Hemocytes of the honeybee (Apis mellifera), a babylonian confusion of tongues

  • C. Van Herzele
  • H. Nauwynck
  • D.C. de Graaf


In the last decade, alarmingly high honeybee mortality rates have been registered. This trend is problematic because honeybees play a crucial role in natural and agricultural ecosystems. These increased mortality rates have several causes with the varroa mite (Varroa destructor) as the most important cause. However, independently of its cause, the end result is the same: the honeybee’s immune system fails and the whole hive dies. To improve insights into this phenomenon, thorough understanding of the immune system is of major importance. The immune system protects the honeybee and the hive against the different causes of mortality. Despite the honeybee’s great importance and the substantial amount of scientific publications, research on their cellular immunity is still limited. In this article, the different hemocyte research obstacles are described, such as traumatic collection methods, lack of standardization and uncareful extrapolation (of insects and ages). Lastly, a short overview of the probable hemocyte types and functions is given.

How to Cite:

Van Herzele, C., Nauwynck, H. & de Graaf, D., (2022) “Hemocytes of the honeybee (Apis mellifera), a babylonian confusion of tongues”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 91(1), 3–10. doi:

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Published on
28 Feb 2022
Peer Reviewed