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How To Control Cigarette Beetlescigarette beetle

Dried stored foods and products are all at risk for being invaded by pantry pests and the same is the case for tobacco, which has a bug which specifically targets dried tobacco leaves, cigars, cigarettes, or chewing tobacco. That bug is the cigarette beetle, which has invaded human dwellings and food storage areas for a very long time.

Oval-shaped, brown in color and between 1/8th of an inch long, cigarette beetles closely resemble the drugstore beetles. Cigarette beetles are not limited to just tobacco products as they will invade packaged foods and grains as well. Cigarette beetles seem to munch endlessly, eating seeds, seasonings like pepper and paprika and dried flower arrangements.

Cigarette beetles can be a bit tough to control with insecticides because they are also known to eat pyrethrum which is the main active ingredient found in a variety of pesticides. Cigarette beetles commit most of their damage while they are in their larvae stage. Female cigarette beetle can lay up to 100 eggs on the food sources where they gather at and when hatched, the larvae become hungry insatiable destroyers. Adult cigarette beetles are tremendous flyers and can come into the house and begin creating havoc in pantries.

If you’re concerned by an invasion of cigarette beetles, Solutions Pest and Lawn has the professional-grade products as well as helpful how-to advice to rid these pests once and for all.


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How to Get Rid of Cigarette Beetles: Solutions 4 Step Process:

If you have a cigarette beetle infestation, there is no need to panic because they can be managed with the right control and treatment approach. At Solutions Pest & Lawn we recommend a solid plan of action which includes a thorough sanitation of your pantry, chemical treatments and removal of infested and contaminated food. We have simple steps you can follow to eliminate cigarette beetles which you can follow below.


Step 1:  Identify the source of the infestation and remove the product immediately from your pantry or storage area. We also recommend that all already opened food containers you have be stored in airtight containers made of hard plastic. By doing this step you can prevent further infestation. You will need to completely empty out your pantry and check EVERYTHING. Completing this step properly and being thorough in your approach is half the battle. For the best possible results in eliminating an infestation, we suggest tossing everything in your pantry, even unopened new containers. Don't leave anything to chance.


Step 2:  Once you have decluttered your pantry and removed unwanted foods and foods you feel are infested, vacuum and clean the shelves and surfaces of the pantry. If necessary, use caulking on the cracks and crevices of the shelves and apply fresh paint.


Step 3: Apply a residual insecticide spray. An easy to use aerosol like Novacide Flea & Tick Killer or CB PCO Insect Fogger are excellent options then follow up with an Insect Growth Regulator Gentrol Point Source IGR, which is also available in an aerosol spray and has a crack and crevice tip for easy application.


Step 4: Finally, install pheromone specific traps to both capture cigarette beetles and monitor future pantry pest problems should they occur. These traps can attract and lure these beetles and has a glue that will trap them and can easily be disposed of. By capturing the adults you will prevent them from laying eggs and creating a new generation of contaminators.


Following these steps carefully and being thorough in your approach will ensure that cigarette beetles will no longer be a problem. Browse our cigarette beetle products below and as always you can contact us if you are in need of suggestions or advice, we are always available either via live chat, phone or email.


Learn More About The Cigarette Beetle

Cigarette beetles are a common pantry pest that is less than 1/8th of an inch and length and are reddish brown in color. Adult cigarette beetles have the ability to fly and they are drawn to areas where there is light.  


Cigarette beetles are often mistaken to be the drugstore beetle due to its oval shape. However, upon close observation, there are some obvious traits which can be used to help differentiate between the two beetle species.


The first is that the cigarette beetle has more of a humpback shape in comparison to the drugstore beetle. Secondly, when examining the wings of the drugstore beetle, one would notice deep grooves or pits while the cigarette beetle will have wings which appear to be smooth. Cigarette beetles also have more hairs on their body than the drugstore beetle which gives them a more fuzzy looking appearance.


While the drugstore beetle and the cigarette beetle have the same tendencies of invading food storage areas and store shelves, cigarette beetles are the more common nuisance pest.


No matter the case, if you have cigarette beetles in your home, it would be wise to be swift in taking to not only get rid of the active infestation but to also stop the upcoming generation from developing their eggs and carrying on the cigarette beetle destruction.


Behavior and Tendencies of the Cigarette Beetle

Cigarette beetles is a pantry invading insect which is common in all parts of the world. They are also known as tobacco beetles. The cigarette beetle name is derived from the fact that the cigarette beetle is known to commonly infest and eat dried tobacco leaves, cigars, cigarettes, or chewing tobacco.


Cigarette beetles are notorious for being a major threat to stored goods and can detrimentally impact the tobacco economy whenever they infest tobacco farms. Aside from infesting tobacco goods, cigarette beetles are commonly discovered in stored grain and seeds, packaged foods, and other processed food items.


Cigarette beetles have been a bother to us humans for hundreds of years. It was even reported that cigarette beetles were found in the tombs of the Egyptian pharaoh, King Tut!


Cigarette beetles undergo a complete metamorphosis meaning they begin as eggs, hatch into larvae, then go through the pupation stage before reaching adulthood.


An adult cigarette beetle typically lays their eggs directly on to a food item or newly harvested tobacco. Once the egg hatches, the larvae will emerge and will begin to eat immediately. Cigarette beetle larvae will consume any food that is close to them and within their vicinity for the next 30 to 50 days. After this they become adults and can live anywhere from little over a month to 8 weeks long.


The Cigarette Beetle Life Cycle

After cigarette beetle larvae have hatched from their eggs and are feeding, they will continue to devour their targeted food items until they have been nourished enough to transition into the next phase of their development, the pupae stage.


This is where the cigarette beetle will build a cocoon for itself using silk webbing as well as materials from the items they have infested. They will pupate inside this cocoon until adulthood which typically takes anywhere from 30-90 days depending on the temperature.


Cigarette Beetles are skilled fliers which are attracted to light. They are most active during the early evening hours and cloudy days, unless temperatures cool to below 65 degrees. During the day, cigarette beetles hide in dark secluded areas.  Even though cigarette beetles can fly into a home to infest, they mainly make their way into your home by being brought in by us via an infested packaged item.


The Damage and Impact of Cigarette Beetles

Aside from anti-tobacco companies and campaigns, cigarette beetles are the biggest threat to the tobacco industry due to their affinity for infesting and devouring stored tobacco products. Cigarette beetles have been known to destroy cigars and chewing tobacco as well as packages of cigarettes.


Cigarette Beetles will also consume paper in books and book bindings. Cigarette Beetles will feed on foods and stored spices such as cottonseed meal, pepper, paprika, chili, dried fish, ginger, dates, raisins, pasta, and seeds. They are also known for eating into dry flower arrangements, wreathes and papier-mâché. Cigarette Beetles will even feed on pyrethrum which is the same active ingredient found in many insect baits and insecticides. These beetles will also do damage to furniture stuffing by burrowing into furniture and eating the cotton.

The larvae phase of the cigarette beetle life cycle is responsible for greatest amount of damage. cigarette beetles have been also found in museums and herbariums where dried flowers were on display and have damaged valuable items.


Cigarette beetles also produce yeast which contain B vitamins. These yeasts are deposited on the eggs and are consumed by the larvae during the egg hatching process. Thanks to these yeasts, the cigarette beetle is able to survive and thrive on a variety of foods materials which don’t provide good nutrition for their development.


How to Manage a Cigarette Beetle Infestation

To put an end to an infestation of cigarette beetles, it is vital for a homeowner to conduct cigarette beetle control. In order to be successful, there are three main tasks needing to be carried out for the desired result: 1) Remove or treat any contaminated food or other items which cigarette beetle larvae or adults have infested 2) Treat the pantry or infested areas to make sure hatching larvae are unable to survive via cleanup and sanitation 3) Apply insecticidal products and install pantry traps to catch unsuspecting adult cigarette beetles before they are able to mate and lay eggs in a different area of the home.


For the first step, investigate your food items to locate the main food item or items they are found in and are eating. Most cigarette beetle adults will emerge from cocoons which are located very close to where larvae has eaten. If you have discovered adult cigarette beetles in the pantry then you most likely have some type of cereal, spice, flour, cookie, grain, bean or some other item which are actively eating


What we recommend is to initially clear out everything you have stored in your cabinets and toss them out so you leave nothing to chance also as a timesaving measure or else you would have to go through every single item to check if they have been infested which can be quite time consuming. When checking boxes and containers, be sure to inspect them carefully for white worm-like larvae, adults and empty cocoons (empty cocoons is evidence that adults have hatched).


Any item which clearly has cigarette beetles or that you find suspicious should be discarded immediately; if there are items which you don’t wish to throw out, you can store them temporarily in a plastic bag to see if adults being to crawl out from the food. If 2-3 weeks pass and you do not find any adults crawling out, you can safely assume the item is not contaminated, otherwise, throw it out.


Recommended Spray Item For cigarette Beetle Control

If the cigarette beetle problem is confined to just the kitchen pantry, we recommend using Novacide Flea & Tick Killer. This fast working aerosol will rapidly kill all cigarette beetle activity and it also comes with an applicator tip which will allow the insecticide to penetrate all cracks and crevices where eggs might be tucked away in or where adult cigarette beetles are hiding.


Just one application of Novacide will take out cigarette beetles from all phases of development if the infestation is limited to a small area. This is especially true if you’ve done a good job of cleaning up and sanitizing your pantry before applying control products.


One can of novacide should suffice a kitchen or pantry. You may need to treat 2-3 times after the initial application if the cigarette beetles are persistent but that should be enough to eliminate the problem.  Re-apply the spray after 2 weeks.If you see activity again after this time, treat once again.


If the infestation has traveled outside of your kitchen pantry to other parts of the home, you may need two cans. Spray baseboards, molding, etc. where beetles might be hiding. Again treat every two weeks until you no longer see any traces of cigarette beetle activity.


Total Home Treatment Option for cigarette Beetles

If cigarette beetles are being discovered all through your home, it could be safe to say that these pantry pests are consuming something more than the typical food items in your pantry. In that case, you will need to expand your treatment area to include furniture, fabric, carpet, books or other home items


For this task, we recommend using CB PCO Insect Fogger. This is a fogging aerosol which can resolve persistent problems and are especially convenient when the cigarette beetle problem is active in areas of the home other than just the pantry..


CB PCO Fogger acts like a fumigant so you will have to leave the home for a period of time as the insecticide sprays and penetrates all the cracks and crevices of your home where cigarette beetles may be hiding. Make sure to cover and stow away sensitive items.


Depending on how large your home is, you may need to purchase a couple of these foggers and then set them off and quickly exit the home. After a few hours you can return to your home and open the doors and windows to let your home air out before resuming your normal activities.

Using Insect Growth Regulator to Eliminate Cigarette Beetles

For an extra layer of protection, we recommend using an insect growth regulator such as Gentrol Aerosol Insect Growth Regulator and Gentrol IGR Insect Growth Regulator. IGRs are known as a juvenile growth hormone. It doesn’t actually kill cigarette beetles, it merely stunts their growth and prevents eggs from hatching into adults.  A single application of either of these products can last you 3 to 6 months.


Gentrol is a non-repellent product in that it won’t be noticed by foraging cigarette beetles. Another feature it has is that the IGR can translocate, meaning if you spray an area in one room the Gentrol will effectively move up the wall and cover a much larger area thus ensuring some beetles will cross over it.


An extra suggestion is to mix Gentrol IGR with a insecticide product like Reclaim IT as this will pack a double punch that will kill all phases of the cigarette beetle life cycle. Use this option especially if you don’t wish to use aerosols or to address a severe infestation of cigarette beetles.


Use Pheromone Traps To Capture Cigarette Beetles


Once you’ve gotten rid of contaminated food and treating your pantry and/or the rest of your home with the pesticides which we’ve recommended above, the last thing we recommend you do is to install cigarette beetle traps to capture any cigarette beetles that survive the treatment or are lingering around.


We recommend Pro-Pest Pantry Moth & Beetle Traps. These traps work by using powerful pheromones to attract adult cigarette beetles to the trap which contains a sticky glue. Once they are lured toward the trap, the glue will capture and hold the cigarette beetles and they will be unable to escape.


This is a key part of the cigarette beetle control program because via capturing adult cigarette beetles you will prevent further egg laying and thus further development of a re-infestation.


While the kitchen, pantry and cabinets may be the prime areas to place traps, you may need to place traps in other parts of the home such as windows. As we mentioned earlier, cigarette beetles are attracted to light and will gather up on window sills. If this is happening, setting a trap near your window will successfully capture these stragglers.


Once installed, make sure to inspect the traps once a week because they may fill up with captured beetles and may need to be changed out with a fresh trap. Keeping a fresh trap on the regular is a must if you want to capture any remaining cigarette beetles and put an end to the infestation.


Finally, make sure to at least one of these cigarette beetle traps in every room you have seen activity so the adults can be intercepted and captured before they start laying eggs on books, fabric or furniture in an attempt to repopulate their nasty infestation.


Cigarette beetles are a nuisance pantry pest which can be tough to manage because of their quick life cycle and tendency to move throughout the home. If you’ve found some in your home, Solutions Pest & Lawn has everything you need to eliminate cigarette beetles completely.


Additional Resources

cigarette beetle - Lasioderma serricorne F.


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