These are generalist species occurring in a variety of habitats: rodent and bird nests, stored products (as a pest), house dust, grass and hay, and others. These mites have also been found in nests of social insects, including bees. Glycyphagus causes dermatitis, gastritis, and allergies in humans.
These mites are common in beehives, especially on debris from bottom boards. Infestation rates have been reported ranging from 20% (Grobov, 1978), to 98.8% (Chmielewski, 1991c), to 100% (Vitzthum, 1936). Often there are hundreds of thousands of mites in a single beehive. They feed on decomposing organic matter, stored pollen, beehive debris, and honey, but often prefer dead bees. Glycyphagus (Glycyphagus) domesticus and Glycyphagus (Lepidoglyphus) destructor are the most common and abundant species, while other species are much more rare [Glycyphagus (Glycyphagus) ornatus, Glycyphagus (Lepidoglyphus) privatus, and Glycyphagus (Lepidoglyphus) michaeli]. In Poland, Glycyphagus domesticus has been found to be the most common species of all mites, occurring in 98.8% of samples (Chmielewski, 1991c), while G. destructor was found only in 4.9% of samples. In German beehives, these two species occurred at nearly the same frequency (Homann, 1933).
Under laboratory conditions, Glycyphagus domesticus preferred bee bread, pollen, mold, and beehive debris, followed by combs and wax, honey, propolis, and dead bees; no reproduction occurred on royal jelly. In contrast, G. destructor preferred dead brood bees, mold, and beehive debris (Chmielewski, 1991c).