Lasioderma serricornecigarette beetle

Geographic Range

Cigarette beetles are found worldwide, everywhere that stored tobacco is found. They thrive in temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The beetle spread widely as it was transported in packaged tobacco or other packaged products. It is believed that the cigarette beetle originated in Egypt because their carcasses have been found in Egyptian tombs. (Ashworth, 1993; Jacobs, 1998; Lyon, 1991)


The habitat of cigarette beetles is difficult to define because they can be found anywhere that there are stored food products to eat. The only requirements that it needs for life are warm temperatures and some humidity. Elevation and proximity to water are apparently unimportant to this species. (Ashworth, 1993)

Physical Description

Adult cigarette beetles are small, reddish-yellow or brownish-red oval shaped beetles. They appear hunched when viewed from the side due to the angle of their head, which is bent downwards almost perpendicular to the thorax. Their wing covers are smooth and unstriated. Adult cigarette beetles are often confused with drugstore beetles, which have striated wing covers and are longer and thinner than drugstore beetles. Cigarette beetle larvae are off-white, grub-shaped, covered with long yellowish-brown hairs, and have three pairs of legs and a brown head. When fully grown, both adults and larvae are 2 to 3 mm long. Adults weigh 0.0016 to 0.0044 g. (Jacobs, 1998; Lyon, 1991)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range mass
    0.0016 to 0.0044 g
    0.00 to 0.00 oz
  • Range length
    2 to 3 mm
    0.08 to 0.12 in


Cigarette beetles begin life as eggs laid directly onto dried, stored foods. These eggs are pearly white and have many spines on the end from which the larvae emerge 6 to 8 days later. Larvae are creamy white in color and covered in fine, light brown hairs. Larvae are mobile, burrowing into loosely packed stored foods which they feed on until they are fully grown. The larvae then enter the pupal stage, building a cocoon in which they undergo metamorphosis. They emerge 4 to 12 days later as sexually mature adults. The adult females are able to oviposit after one day of emergence. This whole cycle is generally completed in 26 to 33 days. (Ashworth, 1993)


Cigarette beetles are polygynandrous organisms that reach sexual maturity during the pupal stage of development. In 10 to 12 hours after a female cigarette beetle emerges from its cocoon, it begins producing sex pheromones from a specialized pore on the second segment on its abdomen. This pheromone is highly attractive to male cigarette beetles. When a male beetle nears the source of the pheromones, is lowers its head, vibrates its antennae, and walks circles around the source. The male cigarette beetle then touches his antennae to the dorsal surface of the female and grasps her elytra. He then inserts his aedeagus (male reproductive organ) into the female's vagina. Once the beetles are connected, they remain connected, "end-to-end" position for 53 to 67 minutes to allow for sperm transfer. Length of copulation period is unaffected by temperature. Females normally mate with two males, whereas males normally mate at least 6 times. (Ashworth, 1993; Papadopoulou, 2006a)

Cigarette beetles emerge from their cocoons, an average of 4 weeks after birth, as fully developed, sexually mature adults. A female beetle is able to oviposit within one day of emergence. After fertilization, the female beetle looks for dry packaged food materials on which to oviposit. Female beetles most often lay their eggs on food products, which also produce the highest number of successful offspring. After the female deposits the eggs, she releases a pheromone that marks the spot so other beetles do not oviposit in the same place. Each female produces an average of 5.2 eggs which gestate for 6 to 8 days before the larvae emerge. (Ashworth, 1993; Hori, et al., 2011)

  • Breeding interval
    Female cigarette beetles mate twice and males mate more than 6 times within their short 2 to 7 week adult life.
  • Breeding season
    Cigarette beetles mate year-round.
  • Average eggs per season
  • Range gestation period
    6 to 8 days
  • Average time to independence
    0 minutes
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    4 weeks
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    4 weeks

The female cigarette beetle yolks and protects her eggs inside her body until she lays them.

  • Parental Investment
  • female parental care
  • pre-fertilization
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female


The lifespan of cigarette beetles in captivity is 26 days to 1 year, with an expected lifespan of 44 days. The optimal conditions for growth and development are between 30 and 37 degrees Celsius and 70 to 75% relative humidity. A constant temperature of greater than 40 degrees Celsius or less than -18 degrees Celsius is fatal to all stages of life and low humidity significantly shortens their lifespan. Larvae who eat more generally live to become larger, longer-living adults. Beetles raised on wheat flour have the highest body size and fecundity, laying an average of 10 times more eggs than beetles living on cigar tobacco. (Ashworth, 1993; Collins and Conyers, 2010; Mahroof and Phillips, 2008)

  • Range lifespan
    Status: captivity
    26 to 360 days
  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    44 days


Cigarette beetles are active both day and night, but rarely venture from their home in dried goods during the dry heat of the day. The adults are strong fliers and can fly to new food stores. Individuals cannot go too far because adults only live 23 to 28 days. They are most active in temperatures around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. (Ashworth, 1993; Lyon, 1991)

Home Range

Cigarette beetles rarely leave the food store that they were born in, but if the store is depleted, they can fly to a nearby food store and colonize it. (Ashworth, 1993)

Communication and Perception

Cigarette beetles use their senses of touch, sight (minimally), and chemical receptors to perceive their environment and communicate with other beetles. The most common form of communication between beetles is through the use of pheromones, which they use to attract mates and deter oviposition near an existing oviposition site. (Ashworth, 1993)

Food Habits

Cigarette beetles are best known for their infestations of dried tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars, however, they eat many types of stored products including raisins, figs, dates, ginger, pepper, nutmeg, chili powder, curry powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, yeast, drugs, legume seeds, barley, cornmeal, flour, soybean meal, sunflower meal, wheat, wheat bran, rice meal, beans, cereals, fish meal, peanuts, dry yeast, dried flowers, leather, woolen cloth, bamboo, and sometimes, the remains of dead insects. (Jacobs, 1998; Lyon, 1991)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects
  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • seeds, grains, and nuts
  • fruit
  • flowers


Cigarette beetles are prey to many mites and beetles. Mite predators include Chortoglyphrrgs raciiipes, Pediculoides uentricosus, Seiulus, Acaropsis docro, Acaropsis solers, Cheyletus erudirus, and Tyrophagus putrescentiae. They are also eaten by feather legged orb weavers (Uloborus geniculatus), red flour beetles (Tribolium castaneum), cadelle beetles (Tenebroides mauritanicus), and clerid beetles (Thaneroclerus buqueti). (Ashworth, 1993; Papadopoulou, 2006b)

Ecosystem Roles

Cigarette beetles feed solely on stored plant material and some carcasses of other insects found within their food source. There are some insects that prey on cigarette beetles like wasps (Anisopteromalus calandrae) and mites, (Moniezella angusta) which feed on the larvae of the cigarette beetle. If not living within human food stores, cigarette beetles may live in and eat dead plant matter. (Ashworth, 1993; Jacobs, 1998)

Species Used as Host
  • none found
Mutualist Species
  • none found
Commensal/Parasitic Species
  • mites (Pyemofes tritici)
  • bacteria (Bacillus cereus)
  • Nosema plodiae
  • Pyxinia sp.
  • Venturia contxen
  • Israelius carthami
  • Bruchophagus sp.
  • Norbonus sp.
  • Lariophagus distinguendus
  • Theocolax elegans
  • Anisopteromnlusc alandrae
  • Cephalonomia gallicola

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

There are no known positive effects of Lasioderma serricorne on humans.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Cigarette beetles feed on stored food products, contaminating them with excrement and dead bodies which can destroy entire stores of food. In 1950 and 1968, it is estimated that 0.7% of stored, unprocessed tobacco was destroyed by cigarette beetles in the U.S. Recently, cigarette beetles have begun infesting stored museum collections, using a newly developed biodegradable packing peanut as its food source. (Ashworth, 1993)

  • Negative Impacts
  • crop pest

Conservation Status

Cigarette beetles are not threatened or endangered, and researchers actually study how to decrease their population as they are pests to humans. This is because the cigarette beetle causes damage to stored food products throughout the world.

Other Comments

Polypropylene packaging is most effective in stopping cigarette beetle infestations. Also, increases in thickness of the packaging decreases pest permeability in all packaging materials. (Allahvaisi, et al., 2009)


Nicholas Brigham (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Catherine Kent (editor), Special Projects.



Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.

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living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

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living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

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living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

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living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

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living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.


having a worldwide distribution. Found on all continents (except maybe Antarctica) and in all biogeographic provinces; or in all the major oceans (Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific.


active at dawn and dusk


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature

female parental care

parental care is carried out by females


union of egg and spermatozoan


an animal that mainly eats leaves.


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body


referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.


A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

oceanic islands

islands that are not part of continental shelf areas, they are not, and have never been, connected to a continental land mass, most typically these are volcanic islands.


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.


chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species


the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.


remains in the same area


offspring are all produced in a single group (litter, clutch, etc.), after which the parent usually dies. Semelparous organisms often only live through a single season/year (or other periodic change in conditions) but may live for many seasons. In both cases reproduction occurs as a single investment of energy in offspring, with no future chance for investment in reproduction.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


living in residential areas on the outskirts of large cities or towns.


uses touch to communicate


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


living in cities and large towns, landscapes dominated by human structures and activity.


uses sight to communicate



Allahvaisi, S., A. Pourmirza, M. Safaralizade. 2009. Packaging of Agricultural Products for Preventing Tobacco Beetles Contaminations. NOTULAE BOTANICAE HORTI AGROBOTANICI CLUJ-NAPOCA, 37/2: 218-222.


Collins, D., S. Conyers. 2010. The effect of sub-zero temperatures on different lifestages of Lasioderma serricorne (F.) and Ephestia elutella (Hubner). JOURNAL OF STORED PRODUCTS RESEARCH, 46/4: 234-241.

Hori, M., M. Miwa, H. Izawa. 2011. Host suitability of various stored food products for the cigarette beetle, Lasioderma serricorne (Coleoptera: Anobiidae). APPLIED ENTOMOLOGY AND ZOOLOGY, 46/4: 463-469.

Jacobs, S. 1998. "Cigarette Beetle" (On-line). Accessed February 02, 2012 at

Lyon, W. 1991. "Cigarette and Drugstore Beetles" (On-line). Accessed February 02, 2012 at

Mahroof, R., T. Phillips. 2008. Life history parameters of Lasioderma serricorne (F.) as influenced by food sources. JOURNAL OF STORED PRODUCTS RESEARCH, 44/3: 219-226.

Papadopoulou, S. 2006. Tyrophagus putrescentiae (Schrank) (Astigmata : Acaridae) as a new predator of Lasioderma serricorne (F.) (Coleoptera : Anobiidae) in tobacco stores in Greece. JOURNAL OF STORED PRODUCTS RESEARCH, 42/3: 391-394.

Papadopoulou, S. 2006. Observations on the mating behavior of Lasioderma serricorne (F.) adults and experiments on their nutritional requirements in dried tobacco. COLEOPTERISTS BULLETIN, 60/4: 291-296.