Cigarette Beetle

Categories: ,

Actual Size: 2 to 3 mm

Characteristics: Small, thick, and oval-shaped body. Shiny reddish-brown coloration.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes, and adults are strong fliers.

Habitat: Gets their name from their habit of infesting tobacco storage areas and warehouses. May also invade homes to feed on flour, cereal, and other stored food products.


  • Frequently mistaken for the drugstore beetle due to similar appearance.
  • Are economically damaging to the tobacco industry and food processing plants.
  • Lays eggs directly on food to ensure the larvae have an immediate meal.

Cigarette Beetles in Memphis TN Metro Area

The cigarette beetle can be discovered all over the globe, including the United States. It is a troublesome insect for tobacco because it lays its eggs in the creases of newly collected, baled, or bundled leaves during storage, but never on plants growing in the field. In warm places, there may be about five or six generations per year, while in the U.S., three generations can occur annually. These beetles can also be present in places where food is stored, and they are notorious for gnawing on books, manuscripts, furniture fabrics, and other natural materials.

Cigarette Beetle Habitat

Adult cigarette beetles possess strong flying abilities and can take flight during late afternoons and on overcast days. These beetles remain active throughout the entire year and can infest storage spaces or warehouses where dried tobacco is kept. In southern regions, cigarette beetles may fly from nearby warehouses to homes, leading to re-infestation. Moreover, they have a tendency to invade homes to consume pantry staples such as cereal, flour, and other stored products.

Cigarette Beetle Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Cigarette beetles are not known to be harmful to humans or pets. However, their tendency to invade food and pet food can be quite bothersome. As a widespread species, they can infest stored tobacco, posing a significant threat to its quality. Additionally, they are considered a major pest for books, potentially causing damage to the binding and pages. If an infestation is suspected in homes, the primary focus would be on locating and disposing of the 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.