The tobacco beetle (also known as the cigarette/cigar beetle) is one of the most common household insect pests in the UK. It can be found throughout the year, but is more common in the autumn and winter months. A strong flier, the cigarette beetle can often be found in areas of subdued sunlight or where temperatures exceed 18°C.
Appearance An adult tobacco beetle measures 2–3mm in length and are covered in tiny hairs giving them a silky, yellowish-brown colour. The head is bent down at nearly a right angle to the body, giving the beetle a humped appearance when viewed from the side. The larvae are yellowish-white and grub-shaped, and about 2-3mm long when fully grown.
Diet The tobacco beetle feeds on cured tobacco, cigarettes, and cigars. It also feeds on dried herbs, spices, nuts, cereals and cereal products, dried fruit, seeds, and animal products such as dried fish and meats, hair, and wool. In the home this beetle is most commonly found in pet foods, cereals, nuts, and sweets.
Life Cycle Adult females lay as many as 100 eggs singly on food materials. The eggs are white and oval-shaped and hatch in 6 to 10 days. After hatching, the larvae tunnel through the food material, causing destruction of the grain and contamination. They become fully grown in 30 to 50 days and enter the pupal stage, which lasts 8 to 10 days or more, depending on the temperature. Pupae are covered by a silken cocoon and bits of their food material. The entire life cycle may take from 45 to 50 days. The developmental period from egg to adult is quite variable, but typically takes 6 to 8 weeks under favorable conditions. Adult cigarette beetles live 2 to 4 weeks.
Control The first step in control of the tobacco 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. Insect Monitors are essential in commercial situations to highlight infestations. Infested commodities can be treated or destroyed, whilst the building fabric can be treated with residual insecticides.
If you suspect you have a Tobacco Beetle infestation in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee or Perth, call GRAHAM pest control today and we could help