What are Drugstore and Cigarette Beetles

Drugstore Beetle and Cigarette Beetles


With names like these, you may expect to see them hanging around drug stores smoking and watching the people go by. In fact, that is not too far wrong. Cigarette beetles infest a wide variety of dry foods and are a huge problem in tobacco storage. They not only go for dried cereals but spices, fish, and certain furniture upholstery. If it is warm and humid enough they can reproduce for six generations a year.


Drugstore beetles can eat even more things than the cigarette beetle. It can eat almost any dried human or pet food as well as wood, books, cosmetics, and drugs found in pharmacies, where it gets its name. It can bore its way through tinfoil and sheet lead. They can also continue reproducing well in humid warm conditions.


The damage drugstore beetles and cigarette beetles do is not small. They leave excrement and larva in the food which, if there is enough, can become carcinogenic compounds. They make the food smell and taste bad and can cause irritation of the throat, mouth and stomach of people who eat them.


The only truly effective control of drugstore beetle or cigarette beetles is cleanliness and prevention. First, find out if your food or other objects such as prescription drugs or furniture is infested. These pests may be in unexpected places such as packages that have not been opened yet, so you need to check everything. Infested items should be thrown out or if they are not very heavily infested yet they can be frozen for a few days or heated in an oven to 140 degrees F to salvage them. The cupboard should be washed with soap and hot water. Disinfectants are not really necessary because the pests do not live on the shelf but in the food. Vacuuming the cracks and seams is the most effective treatment. If these measures don’t solve the problem, you need to check the food again as well as check other possible sources. Make sure all the food items are in glass or heavy plastic containers with tight lids. Keeping some in the refrigerator, if you have the space, is the best preventative.


Remember to check in the grocery store before you buy dry foods such as flour, cereals, dried fruit and pasta that the package is intact. The drugstore beetles and cigarette beetles are usually brought into the home in already infested products. Because of this never mix old and new products. This is essential for pet food including bird seed as they are also possible infested food items.  These preventative and sanitation measures are the best control. It is not advisable to use sprays or any poison because these insects live in human food. If you think your infestation is huge and want to do something strong, you can put a mile insecticide in the cracks of your cupboard. Usually, pyrethroids are used and you should consult a professional or make sure you get correct directions online from a reputable source.