Parasites can evolve phenotypically plastic strategies for transmission such that a single genotype can give rise to a range of phenotypes depending on the environmental condition. State-dependent plasticity in particular can arise from individual differences in the parasite's internal state or the condition of the host. Facultative parasites serve as ideal model systems for investigating state-dependent plasticity because individuals can exhibit two life history strategies (free-living or parasitic) depending on the environment. Here, we experimentally show that the ectoparasitic mite Macrocheles subbadius is more likely to parasitize a fruit fly host if the female mite is mated; furthermore, the propensity to infect increased with the level of starvation experienced by the mite. Host condition also played an important role; hosts infected with moderate mite loads were more likely to gain additional infections in pairwise choice tests than uninfected flies. We also found that mites preferentially infected flies subjected to mechanical injury over uninjured flies. These results suggest that a facultative parasite's propensity to infect a host (i.e. switch from a free-living strategy) depends on both the parasite's internal state and host condition. Parasites often live in highly variable and changing environments, an infection strategy that is plastic is likely to be adaptive.