Cigarette Beetle



Order:   Coleoptera



  Ecological role  



The most important insect pest of stored tobacco.   Package and chewing tobaccos, cigars, and cigarettes that have been attacked by cigarette beetles have holes eaten through the tobacco.   Adults and larvae also are omnivorous pests of other stored products.   They can be found in stored grains, where they feed on debris or dead insects and damage the grain.   Their main impact in households is on stored commodities, such as spices, rice, ginger, raisins, pepper, drugs, seeds, and dried flower arrangements.


The reddish-brown adults are small, stout and oval, about 1/10 inch long, and the elytra (wing covers) are covered with fine hairs.   The antennae are saw-like and the head is retracted at nearly a right angle to the body, giving the beetle a humped appearance when viewed from the side.   When disturbed they often pull in their legs, tuck their head and lay motionless.   The wormlike larvae are creamy white except for the yellow head and brown mouthparts, and are slightly smaller than the adults.

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Last Updated:   08 October 2003
John R. Meyer
Department of Entomology
NC State University