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Everything You Should Know About Cigarette Beetles

Pantry pests can be quite the annoyance in the home. The cigarette beetle, also known as the tobacco beetle or cigar beetle, is a common pantry pest. It is sometimes confused for other bugs that feed on dry goods. Knowing how to identify and eliminate a pantry bug infestation is important, especially if you want to keep your home clean.

Identifying Cigarette Beetles

Cigarette beetles are a common house pest and, despite their name, tobacco isn’t the only thing they infest. Cigarette beetles are 2-3 millimeters in length with a brown exterior. They can be confused with the common drugstore beetle, but the drugstore beetle has a “club” shape at the end of its antennae, which distinguishes it from the cigarette beetle.

Not Just Tobacco

Despite their very misleading name, cigarette beetles, or tobacco beetles, don’t only go after tobacco. They’re attracted to any kind of dry goods you may have in your home. This includes cereal, dried fruit, seeds, flour, and other dried animal products.

They’ll feed on, as well as lay their eggs in, any of these products. You can prevent them from getting into your food by using sealed airtight containers and keeping your pantry clean.

Are Cigarette Beetles Harmful?

Cigarette beetles don’t cause any harm to humans or pets, but they are still a nuisance pest that you wouldn’t want in your food, so it is best to get rid of them. No one wants to eat food that beetles have been crawling through, munching on, or laying their eggs in.

How Long Do Cigarette Beetles Live?

Adult cigarette beetles generally live for two to four weeks. The entire life cycle of a cigarette beetle – from egg, larvae, pupa to adult – can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks, depending on environmental conditions. The length of the cigarette beetle lifespan depends on environmental factors like temperature and humidity and access to a consistent food source. Ideal conditions for metamorphosis are a temperature of around 80 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity.

Adult female cigarette beetles lay between 10 and 100 eggs on food sources. After a few days, these eggs hatch into larvae that are cream-colored, cylindrical, and covered in tiny hairs. The larvae will feed on this food source for two to five weeks, molting several times as they grow. Next is the pupa stage, when they spin a cocoon and for the next eight to days they transform into adults.

  • How Can You Tell If You Have A Cigarette Beetle Infestation?
  • Here are several signs that you might be dealing with a cigarette beetle infestation:
  • You see these small, reddish-brown insects crawling around the items in your pantry or kitchen. If you see something flying, keep in mind that adults can be mistaken for small flies.
  • Cigarette beetles are attracted to light so you may see them around windows and light fixtures.
  • True to their name, you may find them inside cigarettes or cigars that have been stored for a long period of time.
  • Look for small, round holes in the packaging of food items like cereal, flour, and spices, which are signs that the beetles have been feeding on them and are chewing their way out.
  • You might notice cast-off skins from molting, pupal cases or fecal pellets.

Finding Infestations

The best way to inspect your pantry for a cigarette beetle infestation is to take a magnifying glass and a flashlight, and thoroughly look through each and every one of the food items inside your pantry. It may seem extensive, but it is the cleanest and most effective way to find infestations, besides calling pest control. If you find cigarette beetles or their larvae, all contaminated food items should be thrown away immediately.

“How do you get rid of cigarette beetles?”, you may ask. Well, the best way to start would be by getting rid of any infested food. The next step would be to clean your entire pantry and check for small cracks or crevices they may have come through.

After you make sure your pantry is clean, you can help prevent future infestations by regularly checking and cleaning your pantry. For total pest control services for your home, contact the professionals at Moyer Pest Control.

Give us a call at 215.799.2010 or fill out the form below and we will contact you.


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