Meet Founder of SweetNes Honey Apiaries Danessa ‘Nes’ Yaschuk!
We were recently given the opportunity to meet with husband and wife duo Brent and Danessa ‘Nes’ Yaschuk of SweetNes Honey Apiaries and explore their beekeeping and honey production operation located in Damon, Texas. It was an amazing and educational experience for the kids who were able to participate. SweetNes Honey Apiaries owner Nes grew up in Houston and started a beekeeping business to save the bees and to educate the next generations on the importance the honeybees and other pollinators have on our ecosystem.
How It All BEEgan:
My fascination with bees began when I was eight years old. Our home in Houston, Texas, had a Wax Leaf Ligustrum shrub right outside our kitchen window. Every spring it would be buzzing with honeybees and other mesmerizing pollinators. I could spend hours watching them, and I soon discovered a passion for catching and releasing bees. I would use Ziplock bags to catch the bees and pop them into large plastic coke bottles (dry of course) with holes poked in them. I would keep count of how many I could get. Through my youthful scientific observations, I learned they were collecting the pollen from the flowers and storing it on their legs. My curiosity often resulted in my mom telling me to stop playing with the bees after doctoring up my many stings. Yet every time I would run back out to catch more. My friends would sit far away on the sidewalk to watch. I don’t know why they never wanted to catch bees with me?! By then, all of my friends and family referred to me as “Nes” or “Nessa” and I remember joking that if I ever owned a boat, I would name it SweetNes. The year was 1988 and I had never really heard much about beekeeping or beekeepers, nor did I really understand what they did. Never could I have imagined how the name SweetNes would come into play in the future!
Fast forward many years later, after school, college and many different jobs, I met my future husband Brent. We married and eventually moved to the suburbs of Sienna, in Missouri City, where we expanded our family with two super cute little boys and a dog named Sketch. I was working as an office manager and although I liked my job, it was not my passion. I hated being stuck indoors behind a computer screen on beautiful days. One evening while sitting in bed working on my laptop, I sat up and blurted out to Brent, “You know what I really want to do? I want to be a beekeeper!” Total silence. Then he looked at me like I had grown a third eye. He thought I was crazy.
I started studying everything I could find about bees and beekeeping. I followed beekeepers on social media, collected books and joined all the local bee clubs I could find. I attended the Fort Bend Beekeepers Association and convinced a senior beekeeper to mentor me. He reluctantly did so. He was a grumpy guy, but I ran full speed ahead and caught my first swarm of bees in my own backyard! I was officially a beekeeper! By the end of the week, I had two, and by the end of the month I had six hives. I partnered up with another hobbyist beekeeper and we started providing bee removal services to our community. We did professional cutouts and repairs to safely remove the bees. Doing this resulted in our apiary growing rapidly. We continued doing bee removal for a few years. Meanwhile, Brent and I started a farmer’s market in our community and sold honey there as well. I bought a large block of beeswax from my mentor and started teaching myself how to make candles and other beeswax products.
My beautiful candles smelled amazing so I decided to create an Etsy shop to see if they would sell. I had to come up with a name for my shop and I already knew that SweetNes would be a part of it. SweetNes Honey Apiaries & Beetique was born in 2015.
Challenges Come With Opportunity:
Our apiary was located on someone else’s property. Unfortunately, their property completely flooded during Hurricane Harvey and we lost over half of our bees. We decided to take the plunge and move to an acreage in Damon, Texas where we could rebuild and grow the business. We quickly built up our apiary and then some. I became the Vice President at the Fort Bend Beekeepers Association going on two years now. One of our members announced that they were retiring and selling off their entire honey business. My husband, being the entrepreneur that he is, jumped at the opportunity, and the next thing I know ‘HE’ is buying the business! Who is crazy now!? We went from 50 hives to 150. Never in a million years did I, or Brent, think that HE would become a beekeeper! HA! When I first started beekeeping, he got involved with the business side of it, but definitely not the bee side of it. Today he is elbow deep in bees with me and loves selling honey on the side of the road. We make a pretty good team overall. He is the analytical ‘big picture’ and numbers guy, while I am more creative, detail oriented and ‘it’s the small things that matter’ person. We harmoniously balance each other out.
Unique Selling Points:
Here at SweetNes Honey Apiaries & Beetique we take pride in offering an array of all-natural high-quality products straight from our beehive. Pure raw unfiltered wildflower, clover, Tallow and Huajilla honey to name a few, creamed honey in an assortment of flavors, organically infused honey, honey sticks, fresh cut comb, pollen, natural beeswax in bulk, beeswax candles, balms and many other bee-made and bee-themed items. We do all of our own beekeeping and honey production. We are a family owned and operated Honey Farm, Honeybee Rescue and Beetique.
Our sweet products can be found on our website at www.sweetneshoney.com or on Etsy at SweetNes Honey Beetique. We do doorstep deliveries ourselves to local places. If you are further away, we will promptly ship it to you. You can also find our products in many retail locations as well: Jr’s Texas Best Smokehouse, Needville Feed & Supply, Select HEBs, Novak’s Meat Market, Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse, Hinze’s Country Kitchen, Silver Sycamore, Home Studio 6, Wharton Feed & Supply, and more. You can also catch us from time to time at local farmers markets, Blessington Farms as well as Dewberry Farm. We love getting out and mingling with people and letting everyone try our products. If you ever have any questions about a specific product, where it’s available or just want to chat, give us a buzz at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever wondered how honey is made? How bees work together inside their beehives? Or what exactly a beekeeper does? Well now you can experience just that! SweetNes Honey Apiaries & Beetique offers ‘Bee-a-Keeper Tour’ where you can explore all things bees! From bees and beekeeping to hive tools and honey – we will show you in detail what we do. You will be able to don a beekeeping suit, light a smoker and look deep inside an active beehive. You are free to take as many pictures and silly selfies with the honeybees as you like! People of all ages are welcome to come and tour our Honey House, where we process our honey, stroll the apiary here on site and learn about bees. We also have some adorable other furry friends roaming around waiting to be loved. Whether you are interested in becoming a beekeeper, or you just to want to fulfill an item off your bucket list, we are here to help!
Our passion for bees goes much further than just harvesting that beautiful golden honey. We offer honeybee educational presentations to schools, boy and girl scout troops, small groups, networking events, environmental day events, corporate business events, families and even parties. We bring in an observation hive with live honeybees at work so that adults and children alike can take a peek inside the honeybee hive to see what the bees are up to. We bring items they can see, smell and touch, such as beekeeping equipment, products from the hive and even some honey sticks to take home. We want to teach as well as inspire creativity and a love for nature. We strive to bring awareness for our buzzy, fuzzy friends, the pollinators, and how important they are to our food supply and overall ecosystem.
Photos by Be Captured by Christina follow her on instagram @be_captured_by_christina