The insect immune system reacts against invading microorganisms and parasites with the recruitment of haemocytes and with humoral response. Cellular immune reactions involve phagocytosis, nodule formation and encapsulation by different types of haemocytes whereas insect cell-free antibacterial immunity depends on the production of a number of peptides and proteins, among which lysozyme, cecropins and attacins represent the major group of immune proteins. Polydnaviruses from certain hymenopterous parasitoids interfere with both host immunity and host development. These immunosuppressive viruses exhibit an intimate genetic relationship with the parasitoid since viral sequences are integrated within the parasitoid chromosomal DNA. The viral genes expression in parasitized host induces immunosuppression and alters development of the host insect. The parasitoids developing in the host body cavity knock out the insect immune system, inducing a decline in cellular and humoral components of the immune system so that parasitoid eggs are not recognized as foreign and thereby are not encapsulated. Polydnaviruses carrying parasitoids escape the host immune response and may develop within the insect host whereas other invaders are normally destroyed by defense factors of insect haemolymph.