According to tradition, a swarm of bees settled on the face of the infant St. Ambrose, leaving a drop of honey and thus foretelling the saint’s eloquence—his honeyed tongue. He is the patron saint of bees and beekeepers.
A certain woman having some stalls of bees which yielded not unto her the desired profit, but did consume and die of the murrain, made her moan to another woman, who gave her counsell to get a Consecrated Host and put it among them. According to whose advice she went to the priest to receive the Host; which when she had done she kept it in her mouth, and being come home again she took it and put it into one of her hives; whereupon the murrain ceased, and the honey abounded. The woman there-fore lifting up the hive in due time to get the honey, saw there (most strange to be seen) a Chappel built by the Bees with an Altar in it, the walls adorned by marvellous skill of architecture, with windows set in their places, also a door and a steeple with bells. And the Host being laid on the Altar, the Bees making a sweet noyse flew round about it.
—Charles Butler: The Feminine Monarchie (1609); Butler was among the first to identify the queen bee as a (female) queen and not a (male) king.
Jacques I Laudin (1627-1695): Saint Ambrose