Genetics and resistance

At the individual level, subspecies and strains of honey bees are not equally susceptible to a given dose of AI (Ladas, 1972; Suchail et al., 2000). Moreover a colony is not genetically homogeneous because of the coexistence of half-sister workers. Part of the tolerance to insecticides is due to genes encoding detoxifying enzymes. However there are significantly fewer genes encoding three major superfamilies of these enzymes in Apis mellifera than in other insect groups such as drosophila. Thus the honey bee would have great difficulty to metabolize certain pesticides (Claudianos et al., 2006), making the resistance uncertain and non-uniform across races/subspecies.