Cigarette Beetle

Actual Size: 2 to 3 mm

Characteristics: Small, squat beetle; shiny reddish-brown.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes

Habitat: Will infest tobacco, food storage areas, and other pantry items.


  • Sometimes confused with the “drugstore” beetle.
  • Major pests of tobacco and stored food products.
  • Eggs laid directly on food to ensure larvae will have a meal once they hatch.

Cigarette Beetles in Vermont

The cigarette beetle is found throughout the world and the United States. It is a threatening pest of tobacco where the eggs are laid in the folds of newly harvested, baled, or bundled leaves in storage, but never on live plants in the field. Five or six generations per year may occur in warm localities, and in the U.S., three generations can occur per year. They can also be found in food storage areas and are known to chew through books, manuscripts, furniture fabrics, and other organic materials.

Cigarette Beetle Habitat

Cigarette beetle adults are strong fliers and will fly on late afternoons and dull cloudy days. These beetles are active all year long and will infest storage areas or warehouses that contain dried tobacco. In the southern parts of the country, cigarette beetles may fly to homes from nearby warehouses and cause a reinfestation. They will also invade homes to feed on cereal, flour, and other stored products that are a staple of most pantries.

Cigarette Beetle Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Cigarette beetles are not considered harmful to humans or pets. Their habit of infesting people’s food and pet food makes them a nuisance pest. This cosmopolitan species will infest dried vegetable materials including tobacco wherever it is stored and is the most destructive pest in stored tobacco. It is also a very serious pest of books, where it may cause injury to the binding and the leaves. If an infestation is suspected in homes, the focus will be on finding and discarding infested materials. It is particularly important to check spices, pet food, and old rodent bait.

If you need help or advice with cigarette beetles, contact your local pantry pest control company.