Billy The Exterminator has been a TV reality show staple on the A&E Network since 2009. Billy Bretherton of Vexcon Animal and Pest Control of Benton, Louisiana, is the star, with brother Ricky, mom Donnie and dad Big Bill also in the cast. Billy and his helpers evict armadillos, skunks, raccoons, snakes, rats, cockroaches, bees, wasps, bats and other unwanted guests from homes, property and businesses.
Billy The Exterminator has aired over the A&E Network since 2009. The TV reality series follows the exploits of Billy Bretherton and Vexcon Animal and Pest Control of Benton, Louisiana, as they round up, corral and evict an array of unwanted critters from homes and businesses.
Billy The Exterminator Debuts in 2009
Billy The Exterminator (original title: The Exterminators) debuted over the A&E Network on February 4, 2009, with the episode "Snake in the Closet." The series actually owes its roots to the Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs, where the Bretherton family-owned business Vexcon was featured in two episodes.
Billy The Exterminator: Swarm of the Angry Bees
Every 30-minute episode of Billy The Exterminator features Billy and his Vexcon helpers out in the field performing work orders. Typical is the segment "Swarm of the Angry Bees" (2/18/12), with Billy heading to New Orleans to assist another exterminator in the eviction of a swarm of bees who have taken up residence in a wooden column at a condo. According to the owner, the bees have been there for 18 years now, but their continued presence poses too much of a health risk to the residents.
At the request of the condo owner, Billy and his fellow exterminator Robert are not to hurt the bees, but simply relocate them if possible. Our two fearless exterminators locate the hive inside the column, all the while pumping out smoke in order to calm the bees. Their mission is to remove the honeycomb and the queen and transport them to another location. The bees, however, have other plans, as they begin attacking the pair who are 24 feet up on ladders in 100 degree heat. Billy and Robert don partial bee protective suits, but the insects quickly target the vulnerable parts, stinging them in the legs and flying up under their gloves.
The guys take multiple stings and eventually have to retreat. However, concerned that the bees may take their aggression out on innocent bystanders out on the street, the pair persevere, eventually bringing down both the hive and the queen bee and taking them away in a truck. They then clean up the place, ensuring that the bees will not return. Hot, swollen and vowing a trip to the hospital if his medical condition deteriorates further, Billy declares, "I should have had a full bee suit on. Relocation sucks."
Billy The Exterminator with rare albino possum - A&E
Billy The Exterminator: Armadillos, Raccoons and Snakes, Oh My!
Billy The Exterminator is one fascinating TV reality series. Vexcon, which basically has a no kill policy when dealing with unwanted varmints and wildlife, tackle some of the strangest work orders. Generally, Donnie Bretherton, Billy's mother and Vexcon's office manager who's terrified of snakes, calls in the work orders to Billy and brother Ricky out in the field. The Brothers Bretherton then answer the call – either individually or collectively – showing up at the home, business or organization which requested their services.
Vexcon has dealt with all kinds of critters on the show. A partial list includes:
- snakes (poisonous and non-poisonous)
Some of the infestations featured are really wild, the stuff of Hollywood horror movies. In one segment the guys had to clear a house literally overrun by cockroaches. In another, they were called to a soon-to-be-demolished home to exterminate the rats which had set up residence inside. The couple who owned the property were rightfully concerned that the rat colony would flee to their neighbors' homes once demolition began. Well, you don't "relocate" rats or cockroaches, so Vexcon moved in quickly and employed deadly force, terminating the unwanted visitors with extreme prejudice.
Snakes can be an especially creepy subject for many viewers, with Billy and Vexcon owning their share of war stories with the slithering reptiles. In one segment, Billy and Ricky unsuccessfully attempted to clear out a duck blind occupied by a nest of poisonous water moccasins, who quickly made it known that the blind was their permanent home. In another, Billy had to go into a swimming pool to remove a reticulated python. Of course, reticulated pythons are not native to Louisiana, with Billy explaining that many owners simply release their exotic pets into the wild when they can no longer take care of them. One of the most fearsome reptiles proved to be a baby copperhead, who was captured by Billy after a tough struggle. The little guy proved to be especially aggressive, with Billy later releasing the poisonous snake into a remote habitat where hopefully he could chill out and live a normal snake's life.
One of the show's more droll moments occurred when Billy and Ricky were called to remove a raccoon from a couple's attic. The animal had come in through a hole in the roof, setting up shop like it owned the place. Apparently, the raccoon was enjoying the wildlife version of the life of Riley, even repositioning an air conditioning vent so it could wallow in cool air during its down time. The couple got stuck with the utility bill – and limited AC – while the freeloading raccoon lived in regal splendor. Vexcon expertly trapped the raccoon in a cage (and he sure wasn't happy), and relocated "his majesty" to another venue out in the sticks.
Billy The Exterminator: Entertaining and Educational
Billy The Exterminator is both entertaining and educational. Billy is a riot, dressed all in black with skull and bones insignia, crazy hat, sunglasses and metal studded gloves, always ready to do professional battle with the creatures of the day and night. But don't let the wild getup deceive you, as the guy obviously knows his business.
The show's educational value comes in the animals themselves. Did you know armadillos can carry mycobacterium leprae, which causes leprosy? They can transmit the disease when attacking with their formidable claws. Raccoons, skunks and bats of course can transmit diseases as well, with rabies leading the hit parade. Squirrels can bite into electrical wires, causing house fires.
Billy The Exterminator earns four stars. Don't miss it.
- Billy the Exterminator cast, l-r: Ricky, Big Bill, Donnie and Billy - A&E
Copyright © 2012 William J. Felchner. All rights reserved.