But at least you got $300 dollars for your time, even if they are tainted with chemicals. ;)
I've been there done that. I have shown up at locations after being called out to find piles of dead bees from a homeowner spraying the bees. They called me to "save" the bees as their first efforts failed.
I now ask the right questions, pass on anything with red flags, and realize that half of the extractions are a waste due to SHB infestation, previous poisoning, or other factors. If the homeowner is not willing to pay, I'll happily pass it on to another beekeeper far less concerned about taking money out of his families pocket or putting food on the table.
Here is an outline I stay away from.
1) Homeowner calls pesticide company. They quote a price of $500 dollars.
2) Homeowner realizes that 6 dollars in spray is a big savings.
3) Homeowner calls beekeeper (says nothing about the spray), and wants to "save" the bees for the goodness of the planet.
Here is the result.
1) Pesticide company loses nothing. They have no cost.
2) Homeowner spent 6 dollars.
3) Beekeeper spend half a day for tainted honey and a cluster contaminated.
That is why I prefer this.....
1) Pesticide company loses nothing.
2) The homeowner saves $200 by calling the beekeeper.
3) The beekeeper gets the colony and is paid for his effort and hardwork.
I would not be giving any of that honey to my kids..... ;)