Common Name: Cigarette beetle
Scientific name: Lasioderma serricorne
The cigarette beetle gets its common name because it attacks tobacco wherever it is stored. Its distribution is worldwide.
Adult cigarette beetles are about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long, oval and light brown in color. The antennae are serrate or saw-like and the pits on the elytra (hardened front wings or wing covers) are scattered in distribution, not arranged in rows. The thorax and elytra are covered with fine, pale-yellow hairs (setae). The head and prothorax are bent downward, making the head barely or not visible from above and giving the beetle a strongly humped appearance.
The mature larva is about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long, white, plump, C-shaped, covered with long hairs and has 3 pairs of tiny legs.
(1) The drugstore beetle (Stegobium paniceum) has pits on the elytra (hardened front wings) arranged in longitudinal rows. (2) Other small beetles of similar shape and color that may be found indoors in abundance should be submitted to an entomologist or pest management professional for identification.
The cigarette beetle female lays about 30 to 42 oval, whitish eggs in and about food materials. They hatch in 6 to 10 days in warm weather. There are 4 to 6 larval instars. The full-grown larvae pupate in silken cocoons covered with bits of foodstuff. The life cycle (egg to egg) requires 30 to 90 days and there are usually 3 to 6 overlapping generations per year. Minimum temperature for development is about 65°F. The adults may live from 23 to 28 days. They are strong fliers and are active in subdued light.
The cigarette beetle attacks a host of items such as paprika, dry dog food, beans, biscuits, chickpeas, cigars, cigarettes, cocoa beans, coffee beans, cottonseed (before and after harvest), dates, dried fruits and vegetables, drugs, flour, dried flowers, ginger, grains, herbarium specimens, herbs, peanuts and pepper. It also attacks animal material such as dried fish, fishmeal, meat meal, leather, silk and dried insects. Dry dog food and paprika are most commonly attacked in the home.
Adults fly during the late afternoon and on dull cloudy days and are attracted to light. They can be numerous enough to make both plant workers and occupants of nearby homes miserable by their presence.
Cultural Control And Preventative Measures
The first step towards stopping an infestation of cigarette beetles is locating and, if possible, removing the food source(s) or excluding the breeding site(s). Beetles and larvae can be removed using a vacuum cleaner fitted with a hose attachment. Dried foods, tobacco products and other vulnerable items should be stored in airtight, thick-walled containers until needed.
A Rottler pest management professional will assist in locating cigarette beetle breeding sources and making recommendations for preventing re-infestation. Dead animals/carcasses will be removed, if accessible. A spot treatment of an infested structural void using a residual insecticide dust or a crack and crevice treatment into cabinet and shelf corner seams/junctures using non-residual or residual insecticide aerosol formulations may be applied by the technician to stop additional pest breeding.
Click here to request additional information or to schedule your free inspection to determine treatment recommendations.
Serving the St. Louis Metropolitan area since 1956, including Arnold, Ballwin, Chesterfield, Crestwood, Creve Coeur, Des Peres, Fenton, Florissant, Kirkwood, Maryland Heights, Overland, St. Charles, Webster Groves, Wentzville and surrounding areas.
Columbia & Jefferson City, MO and surrounding areas.