Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Immunity

Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract. 2021 Nov;37(3):521-533. doi: 10.1016/j.cvfa.2021.06.007.


At the individual level, honey bees (Apis mellifera) rely on innate immunity, which operates through cellular and humoral mechanisms, to defend themselves against infectious agents and parasites. At the colony level, honey bees have developed collective defense mechanisms against pathogens and pests, such as hygienic and grooming behaviors. An understanding of the immune responses of honey bees is critical to implement strategies to reduce mortality and increase colony productivity. The major components and mechanisms of individual and social immunity of honey bees are discussed in this review.

Keywords: Apis mellifera; Cellular immunity; Defense mechanisms; Honey bees; Humoral immunity; Innate immunity; Social immunity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bees
  • Immunity, Innate*