- Colour Reddish-brown
- Size Up to to 3.5 mm long
- Description Cigarette beetles have serrated antennae and tiny oval-shaped bodies, appearing hunched over.
- Notes The larvae are whitish-yellow, covered in long hairs, and have three sets of strong legs.
What do cigarette beetles look like
Cigarette beetles have tiny oval-shaped bodies, measuring between 2 to 3.5mm in length. In profile, they appear hunched. Similar in appearance to drugstore beetles, the insects are reddish-brown in colour, with serrated antennae.
Larvae are whitish-yellow larvae, covered in long hairs, and walk thanks to three sets of strong larval legs. Larvae have prominent, brown heads with a C-shaped body as they mature.
Why do I have cigarette beetles
Cigarette beetles stop feeding and reproducing at temperatures below 18° C, so survive Canadian winters by moving into warm buildings, often near areas where food is stored.
The enter your home through gaps and cracks, seeking a wide range of food, including stored tobacco, spices, nuts, vegetables, avocado, bananas, paper, silk, leather, and glue binding in books.
As well, females cigarette beetles usually look to lay their eggs in bags of stored food or on top of dried tobacco, since they make perfect food for the larvae when they emerge.
Habitat, Diet, Lifecycle/Reproduction
Cigarette beetles have a wide geographical range but thrive in tropical and subtropical regions. The pests occur in all Canadian provinces. Cigarette beetle activity often occurs near areas where grains or other food is stored.
In addition to tobacco, these beetles also eat various plant products as well as animal products. Cigarette beetles consume nuts and vegetables and will even eat through avocado or unripe bananas. These pests feed on the paper and glue binding of books as well as silk & leather clothes in closets and storage chests.
The process begins when females lay up to 100 white, oval-shaped eggs within bags of stored food or atop dried tobacco. After one or two weeks, hungry larvae emerge to feed on their surroundings. Within a couple months, the larvae build cocoons and pupate, emerging as adults in about 10 days. Adults live for nearly a month.
How worried should I be about cigarette beetles
Cigarette beetles and larvae chew holes through tobacco and contaminate it with their waste, as well as biting and damaging other items like cardboard, packaging, baskets, ropes, and cloth.
These pests can also leave droppings and cocoons in rice, cereal, and spices, and will even attack medicines. Tiny larvae will crawl across books and clothes.
Female cigarette beetles can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, so a cigarette beetle infestation can quickly become serious, requiring the help of a professional pest control service.
How can I prevent cigarette beetles invading?
Regularly de-cluttering and vacuuming living spaces is a good first step towards cigarette beetle prevention. Try not to tempt the pests by leaving crumbs on the ground or forgetting to close food containers. Avoid keeping tobacco products out in the open and prevent them from falling between couch cushions or onto the floor. Sometimes it’s helpful to treat or caulk crevices and other entry points. Keep an eye on heaters, furnaces, and vents, as cigarette beetles often gather around heat sources. If an infestation occurs, try using ambient cool air to deter the pests, as cigarette beetles stop feeding and reproducing at temperatures below 18° C.
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