Along with drugstore beetles, the quixotically named cigarette beetles are very common invaders in the bedroom.
They are hard to spot, but once they arrive in your home, they are difficult to get rid of.
The cigarette beetle (Lasioderma serricorne) is a tiny, reddish brown beetle that is also called a cigar beetle or a tobacco beetle.
It belongs to the family Ptinidae. Other members of the family that are common household pests include the carpet beetle and the common furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum). The cigarette beetle looks very similar to the drugstore beetle (Stegobium paniceum).
Here are some specific things to know about cigarette beetles.
Cigarette Beetles are Tiny but Distinctive
Cigarette beetles are smaller than most other beetles that could show up in your home, likely to be between 1/7 and 1/8 inches long.
They are slightly larger than drugstore beetles but smaller than most other species of beetles that cohabit with humans regularly.
They do look very similar to drugstore beetles, as seen below:
Where the cigarette beetle distinguishes itself further is its diet, and the range of food it eats.
Unfortunately for homeowners, the diet brings them closer to existing within the house – including a marked propensity to show up in bedrooms.
The Odd Diet of Cigarette Beetles
Like many other storage pests, cigarette beetles aim to reach food supplies in the pantry or kitchen when they venture into a household.
As an example, they would love to get into flour, pasta, cereal, or spices in the kitchen. What distinguishes them from other foragers, though, is their propensity to target the other sources of ‘food’ they can thrive on, which typically lie around a home, including your bedroom.
How do Cigarette Beetles End Up in the Home and Bedroom?
Besides being pests in terms of boring into and devouring more traditional food supplies, cigarette beetles are known for their affinity to chewing on dried tobacco leaves, as well as cigarettes, cigars, and tobacco.
They like a really broad spectrum of food, whether contained in a refined cigarette packet presentation or stored in hogsheads and bales.
The beetles are also a minor pest of oilcake, oilseeds, cereals, sage, dried fruit, flour, and other animal products.
Occasionally, they will feed on dried flower arrangements, chocolate and even aluminum foil. In short, they tend to eat a LOT of stuff that are found around the house.
Among the odd “foods” that cigarette beetles can ingest is pyrethrum powder, a toxic substance that other household pests such as cockroaches will perish from.
Many of the items described above are as likely to be lying in your bedroom as anywhere else in the house, as they are in areas where industrial production or wholesale storage is taking place.
Venturing Into the Home
Cigarette beetles are attracted to light, same as drugstore beetles. They will venture indoors in search of both food and nesting options.
While kitchens and pantries may be a preferred destination, they are strong fliers – known to fly upwards of a mile in search of the right spots.
Besides how quickly they propagate, as is the case with other beetles that can invade your home (see the complete list here), cigarette beetles can become a major infestation due to the females laying eggs directly on the food source that the family/colony feed on.
If cigarette beetles are already in your kitchen or pantry, they are likely here to stay unless you take specific actions to eradicate them.
The same holds true for the bedroom or living areas – given that they could be feeding on tobacco products, crumbs or byproducts of humans, such as hair.
Adult cigarette beetles will eat through and leave trails not only in boxes in food storage areas, but signs of damage can be found in household items such as books, floral wreaths and other fixtures – including but not limited to floor boards, walls, and silks.
Cigarette Beetles can be a Genuine Nuisance
Like many other beetles that can come into your home, cigarette beetles do not bite (check all the friendly beetles here). However, they can do substantial damage by dint of their eating habits, similar to drugstore beetles. They will often bore through storage boxes in search of food.
Controlling Cigarette Beetles
The general principles regarding how to control beetle infestations in your bedroom and home (check them out here) apply to cigarette beetles.
Given that it may be difficult to eradicate cigarette beetles from the home and bedroom, talking to exterminators may be a good first step to decide how to contain and/or eradicate the problem.
Spreading chemical pesticides, which is never a good idea around the home in many cases, maybe futile with these insects. As we described, certain pesticides like pyrethrum powder will not impact them at all.
Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:Cockroaches vs Beetles – The Ultimate Showdown
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