Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
General Description of the Bee Mite Genus ProctolaelapsThe genus Proctolaelaps includes nearly 90 described species. They occur in association with bark beetles, bumblebees and other insects, in nests of birds and mammals, in flowers visited by hummingbirds, in various decaying organic substances, or are synanthropic. Some species feed on small arthropods (including acarid mites), nematodes, fungi, or pollen (Nawar, 1992). Adults of other species are phoretic on insects, although Proctolaelaps nauphoetae (Womersley, 1956) is parasitic in all instars on cockroaches (Egan and Moss, 1969). Many species are cosmopolitan (Halliday et al., 1998).
Five species were recorded in association with nests of bumblebees or phoretic on the adult insects in Europe, Siberia, and Kuril Islands (Davydova, 1988; Karg, 1971; Klimov, 1998; Westerboer, 1963). All of them, except for Proctolaelaps sibiriensis (Davydova, 1988), were found in North America. Proctolaelaps pygmaeus, a widespread species living in a variety of habitats, including honeybee hives, is also given in the key below. In addition, Proctolaelaps bickleyi (Bram, 1956), Proctolaelaps scolyti Evans, 1958, and several unidentified Proctolaelaps species were reported from beehives in Iran (Kamali et al., 2001).