The Sweat Bee by Charlie O'Shields

So I decided to doodlewash something potentially creepy again. This time I tried to capture the likeness of Philippe’s arch nemesis. We’ve enjoyed slightly warmer weather lately and have been able to sit on our terrace at dinner. Unfortunately, we are continually joined by an unwanted dinner guest in the form of an insidiously persistent sweat bee.

The humorous part is that it’s usually just a single bee, though I know it’s likely always a different one, so it seems truly like being visited by the same one. Without fail, we’ll be sitting down to eat outside and Philippe will suddenly jump up from the table and spin around in a circle waving his arms. The evil sweat bee has returned to attempt to ruin another calm and relaxing evening.

When the sweat bee first showed up to dinner, Philippe would began by politely shooing it away with his hands as you might anyone who showed up to dinner uninvited. This seemed to work for awhile, but then the bee would return shortly after as though he thought he may have misread the signs and the shooing meant, “Why yes, that chair right… over… there! We’ve been saving it for you!”

Things took an ugly turn for Philippe and the guest-that-wouldn’t-leave when the sweat bee’s cousin had shown up drunk on sweat and “nearly” died on the deck. Phineas ended up stepping on it with his paw and got stung which caused him to limp for the next few hours. Seeing his baby in pain was the final straw for Philippe and the politeness immediately ceased. It was time for this villainous sweat bee to go away… permanently.

The battle began first with an Eco-friendly and, of course, dog-friendly spray. When the evil sweat bee would arrive, one of us was meant to quickly grab the bottle, while the other shielded the wine, and spray the beast. It was all so dramatic that in my haste to try it the first time I had the cap backwards and ended up spraying myself in the face. Philippe returned with, “OH! C’est pas vrai!” which translates to many things including “No way!”, “I don’t believe it!”, and, in this instance, “I can’t believe I married this idiot!”

The spray did nothing to deter the sweat bee who seemed to enjoy the fragrance, so it was time to up the ante. Philippe ran to the basement and came back with a little spray bottle I once bought for watercolor because I thought I might use it one day. He filled it with white vinegar and rushed back outside holding it like an undercover pocket pistol.

When the bee visited he spun around in circles spraying vinegar everywhere before stopping to ask, “Did I get it?” As the bee, completely unharmed, buzzed by my face I said, “No, but you did manage to douche the deck.” We sat back down to the smell of strong vinegar in our noses, and although the bee didn’t return, it was a shallow victory because everything we ate or drank now tasted like salad.

The evil sweat bee hasn’t returned since that incident so I think the smell was equally offensive to him. Either that, or he flew off to another outdoor dinner party where the hosts were more accommodating, actually invited friends over, and were not so weirdly violent.

Perhaps the bee is also somewhere nicer and he can now be found sitting by a luxurious pool sipping on a sweaty cocktail. He’s finishing his last sip and immediately getting angry with a pool boy who’s slow with his next drink, holding up his tiny little fists and shouting to the sun, “OH! C’est pas vrai!”

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

36 replies on “The Sweat Bee

  1. He looks angry and a little terrifying with the glare – and that yellow is wasp-dangerous! – but fascinating with the level of detail. Brilliant job as ever, Charlie! Such a hilarious story bar, of course, poor Phineas getting stung – oh no!! I too would have doused the entire neighbourhood in vinegar in that scenario. We had a dog before I was born who apparently tried to eat a bumblebee, and it stung inside his mouth. Doesn’t bear thinking about!

    I’d take a bee over a wasp any day, though – I get lots of those pestering around here. They are truly the definition of evil.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no!! Philippe is constantly worried Phineas will eat a bee because he always tries to nip them in his teeth. (Phineas…not Philippe) They swell up! Ugh! Yeah…bees are definitely preferred over wasps…wasps ARE pure evil! Glad you liked the doodlewash!!! Hehe 😃😃


  2. OMG – seriously laughing out loud! you are too much Charlie O!!! and that bee – crazy wild details! AMAZING! You are a one and only Charlie O! Even if you do spray yourself and cause French “cussing” from hubby! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Charlie! You need a insect zapper! It looks like a small tennis racket and is battery powered. When the bee comes in contact with the screen, it kills it with a small shock. 😳 Enjoyed your humorous story and your bee looks swarmingly grand! hehe! 🐝🎨🐝

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  4. Great painting (though it did resurrect a few scary childhood memories…which I have not thought of until now….’oh! the trauma!’ /giggle) and as always, adore your story telling…you are so gifted with imagery. Thank you for sharing a delightful tale.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Honey bees i don’t mind, but I had never encountered such an aggressive creature as the Sweat Bee before… it was scary and it stung! I can laugh now, but it made my first summer visit to see cousins quite memorable. ;D

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Fabulous doodlewash, Charlie–and what a hilarious story! I could just see it! I hope the sweat bees in your garden are preparing to have a nice, long sleep now that fall is well underway, and that you and Phillipe will be able to enjoy your deck a little bit longer.
    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful painting of an unusual subject (I liked the housefly, too!) and for making me smile with your story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Leslie!! 😃😃So happy you liked the story and doodlewash! And I don’t think the bees are done yet. One showed up tonight again…apparently the bees don’t have a version of social media or they would know our house is unfriendly to them. Looks like they’re going to wade it out until it freezes. 😎🐝


  6. Heh heh, wonderful story, Charlie, I’ll never forget it (may re-tell it for my friends, giving credit? LOL ) But oh, the first thing is your sketch of the bee — delighted with the fellow, the colors, and the gesture drawing of start to end; and I hope I can pull one out myself after your inspiration. Terrific!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow thanks David!! What a wonderful compliment! 😊😃 And feel free to tell the story… and no credit required, you can even embellish it a bit and change the names. Phineas could become a cat named Constantinople and the bee could become a rare giant, talking vampire mosquito!! Or not… maybe stick to the original as it doesn’t sound plausible that way. I mean, who the hell would name a cat Constantinople.


    1. That’s so sweet of you!! I tend to break the rules on these awards as I tell something about myself all the time, and I feature people daily…could never just choose 10! But thank you so much for the kind words and support for doodlewash! Have I got you making doodlewashes yet?! 😉😃

      Liked by 1 person

  7. ….how creepy, and how delightful….your partner shares my own aversion to bugs in general….my partner, Raul, is Filipino and when still living there (I brought him to Canada in 2007) I was creeped-out by the size of their cockroaches which are literally the size of my thumb. So one year when I arrived, he had bought me my own can of Raid (which I would have refused had I known he was getting it), and we tried it out on one HUGE cockroach, which, when sprayed went into such death throes and paroxysms it outdid Mimi in La Boheme, taking a good 15 minutes to finally croak. That creeped me out even more, so after that I simply looked the other way when I saw one. But…I confess to never having heard of a ‘sweat’ bee. If it is at all like your detailed painting, I wouldn’t even venture outdoors, much less try to have a picnic. Thank you for the entertaining story. I’m glad I’m not alone, and have Philippe to identify with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow!!! That cockroach story is terrifying, Lance! Lol… that would freak me out!! For some reason I’m okay with bugs if they stay smaller than thumb size…. after that they just too big! 😳 As for sweat bees…that’s a nickname for them, and look a lot less scary when they’re not the size of 6 thumbs! Lol

      Liked by 1 person

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