parasite; feeds on hemolymph of developing bees inside capped brood cells

Name and classification

Tropilaelaps Delfinado and Baker, 1961

Superorder Parasitiformes » Order Mesostigmata » Suborder Monogynaspida » Hyporder Dermanyssiae » Family Laelapidae » Genus Tropilaelaps

Type species
Tropilaelaps clareae Delfinado and Baker, 1961

Common names
Asian bee mite

Species identification

Diagnostic morphological descriptions of species, along with DNA sequence data, are given in Anderson and Morgan, 2007.


Tropical regions of Asia (Southern and Southeastern Asia). One record is from Kenya.

Bee hosts

honey bees (Apis)

Host association level


associated exclusively with bees or their close relative, wasps; cannot live without these hosts


some life stages are associated with bees, while others are not

Facultative or opportunistic

can complete entire life cycle without bees or their close relative, wasps


Host associations, feeding, and dispersal

  • All stages live in beehives inside capped brood cells, where they parasitize developing bees by feeding on their hemolymph.
  • Mite females disperse on adult bees and are non-feeding during phoresy.


All stages of Tropilaelaps are permanent parasites of honey bee brood. Mites occur in beehives inside capped brood cells, parasitizing the developing bees by piercing their soft integument with chelicerae and feeding on the hemolymph. The foundress mite places three to four eggs on mature bee larvae (drones, workers, and queens) shortly before capping, and the progeny, usually a male (first to eclose) and several females feed only on bee brood. The entire life cycle takes about one week and the adults, including the foundress mite, emerge with the adult bee and search for new hosts. Mite females disperse on adult bees. They are non-feeding during phoresy since they cannot pierce the integument of adult bee with their unspecialized chelicerae. Gravid female mites die within two days unless they deposit their mature eggs (Sammataro et al., 2000).

Tropilaelaps cannot live sustainably in temperate regions because winter prevents honey bees from producing brood continuously, hence starving the mites.