Biology of the Bee Mite Species Trochometridium tribulatum
The host range includes andrenid, halictid, megachilid, and apid bees, as well as sphecid wasps and Coleoptera. Perhaps beetles become infested by mites dispersing from bees or wasps nesting in the same soil. The dispersing stage is the adult female. The female has a pair of internal sacs between legs III and IV that are termed sporothecae. Sporothecae contain fungal spores which are transferred by the mite to provisioned cells of ground nesting bees. So far the mite is known from the nests of bees of the genera of Calliopsis, Nomia, Halictus, and Anthemurgus. The bee egg or young larva dies in the infested cell as a result of development of the fungus and mites. Eggs are laid instead of being retained within the physogastric mother. These hatch into inactive larvae, which molt to males and females. The new generation of mites develops upon the fungal mycelium. The female is the only stage that feeds (Cross and Bohart, 1979; Lindquist, 1986; Neff and Rozen, 1995).
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