Cigarette Beetle Facts
Also known as the tobacco beetle, these are pests of stored products all over the world. They get their name because they are a major pest of dried tobacco leaves, cigars, cigarettes, or chewing tobacco. They can cause a lot of damage, both physical and economical. They are often found in stored grain and seeds, packaged foods, and other commercial food products. These pests have been bothering humans for centuries. The cigarette beetle was even found in the tomb of King Tut.
Cigarette Beetle Bites
Cigarette beetles will not bite or sting people, although these little insects have been known to get into people’s hair and clothing. This pest causes the most damage in the pantry. It will eat almost any dried food product from spices to medicine. Cigarette beetles can also damage books and fabrics with their endless munching.
Cigarette Beetle Infestation
Adult females will lay up to 100 eggs in food products. These are white and oval-shaped, hatching after 6 to 10 days. Once the eggs hatch, larvae will burrow through the food, causing particular destruction and contamination in products like grain. The cigarette beetle will reach full maturity after 30 to 50 days and will live from 6 to 8 weeks.
When these beetles are disturbed, they will pull in their legs and head, and not move. You’ll find these resting in dark places, but once active, they will fly into open areas to seek another hiding place. The cigarette beetle is most active right after dusk and will continue to buzz around all through the night.
Adult beetles will not feed on food, instead ingesting liquids.
The cigarette beetle is often confused with the similar drugstore beetle. The difference between the two lies in their outward appearance. The cigarette beetle has antennae that are serrated like saw whereas the drugstore beetle’s antennae ends in a three-segmented club. The drugstore beetle also has rows of pits that give them a lined appearance, whereas the cigarette beetle lacks these, making them appear smooth.
Types of Cigarette Beetles
Cigarette Beetle Identification
The cigarette beetle is very small, measuring less than ⅛ inch and are reddish brown in color. Their heads are rounded and in the shape of an oval. This beetle has wings covered in very fine hair.
Cigarette Beetles In The House & The Garden
The cigarette beetle will cause immediate damage to food and other items, contaminating them with larvae, fecal matter, and other beetles. They will feed on the available food, and will also chew through cardboard containers and packaging. If cocoons are left in the products, these beetles may further infest food.
If there is an infestation, the beetle will be found in foods all across your home, not just in tobacco products. Flour, dried fruit, cereal, coffee, and other common cabinet items are susceptible to an invasion.
Non-food items that may get an unwanted visit from these pests include: dried plants, floral arrangements, wreaths, pills furniture, and bookbindings.
The cigarette beetle also produces yeasts containing B vitamins. This allows the beetle to survive on a variety of food, even those that lack nutrition, further allowing them to thrive.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tobacco Beetles
How do I get rid of cigarette beetles in the home?
In the home, you should be able to keep these beetles away with relative ease. First, locate the source of of the infestation. Items that are heavily infested should be wrapped in plastic and promptly discarded. Infestations may be killed by freezing or heating to kill all stages of growth.
To make sure another infestation does not occur, always clean up any food and keep storage areas sanitary. Storing food in airtight containers will also help.
You should not need an insecticide in most cases. However, if the problem persists or there is a large infestation, you may contact pest control professionals who have access to a wide variety of chemical treatments that should eradicate the beetles.
Benefits of Professional Cigarette Beetle Pest Control
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a cigarette beetle problem. Finding and treating the cigarette beetles can be challenging, especially if they are spread throughout your yard. A residential pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the cigarette beetle infestation.
RELATED BLOG POSTS: