- CIGARETTE BEETLE INFESTATIONS
- CIGARETTE BEETLE LIFE CYCLE
- FACTS ABOUT CIGARETTE BEETLE INFESTATIONS
- CIGARETTE BEETLE CONTROL
- CIGARETTER BEETLE PEST CONTROL PROGRAM
- CONTACT US
Cigarette Beetles are small – about 1/8th of an inch long – and appear to be oval or almost square in shape. They are most likely to be a shiny reddish brown color and closely resemble a drugstore beetle. To a trained eye, the use of a small magnifying glass or microscope will reveal the easiest way to tell just what you have by the antennae. Drugstore beetles have antennae which have a distinctive three segmented like club top where the tobacco beetle has a serrated antennae which is uniform from top to bottom where it mounts on the insects head. The following video shows a cloth doll infested with cigarette beetles.
CIGARETTE BEETLE BIOLOGY
Though they love tobacco, cigarette beetles can thrive on just about any food stuff. They will readily eat books, furniture, stored dried plants, canvas paintings, anything made of straw, just about any spice, cookies, flour, pasta, cotton, medicine, dog food and rat poison! Cigar collectors dread the tobacco beetle; hobbyist who like to make wreathes and other natural creations will undoubtedly have to contend with this menace. Though they will crawl while feeding, adults like to fly which makes them particularly hard to handle. It is not uncommon to have them fly into your home during the spring or summer and once inside, make themselves unwanted permanent guests. It serves no purpose to try and determine how or why you got them – the list of reasons will quickly become too large to handle.
CIGARETTE BEETLE INFESTATIONS
Once they get inside, females will lay eggs where they expect their young to acquire good food. They will lay 50-100 eggs over a period of 1-2 months then die. The eggs will hatch in 7-14 days and the newly born larva will immediately begin to feed on anything they can find which will provide nutrition. They will usually feed for 5-10 weeks depending on how much food they have access to, humidity and temperature.
CIGARETTE BEETLE LIFE CYCLE
Once the larvae feed and get their fill, they will undergo metamorphosis for another 2-3 months and then emerge as full blown adults ready to mate and lay eggs. In most regions of the country, they will be able to complete two or three cycles per year. This means if one pregnant female enters your home in the spring, you could conceivably have 5,000-10,000 adults flying around by the end of the year.
VACUUMING CIGARETTE BEETLE INFESTATIONS
In most situations, homeowners are not quite sure what they have when it comes to a cigarette beetle. When the first few are discovered, they will usually clean the suspected room where they emerged hoping to rid their home of all that may be present. Though a good vacuuming won’t hurt and certainly will help to remove some eggs, larva and pupae, there are simply too many parts of the cycle that can be remaining following these efforts. The remaining eggs and pupae will quickly replace that which you previously removed.
FREEZING CIGARETTE BEETLES
A common trick homeowners will try is to freeze any food or other items they think is the key to their problems. This is another futile effort which is just a waste of time. Though freezing will kill active adults and larva, the eggs and pupa will readily survive these conditions for many months. This means you will have to keep items frozen for long periods of time if you expect to break the cycle and you will have to have access to a large freezer since it is very likely they are into many things throughout the home.
To control cigarette beetle infestations, there are some basic facts and characteristics which need to be taken into consideration. Once you understand these facts you can proceed with a cigarette beetle elimination program.
FACTS ABOUT CIGARETTE BEETLE INFESTATIONS
First, cigarette beetles are great flyers. They readily live outside and fly around during warm summer months. They enter homes through open doors and windows. This is probably the most common way household problems start and seem to be very common routes of entry to homes which are around agricultural areas, farms or processing plants which store food which these beetles like to eat.
Second, cigarette beetles are hardy. They can survive hot and cold quite well. Once in the home, they will remain throughout the whole year. Don’t sit back expecting them to “die out” when it gets cold – this won’t work. You will need to take a pro active stance to get control of the problem as soon as possible.
Third, cigarette beetles will migrate to new food supplies quickly. If you have some pantry items like spices or old beans and you don’t know if it is harboring some beetles, you can place it in a clear plastic bag and store it this way. Next time you take it out to use it see if there are any beetles accumulating in the bag outside the food. If you find any, discard the item. Don’t be discouraged if you find them active in most of your pantry – this is actually quite the norm. If you have a room where you store dried flowers, wreathes, Christmas ornaments or other decorations and suspect they may be active in there, you are probably right. There are many natural foods used in the construction of these decorations these days and cigarette beetles are quick to take advantage of the supply.
Fourth, the best way to keep infestations under control is to stop them from entering your home in the first place. This may mean keeping screens on doors and windows but remember that since most smells are sure to attract flying adults, your home will be effectively attracting them when windows and doorways allow air to exit which contains good strong food smells.
CIGARETTE BEETLE CONTROL
Understanding the treatment process is key to getting control of local infestations. Here is a quick summary of what to do with details explained further below.
- After the infested area has been cleaned, you’ll need to treat with either the aerosols we list or the concentrates. The aerosols will be fine for small areas like pantries and most any kitchen cabinet. But sometimes cigarette beetle infestations are much bigger. For large infestations, the concentrates are better suited. Use them for carpeting, warehouses or storage areas with a lot of cabinets or floor space.
- Next, install traps. These should be used in virtually any situation. First, they help monitor activity alerting you to where beetles are entering, which rooms they are most active and times of the year when adults are hatching. However, they can really help at breaking the cycle since every adult they trap is one less which can mate and propagate.
CIGARETTE BEETLE AEROSOL TREATMENTS
For small areas, our aerosol products will be all that is needed for successful treatments and eradication of cigarette beetle infestations. Treating with some kind of agent that kills hatching larvae and adults must be done if you hope to break the cycle once and for all. Larva move about by crawling so a good crack and crevice treatment in pantries, closets, baseboard molding, door frames, window frames and other places where they are living will kill off the mobile young.
Use DFORCE AEROSOL for this application since it’s easy to apply and comes with a crack and crevice tip for precise injection. When treating food or dish storage cabinets be sure to remove everything first. Wait at least 15 minutes following treatment before you replace the contents and be sure all surfaces are dry. Dforce is both a flushing agent and a contact killer so it will chase out any beetles hiding and kill them before they can relocate. Treatments will last 2-4 weeks.
The organic option to spray is known as TOPIA AEROSOL. Made with plant extracts for actives, Topia should be used exactly like the Dforce and will control both larvae and adult beetles. But treatments won’t last but 1-2 weeks so expect to spray more frequently if you go with this choice.
Lastly, GENTROL AEROSOL can be applied for really long term control. Gentrol doesn’t kill adult beetles but it can really help because it works on larvae as a juvenile growth hormone. Basically Gentrol over exposes the larvae to it’s own hormone and this will effectively prevent the young from maturing properly. This means they won’t grow right and die in that stage. The advantage of Gentrol is that treatments can last 60-90 days and effectively break the cycle of the pest without having to treat over and over with the residual aerosols. The downside is that Gentrol doesn’t kill adult beetles because it’s not a killer; it’s just a growth hormone.
Most people will opt to use either Dforce or Topia Exempt and then followup with Gentrol. This way they have something in place to kill the adults and the eggs which is by far the best way to go.
BEST CIGARETTE BEETLE SPRAY
If there is a large area that needs to be sprayed, go with liquids which are more effective and more cost effective compared to aerosols. A good active to use is DEFENSE SC. This is a low odor concentrate which is mixed with water and applied by using a good PUMP SPRAYER. Defense will provide a residual up to a month so that as eggs hatch the emerging larva will die off. Again, this is critical for breaking the cycle. Use this spray when you have a lot of baseboard to treat, furniture, components like straw, fabric and other natural fibers. Defense is labeled for use on just about any surface and won’t stain or smell so it’s a great product to use for a lot of applications. It is particularly helpful when you want to store ornaments, wreathes or other items made from something natural which cigarette beetles like to eat. Lightly mist them, allow them to dry and then you can safely wrap them up for storage. Such applications will last a long time – especially when stored in boxes or bags protected from direct sunlight.
Pump Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/good/pump-sprayers
And for the best control, add some GENTROL IGR to the tank mix. Gentrol is odorless, can be mixed with the Defense and as explained above in the aerosol section, will last 90+ days. This means you’ll have something in place controlling all the hatching eggs which over time can really help stop the cycle without having to spray over and over with just Defense alone.
CIGARETTE BEETLE TRAPS
Once you’ve sprayed and allowed the treatment to dry, set up some CIGARETTE BEETLE TRAPS. These are pheromone based traps which lure adult beetles using natural sex scents. Once they fly to into the trap they will get stuck on the sticky glue pad inside. These traps should be set up in any room where you believe activity is present. One trap will cover 200 sq/ft and should be located high up since a higher placement will generally allow it’s odor to permeate better.
Cigarette Beetle Traps: http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/pheromone-and-food/cigarette-beetle-dt
Pheromone traps work great at catching cigarette beetles and most any processing plant or home with beetles should have these traps set up throughout the plant. They have proven to be so effective at reducing both activity and reproduction that a good trap installation will dramatically cut down on just how much spraying is needed. However, it is not likely you will be able to avoid chemical treatments once you have them; the traps work best at preventing infestations and when used as monitors to locate main nesting rooms or points of entry.
CIGARETTER BEETLE PEST CONTROL PROGRAM
In summary, cigarette beetles can be persistent and tough to control. If you are seeing one or two don’t wait till eggs get a chance to develop to adults. Set some traps out in any part of the house where you suspect they might be living. If you catch one or two a week you will need to start treatments ASAP. Use the aerosols if you only have a room or two to spray; go with the liquid mixtures if you have them throughout the whole house and need to cover a lot of area economically. A combination of traps and spray will kill off developing larva and reproducing adults so that you can stop the cycle once and for all.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
Email questions here: http://www.bugspray.com/about-us/contact-us
Order online and get a 5% discount! We ship fast with 99.9% of all orders shipping within 1 business day!!