In what could be their last year of production (should things not go Obama's way in November), the White House bees delivered a healthy 175 pounds of honey for 2012. 


Since 2009, Michelle Obama has kept a beehive — a first for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. — to go along with her 1,100-square-foot vegetable garden on the South Lawn. The honey harvested by now-retired White House carpenter and bee keeper Charlie Brandts has been used by the White House kitchens, given away as gifts to foreign leaders and guests, and more recently, been revealed as a primary ingredient in the homebrewed White House Honey Ale.


"These bees on the South Grounds are such sweet bees," Brandts said in a 2009 NY Times interview. "I don't know if it's because they are down there by themselves or they are just the best bees."


During a tour for the Association of Food Journalists earlier this month, White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses revealed this year's yield, down from the record 225.5 pounds received last year, but still very much in line with 2009 (134 pounds) and 2010 (184 pounds).


Analysis of the honey last year by Texas A&M University revealed the dominant pollen source as clover — along with dogwood, cherry, crepe myrtle, elm, magnolia trees, honeysuckle and even poison ivy.


To learn more about the White House bees, which number nearly 70,000, check out the video below.

Related White House garden story on MNN: Will the White House embrace backyard chickens?

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

White House bees deliver 175 pounds of honey
White House bees deliver 175 pounds of honey. This year's sweet crop is down from 2011's record production, but it's still a healthy yield from the nation's fir