beetle feeds on a variety of stored products such as paprika, chili,
and dried dog food. Both adults and larvae are capable of readily
penetrating many types of packaging material These destructive pests
can feed on pyrethrum powder strong enough to kill cockroaches.
Adults are strong fliers and are attracted to light at night. Adult
beetles flying around lights at night are often the first indication
of their presence. The cigarette beetle is native to Egypt. In fact,
a beetle was found in King Tutankhamen's tomb! In the 3,500 years
since then the beetle has hardly changed.
The adult cigarette
beetle is a small, red-brown to yellowish-brown beetle. When viewed
from above it appears oval, and in profile humpbacked in shape (the
head and pronotum are bent forward). It is 3 to 4 mm (1/10 to 1/8
inch) long. The antennae are serrate (the side edge of each antennal
segment is pointed like a saw tooth). The wing coverings (elytra)
are smooth without longitudinal grooves. They are strong fliers
and attracted to light at night such as a lamp or TV set. It can
be found throughout the year, but seems to be more common in the
fall and winter months. The eggs are white, oval and too small to
be easily seen with the naked eye. The larvae are white and grub-like;
long hairs cover the bodies of the larvae and give them a fuzzy
appearance. When full grown they are about 4 mm (1/8 inch) long.
Larvae spin themselves into a cocoon prior to becoming pupae.
(University of Florida Cooperative Extension)
and larvae are capable of readily penetrating many types of packaging
material. Adults lay their eggs on the food material the larvae
are to feed on. Adults live two to four weeks. Females lay up to
100 eggs; the development time from egg to adult is six to eight
weeks. There are three to six generations/year. The minimum development
temperature is 65 degrees F.
will infest a wide variety of food products:
- Aniseed, bamboo, beans, biscuits, cassava, chickpeas, cigars,
cigarettes, cocoa beans, coffee beans, copra, coriander, cottonseed
(before and after harvest), cottonseed meal, cumin, dates, dogfood,
dried banana, dried cabbage, dried carrot, dried fruits, drugs,
flax tow, flour, ginger, grain, herbs, herbarium specimens, insecticides
containing pyrethrum, juniper seed, licorice root, paprika, peanuts,
rhubarb, rice, seeds of various trees and plants, spices, and yeast.
materials include dried insects, dried fish, fishmeal, and meatmeal.
The cigarette beetle has also been recorded attacking leather, furniture
stuffing, and bookbinders paste. It has also done incidental damage
to cloth upholstery and paper books.
beetle can be controlled without the use of pesticides. The first
step in control of the cigarette 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. Clean all the cabinets and drawers
with a vacuum cleaner (then throw the cleaner bag away). It is important
that susceptible food material be stored so that adults and larvae
may not have access to it. Glass jars and plastic containers with
air tight covers effectively keep food insect-free. Infestations
observed on food stored in either type of storage container are
trapped and unable to spread to other food items. Susceptible food
items need to be tightly contained or stored in the refrigerator
or freezer, or be consumed within two to three weeks of purchase.
Infestations of dried flowers may be "fumigated" by placing a small
amount of moth crystals and the flowers in a plastic bag for a day
from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and the Virginia
Cooperative Extension, 1999.