… Charles Butler in his 1609 book The Feminine Monarchie*,
But Hony they gather all the yeere: save onely in those 3 still moneths, when the weather keepeth in both Bees and flowers. And it is of two sorts: the one pure and liquid, the other grosse and solid, which we may by like reason tearme Ambrosia. For both serve for the food of the divine creatures.
The grosse hony is gathered by their fangs: from whence it is conveied by the fore-legs to the thighs of the hinlegs, and that so mimbly, that unlesse you have a quick eye, you can scarce perceive it.
Anent this leg-stuffe or grosse hony there is generall error. For, without all scruple or doubt, men doe count it and call it wax. But against (as I shall shew you) both sense and reason.
If you put it on your tongue, it hath the taste of hony: which wax hath not. If you feele it between your warme fingers, it muttereth apart: where wax sticketh fast together. If you put it to the fire, it melteth not, as wax doth. And whereas wax is all of one colour, white at the first, even as those little fallings of the new swarms (which is wax indeed) this leg-honie is of divers colours, white, blacke, yellow, greene, red, tawny, orange, murry, and of sundry middling colours. Therefore sense doth say it is no wax.
*The full title of Butler’s wonderful book is, The Feminine Monarchie: or The Historie of Bees SHEWING Their admirable Nature, and Properties, Their Generation, and Colonies, Their Government, Loyaltie, Art, Indistrie, Enemies, Warres, Magnanimite, &c. TOGETHER With the right ordering of them from time to time: And the sweet profit arising thereof.