Cigarette Beetle can be found in: All 50 States
Size: 1/10 inch
The cigarette beetle is native to Egypt. In fact, a beetle was found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb! In the 3,500 years since, it has hardly changed.
The female produces about 100 eggs, which are deposited on or near the available food supply. These eggs then hatch within 6-10 days. The wormlike larvae are slightly smaller than the adult beetles. Larvae are creamy white except for the yellow head and brown mouth parts. Larvae become full grown in about 40 days. The entire life cycle can be completed in 45-50 days, and there may be 3-6 overlapping generations per year in warmer climates, while one generation per year might be seen in more temperate locations.
As its name implies, the cigarette beetle is a pest of dried tobacco either in the stored, bundled form or in cigars, cigarettes, and chewing tobacco. This particular species infests tobacco wherever it is stored but is also found infesting many homes. It also feeds on the bindings and leaves of books. The larval stages of the cigarette beetle can feed on a variety of stored products including grain, cereal products, pet foods, rat and mouse baits, pasta, ginger, raisins, rice, dates, pepper, dried fish, drugs, belladonna, dried flower arrangements and seeds. The larvae have been known to feed on upholstered furniture, particularly stuffing. The adult Cigarette Beetle can also feed on pyrethrum powder that is strong enough to kill cockroaches! A serious pantry pest, their range of food makes them difficult to control. There have been larval infestations in dried flower arrangements, causing the flowers to drop or all the petals to fall.
Flour beetles attack milled grain products such as flour and cereals. These beetles often hitchhike into the house in infested flour and can build up into large populations on food accumulations in cabinet cracks and crevices and in furniture.
The first step in control of the cigarette beetle is to find the source of the infestation. This means inspecting all of the dried foods in the infested cabinets or drawers. Once the infested material is found, it should be destroyed or frozen for 5-10 days. Clean all the cabinets and drawers with a vacuum cleaner (then throw the cleaner bag away!).