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How Big A Problem Are Cigarette Beetles In Houston Homes?

Serving Families Throughout Dallas, Fort Worth & Houston
cigarette beetle on a leaf

Who doesn’t love food? Houston has numerous diverse neighborhoods that offer a huge variety of flavors that can tempt even the most refined pallet. With all these options for Houston residents to choose from, the products used to make these yummy delights are important. People are not the only Houston residents that enjoy the products used to make Houston’s yummy food. Cigarette beetles love variety in their food as well and are more than willing to invade your property in search of a feast.

What Is A Cigarette Beetle?

Cigarette beetles are pests of stored products. They are quite small measuring between 2-3mm with a yellowish to reddish-brown color and rounded oval shape. Because their heads are often bent down, they can appear to have a humped back. When a cigarette beetle is disturbed, it pulls its legs in, tucks its head, and lays motionless. They prefer dark or dimly lit cracks, nooks, and crevices. Dusk and nighttime are their most active times; however, they will readily fly into bright and open areas. They are often confused with drugstore beetles (which are almost identical) and furniture beetles.

The best ways to tell the difference between these 3 beetles are as follows:

  • Cigarette beetles and drugstore beetles share a similar reddish-brown color. The color of the furniture beetle can vary, but it is typically black with yellow and white scales on the back and thick yellow scales on the legs.
  • The cigarette beetle's wing covers are smooth, while the drugstore beetle’s wing covers have rows of pits that give them a lined appearance.
  • Many beetles have long, narrow scales, however, the furniture beetle has round, oval scales.
  • Cigarette beetle antennae are serrated (like teeth on a saw); the antennae of a drugstore beetle are not. The drugstore beetle's antennae have what looks like three-segmented clubs on the end.

What Do Houston Cigarette Beetles Feed On?

Cigarette beetles can be found worldwide and can cause tremendous damage and economic loss. As its name suggests, they love to feed off and lay their eggs in dried tobacco. This includes tobacco leaves, cigars, cigarettes, or chewing tobacco. In addition to its honor of being the most damaging pest of stored tobacco, the cigarette beetle is also willing to feed and lay eggs in many stored food products.

They also enjoy some of the following products:

  • Flours and dry mixes
  • Dried fruits such as dates and raisins
  • Pasta, crackers, and bread
  • Packaged food products such as cereals, cocoa, coffee beans, herbs, spices, candy, nuts, and rice
  • Stored grains and seeds (such as birdseed)
  • Dry dog food and other non-food items including dried plants, dried floral, and even upholstery stuffing

How Do Houston Residents Identify Cigarette Beetle Infestations?

The most visible sign that you have a cigarette beetle infestation is holes in your packages and debris coming out of packages. Any stored food that has been infested must be disposed of immediately. Some steps property owners can take to prevent infestations are as follows:

  • Only purchase items that have sealed packages with no signs of damage.
  • Store food in airtight glass, metal, or plastic containers with sealed lids.
  • After any baking, make sure all counters, pantries, and cabinets have been thoroughly cleaned.
  • Carefully check expiration dates on packages.

All-Safe Pest & Termite Can Handle Cigarette Beetles

Food contamination is the biggest problem posed by cigarette beetles. This contamination can be quite costly for a property owner. All-Safe Pest & Termite can rid Houston residents of this pest and provide services that prevent future infestation problems.

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