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Frequently Asked Questions: Tobacco Beetles

 


Tobacco Beetle Damage

Tobacco Beetle Damage
Lasioderma serricorne, also known as tobacco, cigar, and cigarette beetle, are infamous for devastating precious cigars. Microscopic L. serricorne eggs exist in tobacco and foods alike. While tobacco beetles can be found in environments exceeding 65°F, they typically hatch in conditions over 73°F, with high humidity.

Of the four stages the beetle grows in and out of (egg - larva - pupa - adult), the larva stage is undoubtedly the most devastating for smokers. Emerging from the egg, approximately six to ten days after the temperature triggers their birth, the larva live and feed off of your cigars, for roughly five to ten weeks.

They will feed off of cigars, leaving them strewn with holes and looking like Swiss cheese. Larva then transition into the pupa (cocoon) stage and later emerge as adults. Unfortunately, by the time tobacco beetles reach adulthood and crawl out of a cigar, most major damage has already been done. The adult tobacco beetle will measure approximately two to three millimeters in length and have a reddish-brown color.

Although the future may appear bleak to anyone experiencing a tobacco beetle infestation, there are steps individuals can take in order to salvage their tobacco.

Tobacco Beetle Eradication

  • 1. First and foremost, isolate any cigars which may be infested. Remove cigars from your humidor and inspect every square inch. Tobacco beetles will eat through cellophane, thin plastic wrap, and cedar: so inspect every cigar in your collection for damage. When in doubt, assume all cigars are infested. HINT: Tobacco beetles leave behind tobacco dust, in addition to holes in cigars. Where there is tobacco dust, there may be beetles!

  • 2. Separate your infested cigars into boxes and re-sealable plastic bags. Then place them in the freezer for 3 days. Temperatures of 1˚F or lower will crack the larvae and kill both eggs and adults. This is obviously a harsh treatment for such fragile and precious items. Unfortunately, aside from professional fumigation which involves chemicals, there is no other alternative.

  • 3. After three days in the freezer, place the cigars in a refrigerator for at least 24 hours to minimize temperature shock and further damage to the cigars.

  • 4. After this point you can return the cigars to your clean humidor.

  • 5. Always keep your humidor temperature under 73°F.






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Harvey Mole, CRT Georgetown Tobacco
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