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8 Signs of Cigarette Beetles in Your Home


There are 350,000 species of beetles in the world, and 30,000 of them live in the US. This can be creepy to think about since all it takes is one or two beetles to start an infestation in your house.

One pesky beetle is the cigarette beetle. While it’s harmless to humans, it’s an especially annoying pest. It’s incredibly difficult to exterminate on your own. However, with some awareness, you can take care of things before they get serious.

Below are eight signs that you have cigarette beetles in your house.

1. You See Tiny Beetles

One of the most obvious signs that you have cigarette beetles is that you see them!

These bugs are very small, so you’ll have to look hard. They’re between 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch long and are reddish-brown in color. They have six legs, antennae, and wings.

Adults will live between two to four weeks long; the entire lifespan of the beetle is four to eight weeks long.

Because cigarette beetles have wings, you might spot them flying around. It’s easy to mistake them for small flies, so look closer the next time you think you’ve got those.

The adults are attracted to light, so if you suspect you have an infestation, check around your lights and windows.

2. Your Stored Goods Are Damaged

Although they’re called cigarette beetles, these pests will eat much more than just tobacco. They can eat pretty much any stored goods, such as grains, spices, and dried fruits. Keep an eye out on your books, as they can eat these too. Anything that’s dried and organic, they’re probably interested in.

Inspect the packaging of your goods and look for holes or tunnels. Even though there are other pests that can eat these items, these can be tell-tale signs that you have cigarette beetles on your hands.

3. You’ve Found Webbing or Silk-Like Material

Have you found webbing on your food items, and it doesn’t look like a spider’s web? Then you might have cigarette beetles.

This pest goes through several phases in its life, and one is the cocoon phase as a pupa. This is what they are between larvae and adults. When these beetles create cocoons, they’ll look like webbing or silk-like material.

If you’re lucky enough not to have spotted these things yet, then do a closer inspection of your home to make sure. You’ll want to look at the corners and crevices of your cabinets. The silky material may also be on the surface of your stored goods.

4. There’s a Foul Odor

The good news is, there won’t be a foul odor unless you have a large pest infestation. On the flip side, if you do notice this sign, then you’ve got a huge problem.

If you find damaged stored goods and the webbing or silk-like material, take a whiff of the area. If the products don’t smell normal and/or have a foul odor, but you don’t see any beetles, then be careful. If you poke around, you’re likely to find a huge population somewhere.

5. You’ve Found Larvae or Eggs

At the beginning of their life cycle, cigarette beetles are little larvae. An adult female can lay 10 to 100 eggs on your food sources, so the population can explode quickly.

The eggs themselves are small and oval-shaped. You might find them either directly on your stored good’s packaging or in the vicinity.

The larvae are cream-colored and round. They also have lots of tiny hairs.

At this stage, they’ll stay on the food for two to five weeks, molting multiple times while they grow larger.

6. There are Pupal Cases

Right before they turn into adults, cigarette beetle larvae go through the pupal stage. They spin cocoons and stay in them for 12 to 18 days, after which they become adults.

The pupae are small and light brown, so you might mistake them for tiny grains of rice. These pupal cases may be scattered in cracks, crevices, and corners near the areas of infestation. In larger infestations, you’ll find clusters of them.

7. There’s an Accumulation of Frass

Frass is something many pests produce, including termites. This is their waste product, which is a combination of actual excrement and chewed-up food particles.

Like with termites, cigarette beetle frass can look like sawdust or sand. But if you look closer, they’re small granular droppings. Naturally, these will be near infested items, so if you find frass, closely examine anything you’ve stored in that area.

8. Increased Beetle Activity

You might not think there’s a big problem if you’ve only spotted one or two cigarette beetles in your house. However, increased beetle activity is a surefire sign that you need to take action.

These pests are more active during warmer weather. And if you see more beetles around in the daytime than before, then that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Do You Have Cigarette Beetles in Your Home?

Cigarette beetles may be harmless to humans, but they’re a stubborn pest that’s difficult to eliminate.

If you’ve spotted them in your home, then throw out all infested food. You should clear out your pantry too, and inspect your property for entryways, such as cracks and crevices.

While these steps can make your property less appealing to cigarette beetles, chances are, you’ll still have a sizable population left, especially since they can migrate quickly. This is why it’s important to get a pest control company on the job ASAP if you think you’ve got these pests.

For effective pest control, contact us today. We have over 20 years of experience and have customized solutions that are both family and pet-friendly.

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