When multiple species coexist upon a single host, their combined effect on the host can be unpredictable. We explored the effect of phoretic mites on the reproductive output of the five-spined bark beetle, Ips grandicollis. Using correlative approaches and experimental manipulation of mite numbers we examined how mite load affected the number, size and condition of bark beetle offspring produced. We found that mites have both negative and positive consequences on different aspects of bark beetle reproduction. Females from which mites were removed were more fecund and produced larger offspring than females with mites, implying a cost of mite loads. However, when mites were present on females, those bearing the highest mite loads produced offspring that were larger and in better condition, indicating a beneficial effect of mites. These data suggest that phoretic interactions between mites and bark beetles differ over the course of the host's lifespan, with either the mites interacting in different ways with different life stages of the host (parasitic on adult, mutualistic with larvae), and/or the beetles being host to different mite assemblages over their lifetime.