Nobody likes bugs.  Of course, this includes cigars.  Perhaps you’d like to know what kind of bugs would ever bother a cigar? Despite what you may think, tobacco beetles are real. Furthermore, they love tobacco a lot more than you do. Despite the fact that most premium cigar-makers take measures to prevent outbreaks of cigar beetles, they can still occur when the conditions are right – even in your personal humidor at home.

Indications of Tobacco Beetles

A cigar’s wrapper is laced with tiny holes caused by tobacco beetles. These holes generally have a diameter of a pinhole. The holes seem to go straight through the center or along the side of the cigar. There is usually a trail of loose tobacco particles accompanying these tiny holes, which becomes more noticeable once they shake out of a cigar’s cellophane sleeve, if the cigar has still got the sleeve attached. Even with cellophane, beetles can destroy your cigar collection. It is possible that the beetles are limited to one or two cigars. Nevertheless, the longer they are allowed to persist, the more damage they cause. Cigar beetles can destroy a humidor full of cigars.

Tobacco Beetles: What are they?

The scientific name of cigarette beetles, cigar beetles, or tobacco beetles is Lasioderma serricorne. In spite of their small size, tobacco beetles harbor a voracious appetite on their way to adulthood. It is ironic that adult beetles don’t feed, but they will consume liquids. However, before becoming adults, tobacco beetle larvae consume everything in their path, including tobacco leaves, paper, and packaging. Typically, the cigar beetle lives for 40 to 90 days, depending on food and temperature. Ten to 100 eggs are laid by female beetles. Larvae emerge six to ten days later and feed for the next five to ten weeks.

In addition to damaging tobacco, tobacco beetles are known to damage a number of other household items, such as cereal, cocoa, coffee beans, flour, herbs, rice, nuts, spices, dates, raisins, and other products stored in pantries and kitchen cabinets. Flowers, potpourri, furniture stuffing, and more are also susceptible.

How do cigar beetles hatch?

A humid climate is essential for tobacco beetles to thrive, just like inside your humidor. Temperature often plays a role in the outbreak of cigar bugs. It’s impossible for beetles to find their way into your humidor by chance. It is transferred into it through cigars that contain beetle eggs you have purchased or been given. Beetle eggs are commonly found in cigars, but they require specific conditions in order to hatch.

When temperatures rise, outbreaks are more likely to occur. It’s important to maintain proper humidity levels in your humidor. You should not let the temperature in your humidor exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidors that are exposed to direct sunlight or are too close to heating vents, for example, can be prone to cigar beetle infestation.

Can a cigar with holes caused by beetles be smoked?

Definitely not. You wouldn’t want to do that. Premium handmade cigars are destroyed by cigar beetles. In addition to burning improperly, the cigar contains beetles. Throw it out. There is no point in attempting to smoke a cigar after it has been consumed by beetles.

Keep your humidor in check.

Check your cigars in your humidor a couple of times a week. Keep an eye out for signs of beetles as you rotate them. If you notice any signs that cigar beetles are present, however, you should take action to remove them as soon as possible and limit the damage that they cause. You can lose your entire cigar collection if you don’t intervene if you have an outbreak of cigar beetles.

Imagine coming home and discovering a whole box of Macanudo cigars destroyed by beetle-infested cigars you bought from a random vendor while on vacation? 

Getting Rid of Cigar Beetles

Remove all cigars from your humidor if a cigar beetle outbreak occurs. Whenever there is noticeable damage to a cigar, it is best to throw it away. Openings the size of pinholes in the wrapper of a cigar are evidence that a beetle has gotten inside. 

Once cigars have been destroyed by beetles, there is little you can do. If you have any remaining supplies, place them in ziplock bags. In case any of your cigars were purchased in the same box as the cigars containing beetles, keep the cigars in a ziplock bag and separate them from the rest. So as to prevent them from spreading further and to mitigate any further damage, we need to act quickly. For extra precision, keep each cigar in its own ziplock bag.

Now, place your ziplock bags into the freezer. Place them in the freezer for 3 days. The larvae of cigar beetles cannot survive in freezing temperatures. Move your ziplock bags into the refrigerator after 3 days. Continue to refrigerate them for at least another day. Your goal is to gradually warm the cigars after they’ve been frozen. When you immediately expose your cigars to room temperature, they can shock and crack because they will expand too quickly.

It’s safe to place your cigars in your humidor after 24 hours in the fridge. Make sure that the humidor has been thoroughly cleaned and that there are no traces of beetles in the box before you do this. Check your humidifier as well. If you suspect that it contains beetles, replace it. After that, you should be able to smoke cigars again in no time.

It is easy to get rid of cigar beetles. Preventing problems with your cigar collection begins with keeping a vigilant eye on it.