This genus is a pollen-feeding kleptoparasite in nests of bumble bees. Mites may be found in great numbers in active bumble bee colonies, moving rapidly over the nest floor, nectar pots, and brood cells where they feed on nectar and pollen. Female mites become phoretic on bumble bee queens in old nests, and overwinter with the queens in sheltered sites.
Feeding behavior of Pneumolaelaps longanalis is described in Royce and Krantz, 1989: Considerable numbers of wandering P. longanalis congregate in on the brood cells and larvae feed on pollen grains provided by the adult bumble bees. The mites strip the nectar coating applied by the foraging bee from the pollen grains, probably taking the pollenkitt with it. After feeding, the mite discards the stripped grain and quickly chooses another. Females have been found to process pollen grains twice as rapidly as males or deutonymphs. The mites may rupture the pollen grains in the feeding process and access nutrients this way as well.
Mites may also occasionally occur in beehives and in subterranean nests of small mammals.