In a Primbee field Louie Kelbert moves carefully through the hive boxes tending his bees. To Mr Kelbert, bees are not just honey makers, they are mirrors to the world.
"If bees die out, then humans will follow five years later because there will be nothing to pollinate the crops," he said.
"I see a lot of good things in bees and I actually learnt respect from them.
"If I didn't respect my bees, I wouldn't be alive for long because they would attack and kill, but if I respect them, they are happy with me; I learnt to respect humans the same way."
The Warilla man's passion for bees arose from his first sting at the age of eight when he was throwing rocks at a swarm, and the bees turned and attacked. For his ninth birthday his parents presented him with his first hive, which he still uses today.
"See they thought I was a strange kid because I never played with toys ... always had the interest for beehives and bees," Mr Kelbert said.
"I saw photographs in books and TV documentaries and I thought, 'wow, I would love to do that'."
He now keeps 3.5 million bees in 46 hives in a field owned by radio station 2KY neighbouring the Illawarra Golf Range and a reserve that is rich with flowering bee-friendly plants, such as tea tree, swamp mahogany, banksia and bitou bush.
Every morning he arrives to inspect the hives and spends the day in the field with his swarms of Caucasian, Carniolan and Italian bees, all sub-species of the Western honey bee. Saturdays are market day where he sells jars of his Kel-Bee Apiaries brand of pure honey at Kiama and Kembla Grange. But it is not in honey where Mr Kelbert makes his money.
The president of the Australian Beekeepers Association also sells artificially inseminated queen bees for between $20 and $600 each.
Mr Kelbert is stung between 50 and 120 times a day, depending on the swarm's mood, and says bee stings are good for cancer, arthritis, hepatitis and multiple sclerosis.