Med. Weter. 74 (7), 426-433, 2018

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Individual and social immune mechanisms of the honey bee (Apis mellifera)
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are constantly exposed to contact with many types of pathogens. However, during evolution they developed a number of immune mechanisms. At the individual level, they comprise 1) resistance mechanisms associated with anatomical and physiological barriers of the body, 2) cell-mediated immunity involving hemocytes (including plasmocytes, lamellocytes, and granulocytes), 3a) congenital humoral resistance related to the activity of lysozyme (N-acetylmuramylhydrolase), the prophenylooxidase system (ProPO) and hemagglutinins (lectins), and 3b) induced humoral resistence based on the action of antimicrobial peptides: apidicines, hymenoptecin, and defensins. In addition to the individual resistance of each bee, there is also a defense mechanism activated at the colony level. Shared secretion resistance is connected with the presence of antipathogenic compounds in secreta and in bee products. Social immunity is associated with hygienic and nursing behaviors, as well as with age polyethism in the colony, swarming (and the emergence of rebel workers), and the changing behavior of sick individuals. Many aspects and interactions between different types of resistance and immunity still remain unexplored. However, current research trends revolve around clarifying uncertainties so as to strengthen the natural resistance of bees and fight against pathogens that threaten the insects..
Key words: Apis mellifera, individual resistance, social immunity