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cigarette beetle

Introduction

The cigarette beetle is a pest that is considered to be a common stored product pest. As their name suggests they commonly feed on dried tobacco, but will feed on other dried goods as well. They are found worldwide and throughout the entire United States.

Recognition

Adult cigarette beetles are small in size, growing only to be about 1/10 of an inch in length. They have a humped appearance because their head is bent down at a right angle. Their bodies are a stout oval shape and are red, yellow or brown in color. They have wings and are very strong fliers. Their larvae are grub-like in appearance and are a yellowish-white color with a darker brown head.

Biology

The life of a cigarette beetle begins when the female lays her eggs on or in a dry food source. Each female lays about 100 eggs. Once the eggs hatch (in about 6-10 days) the larvae will eat the food source and grow until they reach maturity in about 30-50 days. Then they spin a cocoon and in about 8-10 days, depending on the temperature, emerge as adults. Adult cigarette beetles live for about 2-4 weeks. Cigarette beetles prefer to live in temperatures that are higher than 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Damages

Cigarette beetles are a major stored product pest and can cause costly damage to tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars by chewing through their packaging and the products themselves. Cigarette beetles can also cause problems inside of food processing facilities, grocery stores, and residential homes by feeding on and contaminating many different types of dried items. Some common items include dry pet food, flour, cereal, dried pasta, spices, and dried flowers.

Cigarette beetles are considered to be nuisance pests because they do not bite or sting people and are not known to carry or transmit diseases that harm people. However, items that they lay their eggs in or that their larvae grow in are considered to be contaminated and will need to be discarded costing you both time and money.

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Prevention

In order to prevent cigarette beetles from invading your home you should make sure to inspect the packaging of goods that you are purchasing from the store. Do not purchase any dry goods if their packaging is ripped, torn, or if there are holes present. In your home make sure to practice good sanitation and routinely wipe down and remove crumbs or other debris from shelves and pantry areas. It is also a good idea to store dry goods in glass or plastic sealed containers instead of their original packaging.

Control

Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions offers effective pest control services to resolve infestations of cigarette beetles and other pantry pests. Our trained technicians will inspect, find, and eliminate all the adult cigarette beetles and their breeding areas. Because these pests enter the home on or in purchased goods, we recommend being vigilant to prevent a re-infestation. You may also consider ongoing pest control to take care of any pests that find their way inside.

Sources

http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/cigarette-beetle
http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/stored/cigarette_beetle.htm

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