Cigarette Bettle



Cigarette Beetle (Lasioderma serricorne)

Kenneth A. Welch
Department of Entomology
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
123 Huntington Street
P.O. Box 1106
New Haven, Connecticut 06504-1106

Telephone: (203) 974-8483 Fax: (203) 974-8502


The cigarette beetle has four stages in its life cycle.

  • Adult: The adult cigarette beetle is a small, red-brown beetle. When viewed from above it appears oval, and in profile humpbacked in shape (the head and pronotum are bent forward). It is about 1/10 to 1/8 inches long. The antennae are serrate (the side edge of each antennal segment is pointed like a saw tooth). The wing coverings (elytra) are smooth without longitudinal grooves. They are strong fliers and attracted to light at night such as a lamp or TV set.
  • Egg: The eggs are white, oval and too small to be easily seen with the naked eye.
  • Larva: The larvae are white and grub-like. They have a fuzzy appearance due to the long hairs that cover their bodies. When full grown they are about 4mm long.
  • Pupa: This stage is intermediate between the larval and adult stage. Larvae spin themselves into a cocoon prior to becoming pupae.


Life Cycle: Both adults and larvae are capable of readily penetrating many types of packaging material. Adults lay their eggs on the food material the larvae are to feed on. Adults live 2-4 weeks. Females lay up to 100 eggs; the development time from egg to adult is 6-8 weeks. There are 3-6 generations/year. The minimum development temperature is 65 F.

Food infested (Damaged):

  • Plant material - Aniseed, areca nuts, atta (a wheat product in India), bamboo, beans, biscuits, cassava, chickpeas, cigars, cigarettes, cocoa beans, coffee beans, copra, coriander, cottonseed (before and after harvest), cottonseed meal, cumin, dates, dogfood, dried banana, dried cabbage, dried carrot, dried fruits, drugs, flax tow, flour, ginger, grain, herbs, herbarium specimens, insecticides containing pyrethrum, juniper seed, licorice root, paprika, peanuts, rhubarb, rice, seeds of various trees and plants, spices, and yeast.
  • Other food materials include dried insects, dried fish, fishmeal, and meatmeal. The cigarette beetle has also been recorded attacking leather, furniture stuffing, bookbinders paste, and the stored wax of Cocos coronata. It has also done incidental damage to cloth upholstery and paper books.

Control: The cigarette beetle can be controlled without the use of pesticides. It is important that susceptible food material be stored so that adults and larvae may not have access to it. Glass jars and plastic containers with air tight covers effectively keep food insect-free. Infestations observed on food stored in either type of storage container are trapped and unable to spread to other food items. Susceptible food items need to be tightly contained or stored in the refrigerator or freezer, or be consumed within two to three weeks of purchase.


The cigarette beetle feeds on a variety of stored products such as paprika, chili, and dried dog food. Both adults and larvae are capable of readily penetrating many types of packaging material. The four stages in their life cycle are the egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Adults are strong fliers and are attracted to light at night. Adult beetles flying around lights at night are often the first indication of their presence. Control can be achieved without the use of pesticides.