The following is a summary of the biology of Imparipes apicola as described in Cross and Bohart, 1992.
Female mites are phoretic on bee hosts, dropping off into new cells as they are constructed and provisioned. In the nest, this species is a fungivorous commensal, completing its life cycle in cells containing diseased or healthy bees. In cells containing healthy bees, foundress mites normally initiate ovogenesis only at the time of larval bee defecation. Fungus of the genus Ascosphaera is of fundamental importance to Imparipes apicola. This fungus is ingested by the developing bee larva and germinates in the gut, where it develops without harming the bee, and is passed in the feces, stringing the fecal pellets together in characteristic fashion. Its presence probably cues the initiation of ovogenesis in mite females, and it is also a primary source of mite food. Female mites overwinter in the bee cell and attach to emerging bees the following summer.
The mite egg hatches into the larva (the only immature stage). After molting, larvae develop ino either feeding females or non-feeding males, although most of the feeding occurs during the larval stage. In cells with healthy bees, mite larvae have usually been found on the fecal mass, where they appeared to be feeding, but in certain cells showing disease, especially those containing soupy pollen, they have been found more commonly in the upper portions of the cell. In healthy cells, they often appeared to feed from the sparse mycelia growing from the feces and along the cell walls, and especially from the thick strands characteristic of Ascosphaera.