The Cigarette beetle is a very common stored product pest. In our region they are more common in the fall and winter months. As their name implies, the cigarette beetle is a pest of dried tobacco. These pests also feed on book bindings and stored products.
Photo attribution link: CSIRO [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Cigarette Beetle is about 2-4mm in length. The adult is whitish in color, with the head dark brown to tan, and are densely haired. The cigarette beetle closely resembles the drugstore beetle. The cigarette beetle has the head bent down nearly at right angles to the body giving it a humped back appearance when viewed from the side. The larvae are about 4 mm long and somewhat bent.
The adult beetles live from 2 to 4 weeks and during this time the females may deposit between 10-100 eggs. The eggs are laid loosely on the infested material. The larval period usually ranges from four to five months, but under very favorable conditions the development from egg to adult may occur in 6 to 8 weeks. When the larvae are fully grown, pupation occurs and they remain in this resting stage for 12 to 18 days.
The Cigarette Beetle feeds off tobacco, dry stored food products, spices, seeds, grains and dried plant material. They have also been reported in rice, dried potatoes, paprika, raisins, grain-based mouse bait and dried straw flowers. Adult beetles often wander away from infested materials and may be found throughout the area. Even though these stored product pests prefer to feed on tobacco products, they will attack a broad range of food items. Inspection is a must. Look in nearby food products such as pet food, seeds and seasonings, dried fruits, cottonseed meal, pepper, paprika, chili dried fish, ginger, dates, raisins, pasta, and seeds, dry flower arrangements. Because of their ability to infest a variety of food products, cigarette beetles are difficult to control.