neutral; lives in honey bee hives, where presumably feeds on pollen and debris; no harm to bees has been recorded

Name and classification

Tyrolichus Oudemans, 1924

Superorder Acariformes » Order Sarcoptiformes » Suborder Oribatida » Infraorder Desmonomata » Hyporder Astigmata » Family Acaridae » Genus Tyrolichus

Type species
Tyroglyphus casei Oudemans, 1910

Common synonyms
In older literature, Tyrolichus casei (the only species of the genus Tyrolichus) has been misidentified as Tyroglyphus siro auct. non Linnaeus, 1758, and Tyrolichus has been considered as part of Tyrophagus.

Common names
cheese mite


Adult: Setae ve situated near anterior lateral corners of prodorsal sclerite (Fig. 3). Setae ve barbed, about 40-50% of the length of vi (Fig. 3). Setae si longer than se (Fig. 3). All hysterosomal setae, including c1, longer than the distance to the next posterior seta (Fig. 4). Setae c1 barbed, positioned distinctly anterior to d1 (Fig. 4). Genu I with solenidia σ" and σ' subequal (Fig. 3). Tarsi without dorsal ridge (Fig. 6). All paraproctal setae (setae ad1-3 and ps1-3 surrounding anus) of female longer than the distance between them (Fig. 5).

Species identification

This genus includes only one species, Tyrolichus casei.


The only species in this genus, Tyrolichus casei, is probably cosmopolitan. Records from beehives are from the Holarctic and Oriental regions (Canada, England, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, both western and eastern parts of Russia, and India).

Bee hosts

honey bee (Apis) hives

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 together in each habitat in which Tyrolichus is found, including honey bee hives, where they presumably feed on pollen and beehive debris.
  • Phoretic deutonymphs are absent. Feeding stages disperse by active movements, air currents, or with a host.


This genus includes a single species, Tyrolichus casei. It has been found under bark, soil, decaying plant materials, bird and mammal nests, and stored food. Except for cheese (see below), infestation rate in stored food is relatively low. Tyrolichus does not form phoretic deutonymphs and disperses as feeding stages.

There are multiple records of Tyrolichus casei from beehives (Apis mellifera and Apis cerana) throughout the world. The mites can reproduce in considerable numbers (Delfinado-Baker and Baker, 1987) in debris from old combs. Under laboratory conditions, they prefer bee bread, pollen, beehive debris and, to a lesser extent, honey, dead brood bees, and mold; they did not reproduce on royal jelly or propolis (Chmielewski, 1991c).

In New Zealand Tyrolichus casei has been recorded as a major pest of the cheese industry, responsible for severe infestations of cheese in curing rooms (Robertson, 1946). In France and Germany this species has been historically used to produce "mite cheese:" Milbenkäse and Mimolette, for gourmet consumption. The mite is known to cause respiratory diseases to individuals handling infested cheese (Molina et al., 1974) as well as dermatitis (Hughes, 1976). In 2013 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restricted import of Mimolette cheese to the USA due to mite infestation.