Cigarette Beetles

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Actual Size: 2 to 3 mm

Characteristics: Small, rounded-oval shape, squat beetle; shiny reddish-brown.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes, and adults are strong fliers.

Habitat: Known to infest storage areas or warehouses that contain dried tobacco. Will invade homes to feed on cereal, flour, and other stored products that are a staple of most pantries.


  • Sometimes confused with the drugstore beetle.
  • A major pest of tobacco and stored food products.
  • Eggs are laid directly on food to ensure larvae will have a meal once they hatch.

Cigarette Beetles in North Carolina

The cigarette beetle is found throughout the world and the United States. It is an important pest of tobacco where the eggs are laid in the folds of newly harvested, baled, or bundled leaves in storage, but never on live plants in the field. Five or six generations per year may occur in warm localities, and in the U.S., three generations can occur per year. They can also be found in food storage areas and are known to chew through books, manuscripts, furniture fabrics, and other organic materials.

Because there are many different types of beetles in North Carolina, they can be difficult to distinguish, however our common beetle species can help with this.

Cigarette Beetle Habitat

Cigarette beetle adults are strong fliers and will fly on late afternoons and dull cloudy days. These beetles are active all year long and will infest storage areas or warehouses that contain dried tobacco. In the southern parts of the country, cigarette beetles may fly to homes from nearby warehouses and cause a re-infestation. They will also invade homes to feed on cereal, flour, and other stored products that are a staple of most pantries.

Cigarette Beetle Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Cigarette beetles are not considered harmful to humans or pets. Their habit of infesting people’s food and pet food makes them a nuisance pest. This cosmopolitan species will infest dried vegetable materials including tobacco wherever it is stored and is the most destructive pest in stored tobacco. It is also a very serious pest of books, where it may cause injury to the binding and the leaves. If an infestation is suspected in homes, the focus will be on finding and discarding infested materials. It is particularly important to check spices, pet food, and old rodent bait. If you are dealing with a cigarette beetle problem, contact your local beetle exterminators for help.

What Causes Cigarette Beetles?

Cigarette Beetle infestations often start from infested food products brought into the home or facility. They can also migrate from neighboring areas if there are suitable food sources and breeding conditions.

Cigarette Beetle Vs. Drugstore Beetle

Cigarette Beetles are often confused with Drugstore Beetles. The main difference lies in their physical appearance; Cigarette Beetles have a more rounded body and a smooth wing cover, while Drugstore Beetles have a more elongated body with wing covers that have distinct ridges.

Cigarette Beetle Eggs

Cigarette Beetle eggs are tiny and often laid directly in or near food sources. The larvae that hatch from these eggs are the primary cause of damage to stored products.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Causes Cigarette Beetle?

Cigarette beetles are attracted to stored products, especially tobacco, dried herbs, and some food items. Infestations usually occur from infested products brought into the home or storage areas.

What is the Difference Between a Cigarette Beetle and a Drugstore Beetle?

While similar in appearance, cigarette beetles (Lasioderma serricorne) and drugstore beetles (Stegobium paniceum) can be distinguished by their antennae and elytra (wing covers). Cigarette beetles have serrated antennae and smooth elytra, while drugstore beetles have clubbed antennae and grooved elytra. They also infest different types of products.

What is the Life Cycle of Lasioderma serricorne (Cigarette Beetle)?

The life cycle of the cigarette beetle consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The female beetle lays eggs in a food source, from which larvae emerge and feed. After several weeks, the larvae pupate, and adults emerge in about 1-4 weeks. The entire life cycle can take anywhere from 6 weeks to several months, depending on environmental conditions.