Cigarette beetle

An adult cigarette beetle

An adult cigarette beetle

General information

The cigarette beetle is a pest in stored products as well as some building and wooden ornamental materials. There are about 1100 species of anobiid beetles (Family Anobiidae) world-wide, but only about 200 of these occur in Australia. In Queensland, four species of anobiid may be found in or around buildings; the Queensland pine beetle and the common furniture beetle, a native of Europe, are of economic significance, while the pine bark anobiid and the cigarette beetle are of minor importance. Changes to building practices have decreased the risk of attack to timber-in-service and reports of damage have become less frequent.

Scientific name

Lasioderma serricorne

Description
  • Adults are about 3 mm long, with a light brown to shining red integument which is finely punctured and covered with very short hairs.
  • Oval, whitish eggs are laid in and about food materials.
  • Mature larvae are about 4 mm long, curved, hairy and pupate in silken cocoons covered with bits of foodstuffs.
Similar species
Distribution
  • It is a cosmopolitan species and common in Queensland.
Life cycle
  • It has a relatively short life cycle, as little as five weeks, and adults are active all year.
Damage
  • It is a pest in stored products, and is often found in pantry items such as breakfast cereals, dog biscuits and paprika.
  • Some building or ornamental materials may be attacked, particularly some compressed fibre boards and ponga (New Zealand tree ferns) Cyathea species and Dicksonia sclerosa.
  • As with other anobiids, the larvae cause most of the damage.
  • Adults may emerge through covering materials, leaving small circular holes about 2 mm in diameter.
  • It is very common in Queensland, but is not a major pest of building materials.
Management
  • Infestations in some compressed fibre boards can be managed; obtain advice from a professional pest control agency.
  • In some susceptible compressed fibre boards, insecticides are incorporated during manufacture to prevent attack.
  • Untreated, insect-free, susceptible materials can be painted or varnished on all surfaces to prevent infestation.
  • Ponga ornaments can be disinfested by deep freezing for a few days. Reinfestation can be prevented by thoroughly coating the ornament with clear varnish.

Last updated 08 May 2013