William Bretherton – known as Billy the Exterminator – is an American reality TV star and pest exterminator. He was the main character in the “Billy the Exterminator” TV series that aired on A&E network, following his life and career.
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Early life, education, family
Billy Bretherton was born on 16 September 1968, in Louisiana USA – he has a younger brother Ricky. His parents are Bill and Donnie Bretherton, who raised him, and all members of the family appeared in the “Billy the Exterminator” series.
At the age of 19 Billy enlisted in the US Air Force, seeking a career in law enforcement. The military entry exam showed that he is good at biology, so he continued his education studying entomology and biology.
Billy’s career in extermination began at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada. Subsequently in 1996 with the support of his family he founded the company “Vexcon Animal and Pest Control” in Benton, Louisiana, just before he left Air Force as a Senior Airman.
The family lived in New Jersey when his father retired, and all his retirement money he invested in his sons who started the company.
His first TV experience was in the Discovery Channel’s series called “Dirty Jobs” with Mike Rowe in 2005: “Vexcon” episode in the first season and “Termite Controller” episode in the second season. In 2004 Pilgrim Film contacted the company and gave the idea to shoot for the Discovery Channel, “Vexcon” having been chosen from 200 companies.
That is how Billy was spotted by the television producers.
In 2009 “The Exterminator” started, but its name was changed during the first season to “Billy the Exterminator”. Billy’s mother, Donnie appeared as Vaxcon’s dispatcher, and other family members were part of the show as Vaxcon was a family business – even Ricky’s ex-wife appeared in the show. The series followed the brothers who travelled around, helping local exterminators.
In 2012 after six seasons the show was cancelled, with no more further explanations. However Billy moved to Illinois and left the company for personal reasons, so his fans thought that’s why the series ended. Meanwhile Donnie and Bill retired, and Ricky now manages the company. He also opened a YouTube channel in 2015 and started the series “Vexcon the Exterminators”, yet, he published just 17 episodes, and it didn’t attract many subscribers. In 2016 Corus Entertainment and Billy collaborated, and the “Billy Goes North” series started.
It was premiered in Canada first, then in the US continued as the seventh season of the “Billy the Exterminator”, but had only 12 episodes, filmed deep in the Canadian wild. Billy usually explains the environment in the episodes, gives information about the pests and the diseases connected with the species. The fans appreciate that during his work Billy was using organic pesticides and natural methods to relocate animals.
During the first show, in the main cast beside Billy’s parents and his brother Ricky, was also his wife Mary.
They have a son, Bryce. She left the show in the early seasons, so divorce rumors began, but they were never confirmed. On the contrary, Billy said that it was her decision to leave the show, and he just supported her. The couple was arrested in 2012 for marijuana possession, found in their room in Louisiana Boardwalk hotel in Bossier City as well as equipment for smoking it. Billy paid $500 penalty, did community work, and also agreed to routine alcohol and drug tests. He pleaded guilty, but all the charges against his wife were dropped.
— Monsters and Critics (@monstersandcrit) April 5, 2017
Mary is not his first wife. While in the Air Force in the 1980’s Billy had a short marriage, but that information from his private life he has never commented on.
During his fame as a TV star, Billy had income from the series as well as from his business as an exterminator. His net worth in those days was estimated at more than $500,000. The last couple of years Billy hasn’t been in the spotlight, so his net worth as of early 2020 isn’t known.
- Billy has interesting fashion style. He wears leather jackets, metal band T-shirts, cowboy hats and large silver jewelry. He is recognizable also by the sunglasses, but he wears them to protect his eyes from the camera light. The long hair is also Billy’s personal signature.
- He cut his hair only for the “Dirty Jobs”, just because his mother insisted. But she didn’t convince him to change the style and start wearing polo shirts.
- While doing his job Billy has often been stung by bees and wasps to which it turned out that he’s allergic. In the following years he overcame the allergies.
- The women caused too much drama, so Billy pushed them off the show. First was his former sister-in-law Pam, Ricky’s ex-wife. Than his wife Mary. They left the show at the beginning, in the season one.
- However his mother stayed. Donnie interferes in her sons’ lives, and doesn’t hesitate to say that she is not approving their choices of women. There were reports that actually she was one of the reasons why the marriage between Pam and Ricky didn’t succeed.
- At the beginning of the series he didn’t like the fact that the focus was on his family relationships and private life, instead of his work in extermination. He changed that later in the seasons, but the episodes weren’t as intriguing as before.
- Billy doesn’t like crowds. He avoids going to concerts and events, especially since he became famous. He is just not comfortable with so many people in one place.
- Two years before Billy and his wife were caught with marijuana, his brother Ricky was also charged with marijuana possession when stopped by the police for a routine traffic check. He was also fined for the traffic violation.
- Billy likes heavy metal music, and is fan of Black Sabbath and HIM.
- He hates fire ants, cockroaches and rats.