Just like the name implies, cigarette beetles (Lasioderma serricorne) have a love of dried tobacco. Since these pests are also known for infesting many pantry items, such as flour, dried fruit, cereal, and dog food, they are also big pests for homeowners. It is important to properly identify cigarette beetles in order to form a plan for successful control. Afterward, homeowners can take preventative measures to ensure they don’t have any encounters with this pest in the future.
Identification of the Cigarette Beetle
As adults, cigarette beetles are small and reddish brown. They measure 1/8 inch in length and have oval bodies with tiny hairs covering their wings. If you look closely, you’ll also notice their antennae are serrated. Adult cigarette beetles are more active after dusk, and it is possible that you’ll spot them flying around looking for a place to hide.
Homeowners may also come across cigarette beetle eggs, as adult females lay as many as 100 eggs on the food they are infesting. The eggs are white in color and more oval than round. They hatch in just six to 10 days and enter the larvae stage, which lasts between five and 10 weeks. Larvae eventually wrap themselves in cocoons, where they make their final transformation into adulthood.
Control of the Cigarette Beetle
After calling a pest control expert and setting up an appointment for treatment, there are a few things you can do on your own. Begin by examining all food items and removing anything that has evidence of a cigarette beetle infestation. There are two ways you can kill the live beetles you see. Either place the items in the freezer at 32 degrees Fahrenheit for four to seven days or heat the items up in the oven for one hour at 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once you’ve killed the insects that you’ve come across, thoroughly vacuum and wipe down all areas where the infested foods were found to get the space ready for treatment. It is best to leave the chemical control of cigarette beetles to the professionals. These individuals are trained and know which insecticides and insect growth regulators work best, as well as how to properly apply them in a way that is safe for your entire family.
Your exterminator can provide you with a thorough list of the items cigarette beetles are known to infest so that you can complete a more thorough examination of your home. For example, you can find these pests in flax tow stuffing in upholstered furniture, as well as old rodent baits. Together you can remove the beetles and apply any necessary insecticides.
Prevention of the Cigarette Beetle
In order to prevent a future cigarette beetle infestation, homeowners will want to purchase only foods they intend on using over the next few months. Cigarette beetles are capable of chewing through cardboard, which means homeowners will need to transfer cereals, flours, and dog food items after purchasing them into glass jars or plastic containers that have secure lids. Make sure the area where you store the food is properly vented, as cigarette beetles are attracted to moisture.
It is also important to immediately address any spills, whether they take place in the cabinet where you keep them or on a countertop as you are actively preparing a meal. As a precautionary measure, you can install sticky traps that contain the female cigarette beetle sex pheromone. This will allow you to identify any future infestations right away before they have a chance of becoming a full-blown problem.
If you spot cigarette beetles in your home, contact Pest & Termite Consultants, Inc. for timely service that works around your schedule. Not only is service our number one priority, but we also have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).