Organisms living in large groups, such as social insects, are particularly vulnerable to parasite transmission.
However, they have evolved diverse defence mechanisms which are not only restricted to the
individual’s immune response, but also include social defences. Here, we review cases of adaptations
at the individual and social level in the honeybee Apis mellifera against the ectoparasitic mite Varroa
destructor and the endoparasitic microsporidians Nosema ceranae and Nosema apis. They are considered
important threats to honeybee health worldwide. We highlight how individual resistance may result in
tolerance at the colony level and vice versa.