Well I promised you part two of my writings and opinions on Billy The Exterminator and how he’s viewed in the industry and here it is. If you haven’t read part one yet click this link and see how this was first brought up. I also have another article which many of his fans have chimed in on and the comments seem to say it all for them. My question in the first place was about the way Billy presents himself physically and nothing else. You have to admit he definitely stands out in a crowd and being that he is now a de-facto ‘face’ of the industry- I simply wondered out loud if this was a good thing and compared it to something else that I think also should be in question but is seldom addressed. You decide.
After I did part one I put forth the same question I asked you on a few pest control forums and the reactions were mixed. Some pros had no problem with Billy’s looks and felt that judging other people was actually worse than any outward appearance. Others were just as strong and hold very pointed views and believe it does nothing but set our craft back. I’m not one to cast a bunch of stones and your opinion is just that, yours. BUT.
What Does Bug Me
While I am impressed with the show and all the situations the cast gets themselves in there is one aspect where I can feel myself cringe every time I see it. While I’ve always been taught and teach to be very careful with insecticides and sprays, Billy doesn’t seem to be so judicious. Scenes where he is fighting yellow jackets with bug bombs being tossed like grenades and he and his brother are blasting both sides of a nest inhaling the clouds of aerosols just doesn’t seem right. Now, I’ve been around awhile and if you read some of my articles you’ll see I’ve had my share of sloppy moments particularly with bee work where it’s “get them before they get you.” However in watching the show you can see this approach in many jobs and this is what has me concerned.
Spraying open refrigerators with gobs of eugenol oil, soaking walls for roaches and spiders, never wears a respirator or gloves, taping the trigger of canned aerosols on a pole which is 1/2 way dispensed by the time he gets it away from his face and to a nest of bees in a tree, running back and forth on roof tops through clouds of spray and even in his television debut of Dirty Jobs where he sprayed into a cabinet with dishes and did some questionable termite work.
Now I realize it’s just clove oil he uses most of the time and he is all to happy to talk about the virtues of the chrysanthemum flowers which make up his aerosol attack. However, what image does this send to the average home owner when they think of professional pest control? I don’t know about you but I get more questions about Billy from my customers than anybody else-that includes the cast of the Verminator’s show which also is on TV. Also, since I offer a Ask The Bug Doctor feature on my blog you’d be amazed at the many requests I get for eugenol oil recipes from readers. Do they want to hose down their walls too? Will they chuck a fogger into a room filled with bees and then march inside in t-shirts and no mask or protection? After-all, they’ve watched him do it.
The Benefit Of Doubt
I do not know Billy Bretherton, I have not worked with him. I like you can only form an opinion on him from the show and perhaps his web site. I do know that he is very smart, not from what he says so much on the show but the mere fact he is an Associate Certified Entomologist and has other achievements in learning which a majority of technicians across the country don’t. For me, this says volumes about him and anybody else who takes the time and effort to learn so much.
Another aspect which I wasn’t so aware of came to me while researching this topic. I came across several articles about reality based TV and how it’s not so real. Producers are in the business of selling soap and if something is boring and you click the remote, ‘no soap for you’. (Seinfeld reference-sorry) Another great article I came across deals directly with our subject and it was by Pete Grasso of PMP magazine. He interviewed Billy’s counterpart Mike Masterson co-owner of Isotech and star of Verminator’s and this very topic was addressed. These are partial quotes from the article Pete did and I urge you to read it-just follow this link.
Being portrayed as the old-fashioned exterminator and having the industry portrayed in a negative light was our main worry,” Masterson says (Mike Masterson star of the show)
“It’s television, so we have to air stuff that’s going to keep the viewers coming back, and we just don’t have time to air every single moment of every single proper procedure,” Boyle says. (The shows producer Joe Boyle)
The conversation and the worry for Mike and his partner was the image of not only his company but the industry as a whole. He acknowledged that many production companies put on a show just for the shows sake and images were not on the forefront of this highly profitable venture. (profit for the show) They specifically checked out 4 such companies and went with a firm that understood what they wanted to be accomplished and for them, they found a way to make it work and still keep the viewers attention.
Is it then just a show to keep you tuned in with antics and hair raising adventures? There definitely seems to be truth to the facts that it is working because the show has been renewed for another year and has plans of expanding. Is this good enough for you and does it help to know that other forces may be at work to promote this highly successful show? Is the fact that things are left out or perhaps purposely put in make any difference or is there no room for the benefit of doubt?