Tobacco beetles, cigar bugs, or scientifically known as Lasioderma serricorne; This little nuisance can cause destruction of your beloved cigars. With minimal warning and the proper weather conditions the tobacco beetle can turn your cigars to dust. If suspect of a tobacco beetle infection there are measures you can take and prevent a full blown attack.
Let’s Understand the Tobacco Beetle
The tobacco beetle is quite small in size; on average growing between 2-3 mm in length. Size comparisons are often made with the size of a pinhead. Life cycles are in a four stage 10-12 week process: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
The female adult will eat through the wrapper of the cigar and bury itself in the tobacco to lay its eggs, approximately 100 eggs. Shortly after, 6-10 days, the eggs will turn to larvae. Larvae will survive by eating your tobacco and ruining your sticks. I will not go into too much detail of the pupa and adult stages – but these bugs will then start to reproduce and the chances of hurting your other cigars will increase.
L. serricorne thrive in very warm clients above 70 degrees (F), however the L. serricorne beetle has been found in temperatures as low as 65 degrees (F). I also want you to know, and please take note, the tobacco beetle CAN FLY.
Evidence of Tobacco Beetles
It is very important that you always check the cigars in your humidor (or similar storage device) for tiny holes on the outside wrapper. This will be your first – and hopefully your last indication of the bug.
The second thing you may see is a light black dust that will either be next to the cigars – or if the cigar is tapped it will fall out. This is tobacco beetle do-do.
Found Tobacco Beetles ? – Do This
You must immediately isolate the infected cigars from the cigars showing no wear. Please keep in mind the tobacco beetles can fly – move – and just generally get around. If the infected cigars were sitting next to others you must consider the others also infected. For boxes – the cigar bugs shouldn’t have moved from one closed box to another. You must check your cigars and make a judgment. I choose to error on the side of caution and place all nearby cigars and cigar boxes in the “contaminated” pile for cleaning.
Take the cigars, remove them from the box they are in (or humidor) and place them in a freezer bag (double bag). To reduce the shock of cigars I slowly introduce cigars into the cold (they can only live in warm weather; freezing will kill the tobacco beetle).
- Place the freezer bag of cigars in the fridge for one day.
- Move the cigars into the coldest part of your freezer for 3 days.
- Return the cigars to the fridge for one day.
- You can then bring them back into the humidor.
Many have suggested you do this process twice to ensure the tobacco beetles have been killed.
….ONLY AFTER YOU….
Clean the humidor. When you start the process of freezing your cigars you should also start to clean your humidor.
- Remove everything from the box and wipe it down with a clean cloth and distilled water. Vacuum the inside and make sure all bits of tobacco are removed (the food source).
- Place the humidor in open air and allow it to try; removing all humidity.
- Allow it to sit and dry out for about a week.
- You will of course have to re-prepare the humidor to accept the cigars again.
The infection of tobacco beetles happened because your living situation was just right. Make sure the cigars are not too warm or too humid. Many smokers will try to keep the temperature of cigars at 69 degrees (F) or lower. When lowering the temperature you will have to adjust to the proper humidity, 70 percent rule no longer applies.
Quick Note On Cuban Cigars
I was told that all Cuban cigars should be immediately treated as if they are infect because of the curing process they go, or don’t go, through.
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