Cigarette Beetles


  • Latin Name: Lasioderma serricorne
  • Size: 1/8”
  • Color: Adult carpet beetles are light brown.
  • Shape: Oval with the appearance of a humped back, winged and 11 segments on the serrated antennae.
  • Found in: All over the United States, more prevalent in warmer areas.

Overview: The cigarette beetle is a stored food pest. The name originated from attacks to stored tobacco, but these beetles will also go after most stored dry foods in your pantry from cereal to spices.
Origin: The specifics on origin are unknown, however the cigarette beetles were discovered in the Egyptian tomb of King Tutankhamen.
Climate: Cigarette beetles thrive in tropical to temperate climates. If the temperature drops too low, they will go into hibernation.
Favorite Foods: Tobacco leaves are the favorite food of the cigarette beetle. This beetle is known for damaging stored tobacco. They are also fond of cereal, dried fruits, flour, spices and dried pet food. They have been known to eat books, dried flower arrangements and medicine as well. If the beetles you have are primarily found near your medicine cabinet, you may have the drugstore beetle instead of the cigarette beetle.
Family: The cigarette beetle is often confused with its relative the drugstore beetle, because they have similar appearances and both like stored food. Female cigarette beetles can lay up to 100 eggs. They will find a place with an abundant food source to lay their eggs so the larvae will have readily available food. Once the eggs turn into larvae, it can take between six weeks and five months to develop into an adult. The larvae are white with light colored hair all over their body making them appear to be fuzzy. Adult cigarette beetles are brown and have wings. They do not eat and only live about a month.
Unique Facts: The head of a cigarette beetle is almost at a right angle to the body making the body appear to have a hump. Adult cigarette beetles fly in the late afternoons and evenings.
Signs of a problem: Cigarette beetles are small and do not like human interaction. They are more likely to come out on cloudy days or in the evenings. They will make small holes in the stored food bags they are feeding on.
Do they attack humans? No. Cigarette beetles will play dead if they see a human approaching.
Stopping an infestation: Determine what food has been damaged. Look for small openings in cereal boxes or plastic food containers. The adult carpet beetle may have laid eggs on the infested food, so it is best to throw it away immediately. If you are unsure if a package has been broken into, you can store it in a glass container for a few days and recheck. Also, check any dried flower arrangements and bookshelves for eggs and larvae. Clean all areas thoroughly by vacuuming and using a disinfectant spray. Purchase airtight glass food storage containers to place new dried goods in. Pheromone traps may be placed in the pantry to provide the piece of mind that the pests are gone. Pheromone traps will also trap moths.

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