What do you get when you take a fearless Texan and give her a hive of bustling honeybees? You get tasty homegrown SweetNes Honey.
It could have been the buzz of the honeybees surrounding the Wax Leaf Ligustrum shrub growing outside her Houston window. Or maybe it was watching them collect pollen on their tiny honey bee legs. Whatever it was, at 8 years old, Danessa Yaschuk was mesmerized. And the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed girl’s childhood would eventually inspire SweetNes Honey Apiaries & Beetique.
After receiving more stings than she could count, earning a degree in digital media design and getting married, Yaschuk literally sat up and decided to dip her toes in the art of beekeeping. Immersing herself in bee intelligence, the wannabe apiculturist quickly brought herself up to speed on the ins and outs of owning a hive.
To get started, the Texas native partnered with a hobbyist beekeeper to offer safe bee removal services in their community. Their services were highly sought-out as Yaschuk’s apiary grew quickly. For years now, she’s sold honey at a farmer’s market.
Up To Their Eyeballs in Honey
Yaschuk taught herself how to make candles and other beeswax products and eventually opened SweetNes Honey Apiaries & Beetique as a quaint candle shop on Etsy in 2015. The “Nes” part is what her family and friends call the apiarist, so she incorporated it into her brand. Six years later, Yaschuk, along with her husband Brent, are very happily up to their eyeballs in honey and own 250 hives throughout Texas.
“When I first started beekeeping, Brent 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,” says Yaschuk.
In between her bee wrangling duties, Yaschuk educates people of all ages the art of beekeeping and the impact honeybees and other pollinators have on our agriculture.
We wanted to know what this bee whisperer never leaves home without — also known as her Texas Essentials.
Because I’m working with stinging insects, it’s a good idea to always be suited up in the proper protective gear.
To avoid stings to my hands while working inside a beehive.
Pink Hive Tool
One of the most important tools of a beekeeper, hive tools crack the sealed up beehives so that we can work inside and easily move boxes or frames around.
To disorient the bees temporarily so that we can get into the hive safely.
To keep the hair out of my face. And it pushes the veil away to help protect me from facial stings.
Cover photo courtesy Danessa Yaschuk