samples for testing and try to find out if that population is becoming established or not.

“We want to help in this area and we want to do it thoroughly,” declares Martin. “It’s pretty much all voluntary, the invasive species work we do. We do it because it’s an important fight to be a part of and a great learning opportunity.

“It’s actually quite time-consuming work, but it has educated us and it’s knowledge we want to pass on to other people who might be interested.

“We’ve now got a climate so mild that we have the conditions for these things to not only arrive here, but to thrive here. And that’s what’s driven our interest.”

What other invasive species are on Bounty’s radar at the moment? Martin says Brown dog ticks are an area of interest.

“We haven’t come across them yet but our region is one where people come back camping from places like the Netherlands, where they’re quite prevalent. And they can infest houses, like bed bugs.”

There’s an area on the Bounty Pest Control website about invasive species, where you can read more about the work they do and the pests on our doorstep:

We’d like to remember those who have supported and contributed to Bounty over the years: Jack, Lee, Vic, Gary, Jim, Chris, Lois, Dad and Mum, Connor, Roy, Andy and Simon P. Thank you all past and present.

Elaine and Martin Rose-King

Elaine said, “We’ve changed a lot over the years; gone are the days of taking bookings at home while navigating 160 marbles tipped over the floor by a delighted toddler, or the credit card machine set up in our bedroom waking us up at stupid o’clock by downloading the day’s takings.

“No longer do I have the embarrassment of reps turning up unannounced at our home when I’ve got my head wrapped in clingfilm to dye my hair. 

“It’s cringe moments like those that make us appreciate even more the hard-working team that we have today and Bounty as a whole.”

All that’s left is to say: Happy birthday to Bounty Pest Control!

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