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Cigarette Beetles: 4 Interesting Facts & 2 Effective Repellents

Cigarette beetle isolated on the white.

Identifying cigarettes beetles

Lasioderma serricorn is the scientific name for cigarette beetles, which belongs to the family of Anobiidae. These beetles are commonly known for attacking tobacco. Hence they are also called tobacco beetles and cigar beetles. In appearance, the cigarette beetles resemble closely to drugstore beetles, and people often get confused between the two. However, the cigarette beetle is more common in households as compared to the drugstore beetles.

1. Appearance and size

Cigarette beetles larvae are hairy, white and oval-shaped. The Adult cigarette beetles are small, oval-shaped, reddish- brown colored insects. They are cylindrical and around 2-3 mm long. The head is bent downwards, at almost a right angle to their whole body, making it seem headless when viewed from above and giving the beetle a humped-back appearance when seen from the side. The wing covers of the tobacco beetles are shiny, smooth and not striated, but their wing punctures are much weaker as compared to the drugstore beetle. L. Serricorn has saw-like antennae of 11 segments. The thickness of the antennae is uniform from the base to the top.

2. Behavior and habits

As the name suggests, tobacco beetle is an important pest of all forms of stored tobacco, from chewing tobacco and cigarettes to bales and hogsheads of it. Even though cigarette beetles love tobacco, most of the time they can be found in any item of foods and seasoning, flour, rice, ginger, sage, cereals and even animal food. This pest also feeds on dried non-food products such as paper items (books and books bindings), furniture stuffing, dry flower arrangements, canvas painting, stuff made from straw, cotton, and much more.

They even feed on rat poison and pyrethrum powder which is strong enough to kill cockroaches. Cigarette beetles also do damage to medicinal drugs. These beetles are a significant and common problem in stored tobacco industry. People who have a hobby to collect tobacco will undoubtedly face this menace of a problem. Cigars and cigarettes which have been fed on by the tobacco beetles have holes eaten through the tobacco.

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Cigarette beetles crawl while feeding, the adult beetles put their wings to good use by flying. These beetles are good and strong fliers which make them a bit hard to handle. Light particularly attracts cigarette beetles. These beetles are most active on cloudy days and in early evening hours. A fun fact about cigar beetles is they play dead for a while when they are disturbed.

3. Reproduction and lifecycle

The female cigarette beetle lays up to 50-100 eggs in a span of three weeks. These beetles lay the eggs in or on a food material that it infests on. The eggs then hatch in one or two weeks, and the newly born larvae nourish on anything it attaches itself on. The larvae then eat and become fully grown in 30-50 days. Then comes the pupal stage in which they pupate themselves in silk like cocoons, made from the things they have nourished on previously. The pupal stage lasts up to 10 days, depending on the temperature and available food sources. The development of cigarette beetles slows down in cooler temperature and stops when the temperature drops below 65 F. The adult beetles live up to 2-6 weeks. The female cigarette beetle dies immediately after laying her eggs. The entire life cycle of cigarette beetles, from eggs to reproducing adults, may take up to 30-90 days.

Adult beetles carry a symbiotic yeast, Symbiotraphrina kochii, in an organ that links to their gut called the mycetome. During reproduction when the female cigarette beetle passes her eggs through the ovioduct this yeast attaches itself to the egg and when the egg hatches, the larvae consumes this yeast to make their mycetome immune. The yeast helps the larvae survive on small food sources by supplying them with vitamin B and resistance to a few toxins.

4. Signs of cigarette beetle infestation

The surest sign of a tobacco beetle infestation is the adult beetles, often recognized as small brown beetles. Another indication of a cigarette beetles’ infestation is holes in the packaging and powdered form of the material coming out of the holes. Because of their endless munching, cigarette beetles eat their way through their food source and leave holes while exiting the material.

The very first thing you should check on while investigating a cigarette beetle infestation is tobacco products. The other stuff that they infest upon includes food product like rice, flour, sage, ginger, dog food, raisins, herbs, cereals, dates, cottonseed, oilseeds, spices, as well as non-food household items like insecticides, pesticides, dry flower arrangements, and much more. Since it is hard to observe these beetles, you use the help of a flashlight and magnifying glass for the inspection.

How to get rid of cigarette beetles

If you are sure that cigarette beetles have infested your house, then there is no need to panic. You can solve this problem by adopting the following methods:

1. Non-chemical control

  • Inspect and discard:

The first step is to take a closer look and inspect the things that have been infested by the cigarette beetles. You can easily identify the infestation by seeing if the thing has holes in its packaging and if debris is coming out of the holes. Check each and every item that was damaged by the cigarette beetles. You can also consult the list of items mentioned above.

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Discard all the infested material. For cautionary purposes, seal the undamaged material in air-tight containers, so the cigarette beetles will not be able to reach it in the future. Another thing that you can do is freeze those items that seem to be only at the starting point of the infestation, as we have mentioned above the beetles cannot survive the cold temperature and usually die within six days.

  • Clean and Vacuum:

Vacuum working for cleaning the house.Vacuum working for cleaning the house.When you are done removing the infested material, clean the shelves and cabinets thoroughly. Often, the cigarette beetles migrate and hide in the little cracks, and because of their small size, they are very hard to find. Therefore, every nook and cranny should be wiped clean.

  • Use pheromone traps:

Pheromone traps are also useful as they include sex hormones which attract male cigarette beetles. These pheromone traps are useful in catching these beetles and keeping track of the infestation.  Place only a couple of traps in your infected area, and you are good to go.

2. Chemical control

  • Use Insecticide Aerosols:

For an immediate and a long-term solution you can use chemicals as well. After cleaning the shelves and cabinets, use insecticide aerosols before placing the stuff back on the shelves. If the area infested by the cigarette beetles is small or moderate, then aerosols are the tool you need. For larger areas, we would recommend using concentrations.

They help to combat the cigarette beetle problem easily, and you will not have to worry about the beetles returning and re-infesting your home. If the cigarette beetles damage bales and hogsheads of tobacco beetle then, you can also contact the American Pest Control and have them fumigated the area with methyl bromide.

Most effective cigarette beetle repellents

1. Pro-Pest pantry moth traps

Features:

It is a pack of pheromone traps which is extremely useful in catching the cigarette beetles which have been the unwanted guests in your house for a very long time.

How-to-use:

Every package of Pro-Pest Pantry moth traps contains six traps, packed in plastic sleeves. Take the traps out of the plastic sleeves and fold them into triangles. Place or hang these traps all over your house, and ta-da, your problem is solved. Since the pheromones are laden in glue, the beetles will stick to them and won’t be able to escape.

Benefits:

These traps are extremely effective. The pheromones attract the male moth and male cigarette beetle, plus they also disrupt the mating process.

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2. Demand CS insecticide

Features:

top professional Pest Control ProductsIt is a water-based insecticide concentrate which is an amazing indoor and outdoor pest control. It has micro-encapsulated technology which leaves thousands of particles that bind themselves to the applied surface and provide a long-term effective protection from infestation.

How to use:

To make the solution, mix this insecticide with water and apply it on the affected surface. Let the solution dry for 30 mins before using the surface. Once the solution dries, the rest will be taken care of by the Demand CS Insecticide.

Benefits:

This insecticide knocks out the insects instantly and is a reliable product. You can use it in a variety of places, and its effect will always be the same.

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