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277 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just saw a commercial for an upcoming airing of Billy the Exterminator on A & E scheduled for February 18th. From the looks of him fleeing the scene, it appears things go bad wrong! :chased: Never seen his programs but this one looked interesting, hopefully if keeps are involved they are better portrayed than on the Louisiana Pawn Shop airing???

99 Posts
Billy likes to kill honeybees...

From another forum
As a result of watching a show where this company killed off a honeybee colony living in a guy's wall, I felt compelled to contact them via e-mail and got a a response from Vexcon. Vexcon and I are both licensed pest control companies in the state of Louisiana. They are about 5 hrs north of me, at least.

Their reponse to my initial e-mail:

Dear Jeff,

I'm sorry but I have to respectively tell you that you are dead wrong when
you say "Any beekeeper would have been happy to have that colony". We don't
like killing them either but sometimes you have to do things you don't like
if you want to help "PEOPLE". We recommend to most people that they contact
a bee keeper before we come out because we are going to exterminate them if
we come out. Most of the time they tell us they have and we are their last
resort. Just so you know some of the biggest bee kills I have seen have
been done by bee keepers.

The reasons we are given by local bee keepers for their refusal to respond
to these type of populations is that it is irresponsible to keep bees like
the one you saw on TV for the following reasons:

1.) The bees may be contaminated from pollen gathered from flowers treated
with insecticides and other chemicals not known to the keeper.
2.) There may be drones that serve no useful purpose but to eat but not
3.) The Africaization of honey bees is a process and they don't want
aggressive bees in their hives.

Another fact is that we are getting calls and e-mails from all over the
country wanting help with honey bees that are putiing "PEOPLE" at risk.
They are desparate and can not get bee keepers or pest control companies to
come help them.

I'm sorry but this problem is not as simple as you seem to think it is and
Vexcon isn't going to have much of an impact not matter what we do. Oh,
before I forget we do know how to do live removals. But nobody wants them
and it drives the cost up for us to relocate them. With the government
taking 50% of every dollar we earn we can't afford to eat the cost

I applaud your efforts to save the bees in New Orleans but you are rare from
a pco perspective. I would like to again emphasis that we don't like
killing honey bees either. It is probably our least favorite thing to do
and before doing it, we do determine if there is an alternative, such as
just letting them finish their rest and let them move on.

One more thing. We have gotten a lot of e-mail from people that would like
to see them saved.

Thanks again for taking the time to email us.
Bill Bretherton

Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 11:30 PM
Subject: Honeybee removal

My original e-mail:

>I just now finished watching a show where you killed a colony of honeybees
> that could have been removed live and relocated. Any beekeeper would have
> been happy to have that colony. I would recommend you contact local
> beekeepers in your area that could assist you or teach your company to
> perform live removals.
> The hive you killed was not Africanized and it was a travesty to see them
> on
> television being killed, when they could have easily been saved.
> I am a beekeeper and a licensed pco out of New Orleans who removes
> honeybees
> from structures. I learned to remove them live because they are a
> beneficial
> insect.
> On this segment you admit, correctly, I might add, that the colony and its
> contents need to be removed. Why not remove them live since you have to
> access the void space they occupy anyway? I urge you to look into ways to
> perform live removals, it is the responsible thing to do.
> I am sure I am not the first nor will I be the last to contact you
> regarding
> this episode.
> Enjoyed the segment on bat removal by the way.
> Jeff

So here is the most current e-mail I sent them this morning.

Donnie, bees can come into contact w/ contaminated pollen or nectar sources just about anywhere but much more so when insecticidal dusts are used.

Drones are male bees that serve no useful purpose in a hive yr in yr out. Their only purpose is to breed with an unmated queen from another colony. Sometimes they may breed with a virgin queen from their own colony if there are no other drones for her to mate with in the area. This is known as inbreeding, which is not desirable amongst beekeepers.

I'm sorry but your quote here doesn't make much sense in regards to removing bees. "The Africaization of honey bees is a process and they don't want
aggressive bees in their hives."

There are a couple of ways bees can become Africanized, one is from a virgin queen mating with Africanized drones, the other way is called usurpation, which involves an Africanized colony taking over another honeybee colony of a different race.

There are people in this world believe it or not that keep Africanized colonies. Not all AHB colonies are evilly wicked as portrayed by media and movies.

You can have mean genes show up in any colony. Most bee keepers will requeen a "hot hive" by killing the queen of an aggressive hive and requeening that hive with a queen from a gentle hive.

99.9% of the bees I come across and remove from structures are friendly, workable bees. If I happen to get one with a bad disposition, I requeen that colony.

I would suggest you contact a few more bee keepers about giving them some of these hives you run across, you'd be surprised to find how many bee keepers would want these hives. You are being paid to remove these colonies and you could also sell these same colonies to bee keepers if you wanted to.

I believe we both agree that honeybees are a valuable insect that I believe we should do our best to save and protect. I cannot save every hive I run across but I try as I might to save the vast majority of them and relocate them to my bee yard and to other bee keepers that I know.

If you would like to contact me by phone with any questions you might have regarding honeybees, let me know and I will forward my phone number to you.


277 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
On the show airing the 18th it does appear that he is trying to save the bee's based on the portion I saw. He has exhausted quite a bit of wire mesh trying to funnel them out but it did not show the end result just him steppin' & fetchin' with bee's in tow. Granted he did not have on protection. :confused:

Premium Member
5,162 Posts
The show that aired last year he had on a leather looking trench coat and wrapped a bandana around his face (if memory serves me right) the bees just ate him alive, sad thing is the pesticides he used won the war.

It really takes someone that is wanting to save the bees, has patience and skills to remove bees from structures and put them in a hive, alive.

To me, and I am not wanting to bash Vexcon or the TV show, but they are only interested in making a buck and the TV show ratings, neither of which has anything to do with saving the bees. Seeing somebody getting stung and running off will improve the ratings which in turn boost the ratings.

It would be nice to see a real TV show showing a real keep how the bees are removed and relocated, but what fun would that be, except to keeps that want to learn how to do it.

There is a ton of drama in these reality shows, just remember that is what boost ratings and brings in the much sought after dollar.

978 Posts
I have to say, I have an odd appreciation for the show... not because they do anything right, but because they do everything wrong. Let me explain... people watch that show and it sets the bar so low that when they call me to remove bees for them, even if I screw up badly, I still look great by comparisson. For example, I had one trapout last year with darn stubborn bees that just wouldn't stay out, they'd go 20' around to the side to get back in or they'd eat right through the silicone caulk, so here I told them it would be 6-8 weeks and 6 months later I was still at it. At any rate, eventually they decided it was too much trouble to keep fighting me on the matter and they finally came out of there, afterward the homeowner said that after watching that show she was just happy as all get-out that I could remove those bees without tearing her house completely apart. Pretty much anything that could go wrong did go wrong on that job and the homeowner was still pleased because Billy set the bar so low... thanks Billy!

On one episode he was supposed to remove a racoon from a barn and nearly tore the whole barn down to do it when leaving a trap with some cat food in it would have done it overnight with no damage. You just can't help but think... "what kinda moron does that..." but I suspect that a good deal of it is done specifically for TV ratings. I wouldn't be surprised if the homeowners get reimbursed by the producers for letting him tear up their residences unnecessarily, it's also pretty clear that he does things just to get the pests riled up to attack him on the air... I mean if you watch him with bees he dresses in black instead of white, doesn't move slowly, beats on the hive... I mean come on, that's got to be intentional to get attacked and get ratings. It's likely that the money from the show is a lot better than the money from the jobs so they gotta do what they gotta do to make the show popular.
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