What is a cigar beetle?
A cigar beetle, AKA tobacco beetle, or lasioderma serricorne (if you’re a scientist) is without a doubt the most destructive pest that plagues stored tobacco. These little buggers are around 2 to 3 millimeters in size, and have quite the ferocious appetite as they approach adulthood.
The life cycle of a cigar beetle or tobacco beetle normally spans around 60-90 days, but is highly dependent on two main factors:
- And food source (your tobacco)
If ruining your lovely cigars weren’t enough of an issue, cigar beetles can also damage household items like cereal, cocoa, and coffee beans.
How to spot cigar beetles?
When inspecting your humidor, or cigar storage containers for cigar beetles, you’ll want to look for a couple things.
- Small holes (about the size of a pinhole) in the wrapper.
- A trail of powdery, white, loose tobacco particles. For example, if you were to take your cigar and lightly tap it like you’re ashing it, you’d see these white specs of excrement fall off your cigar.
What causes cigar beetles?
Unluckily for us cigar smokers, cigar beetles or tobacco beetles love warm, humid climates. Just like the ones found in your cigar’s humidor.
Fortunately though, cigar beetles can’t randomly find their way into your humidor. They will always be transferred from other cigars you purchased or have been given that already contain eggs.
The real cause of cigar beetle outbreaks is due to temperature increases. Always try your damndest to not let your humidor or storage container exceed 70 degrees. So, things like storing your humidor in direct sunlight or by a heating vent, can-and-possibly-will lead to an outbreak of these cigar ruining pests.
Can you smoke a cigar with cigar beetles?
No. No. And no.
Not only is it just flat out gross, but cigar beetles destroy the integrity and construction of a handmade cigar. It’s better to accept your losses and move on than to smoke a cigar that has or had cigar beetles.
Can cigar beetles eat through cellophane?
Yes. Unfortunately, cigar beetles can wreak havoc on your cigar collection no matter if your cigars are stored with or without their packaging cellophane.
How to avoid or get rid of cigar beetles?
Diligence and care are the name of the game. Crack the lid on your humidor a couple times a week and look at your cigars. Rotate them while keeping an eye out for any signs of holes or white particles
If you do think your cigars have fallen prey to cigar beetles, follow the steps below:
- Remove all the cigars from your humidor.
- Throw out any cigars that appear to have pinhole-sized openings in the wrapper, these have already been destroyed.
- For your remaining cigars that appear to be fine, we recommend placing them in ziplock bags and storing them in your freezer for 3 days. Cigar beetles and their larvae cannot survive in freezing temperatures.
- After 3 days, move the ziplock bags into the refrigerator for about a day. The goal is to gradually get your cigars to warmer temperatures after being frozen. Don’t store your cigars at room temperature immediately. This extreme change in temperature can cause the wrappers to crack.
- Thoroughly clean your humidor and your humidification unit to ensure there’s no leftover traces of beetles. If you’re in question, unfortunately it may be time for a new humidor. You can find some of our highest rated here.
Keep in mind
Cigar beetles should definitely be a worry, but they’re not something that you should constantly live in fear of. Check your cigars. Rotate them. Keep them at good temperatures. And if you notice any signs that they are present, getting rid of them immediately is key. Remember, it only takes one to ruin your entire collection if you don’t act fast.