Cigarette Beetle

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Actual Size: Approximately 2 – 3mm

Characteristics: Rounded-oval shape, squat proportions; shiny reddish-brown color.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes, and adults are strong fliers.

Habitat: Named for their tendency to infest warehouses that contain dried tobacco. Will also invade homes to feed on cereal, flour, and other stored foodstuffs.


  • A major pest of tobacco and dry food goods.
  • Eggs are laid directly on food so that larvae have a meal once they hatch.
  • Sometimes confused with the drugstore beetle.

Cigarette Beetles in Mid-South TN

The cigarette beetle is found all over the world. Here in the United States, it’s a major pest of tobacco. Eggs are laid in the folds of newly harvested, baled, or bundled tobacco leaves, but never on live plants. In warm climates like the Mid-South TN area, there may be up to three generations per year. Cigarette beetles will also infest pantries and food storage areas and are even known to chew through books, manuscripts, upholstery, and other organic materials.

Cigarette Beetle Habitat

Cigarette beetles are active all year. In  the southern U.S., cigarette beetles may fly to homes from nearby tobacco warehouses. They will feed on cereal, flour, and other pantry staples.

Cigarette Beetle Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Cigarette beetles are a nuisance pest. They are not considered harmful to humans or pets. Aside from their appetite for tobacco, cigarette beetles are also a very serious book pest, as they can eat the binding and pages. If you suspect an infestation in your home, focus on finding and discarding infested materials. Check spices, pet food, and old rodent bait.