What are Cigar Beetles and How to Get Rid of them!

If you are one of the unlucky cigar smokers that have run into cigar beetles you know how much damage they can do to your expensive cigars. Also known as the tobacco beetle or cigarette beetle, these are tough insects to fight and once they start they can ruin every cigar in your humidor very quickly if not found.

What is a cigar beetle:

The official name of these pests is Lasioderma Serricorne though most people in the cigar hobby call them cigar beetles and cigarette smokers call them the cigarette beetle or tobacco beetle. They grow between two and three millimeters and only live up to six weeks.They thrive in humid conditions and females lay about 100 eggs at a time. They can fly making it easy to make it around to a large area of tobacco in the aging process.

 

How can you tell if you have them:

Depending where you live will depend on your chances of getting them. People living in hot humid places like Florida should take extra time to keep an eye on their stogies when adding to the humidor. Go through your humidor and look at the cigars for small pin holes like you poked it with a small sewing pin. You may also be able to see the beetle moving around itself.

 

Ok, I have cigar beetles, now what:

So you ask, ok, they are basically too small to see and they only live 6 weeks, are they really going to do that much damage? The answer is yes they can and yes they will if left untreated. If you do have these nasty little things I truly hope they didn’t do much damage. If there is not a pile of dust just sitting your humidor then you should be able to save most or at least some of your collection. The tobacco beetle cannot handle the cold.

  1. The first thing you want to do is to look at every cigar in the humidor closely. Pull all the cigars out of beetle infested humidor and place them in zip locks.
  2. I know this may be hard but throw out the cigars that will not be able to be saved (large holes, torn up). You should be able to save the cigars with just small pin holes.
  3. Make sure to zip the bags tightly and squeeze out as much air as you can without hurting your stogies worse than they already are.
  4. Place the zipped bags in the freezer.
  5. Wipe your humidor down and clean it very well to get rid of any eggs or cigar beetles that might have been left.
  6. At seven days take the cigars out of the freezer and move them into the refrigerator.
  7. After 48 hours in the fridge, you can place your cigars back into your cleaned humidor.
tobacco beetles
This picture makes me sick to my stomach.

The cigars have made a long trip from the hot fields to the humid aging piles to your store, and then to you giving those trouble makers plenty of time to settle in and to feel at home. Just about all major manufactures treat for the Lasioderma serricorne before the smokes are even sent your way, unfortunately not all do and other make it through the process. Though cigar beetles can hatch in lower humidity and temperature you can slow the process down a lot by keeping your humidor at or below the 70/70 set up (70 degrees and 70% humidity). I personally try to keep my cigars between 65%-68% humidity and just cool as they are in the basement.

Like stated above the tobacco beetle thrives in humid condition. Though it is possible to get them with lower RH it is a safe bet that your humidor relative humidity was high when the breakout happened. It is always a good idea to keep your humidor out of direct sunlight, it is even better to keep it in a darker place like the basement. But most importantly just watch out for your prized collection and check them every so often.

Last but not least I have found an informational video from Cigar Aficionado that shows the beetles in action and what was done to clear up the issue.

 

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