Picture this: You’ve just woken up and you’re hungry for breakfast. You pour yourself some cereal and before you can reach for the milk, you notice a small bug crawling around in the bowl, then another. Still hungry?
Like many pantry pests, cigarette beetles can quickly infest your home and prevent you from enjoying your favorite foods. If you’re living with cigarette beetles in your Houston home, here’s what you need to know.
What Are Cigarette Beetles?
Cigarette beetles are small, reddish-brown-colored insects usually measuring about 1/8th of an inch in length. Their heads tend to dip downward relative to their bodies, giving them a humped or hunchbacked appearance. These tiny beetles will eat just about anything, and as their name suggests, tobacco products are some of their favorites. Cigarette beetles will feed on cereal, rice, pasta, dry spices, dried fruit, books, and furniture.
A female cigarette beetle can lay anywhere from 10 to 100 eggs at a time, causing infestations to grow rapidly if left untreated.
Cigarette beetles are often confused with the similar drugstore beetle. These two tiny bugs are practically identical in terms of size, color, and behavior. The only distinguishable differences are that cigarette beetles have serrated, jagged antennae while the drugstore beetle has smooth segmented antennae. The drugstore beetle has vertical lines running down its back while the cigarette beetle has a smooth back.
Do I Have Cigarette Beetles?
The easiest way to identify a cigarette beetle infestation is to check for holes in the packaging of foods stored in your pantry. If you notice food debris falling out of small openings in the bags and boxes in your pantry, it’s likely you have an infestation.
Cigarette beetles are also known to fly, especially around evening hours, and simply sighting the tiny pests can be confirmation of an infestation.
If you have cigarette beetle activity in your home, you’ll need to thoroughly inspect your pantry for any contaminated foods. Cigarette beetles can spoil your food with feces, body parts, eggs, and larvae. Go through everything on your shelves and throw away any infested or damaged foods.
Preventing Cigarette Beetles
There are a variety of ways that cigarette beetles can enter your home. They can crawl in through cracks in your foundation, gaps under doors, or through open windows. But commonly, cigarette beetles are brought home in infested products.
To prevent cigarette beetles or prevent an infestation from spreading, there are a few simple tips you can follow:
- Throw away all contaminated food. Cigarette beetles lay their eggs in pantry foods to ensure that their larvae have something to eat when they hatch. Getting rid of the eggs and larvae stops the next generation from spreading.
- Clean your pantry. Remove everything from your cupboards and shelves and give all surfaces a thorough wipe-down. Vacuum away any debris if possible.
- Downsize your pantry. Try and stock your pantry with foods you will eat regularly. The longer food goes untouched, the more likely it is to attract cigarette beetles and other pantry pests like Indian meal moths.
- Store food in sturdy containers. If an infestation develops in your pantry, cigarette beetles will be less likely to get into food stored in sturdy plastic, glass, or metal containers with tight-fitting lids, thus reducing the spread of cigarette beetles in your home.
Cigarette beetles can be a pain to deal with. If you’re experiencing an infestation and need advice or assistance, call Romney Pest Control. Our experts have years of experience in solving Houston’s pest problems and we can solve yours, too. Get in touch with us today.