Cigarette Beetle, Lasioderma Serricorne

Lasioderma serricorne, the cigarette beetle or tobacco beetle is a serious pest of refined cigarette and raw tobacco sources. The cigarette beetle is also a minor pest of dried fruits, cereals, oilseeds and flour.

Lasioderma serricorne, the cigarette beetle is a common warehouse pest in both tropical and temperate countries. The cigarette beetle is typically pan-tropical but can be found worldwide, especially wherever dried tobacco is stored in the form of leaves, cigars, cigarettes or chewing tobacco.

It is estimated that at least 1% of all warehouse tobacco commodity is infested and damaged by the Cigarette beetle, Lasioderma serricorne in the USA. This is equivalent to $300 million of stored tobacco stock per year, resulting in serious economic consequences for the manufacturer/distributor. Pheromone traps are widely used to monitor and help manage this species and are available from Russell IPM.

Cigarette Beetle

Adult cigarette beetles are most commonly found in yellow to red-brown shades. The oval body of Lasioderma serricorne is approximately 1-2 mm long and is covered with small hairs. Adults of the cigarette beetle are strong fliers, mostly taking flight at night when they are attracted to light.

Adults of the cigarette beetle can survive for around 2–6 weeks in which time they mate and lay eggs. The female beetle lays egg on or near the food supply. Mature female lays up to 90-100 eggs loosely. Eggs of the cigarette beetle hatch after approximately 5-7 days. This beetle does not survive well in cold temperatures and adults will die after 6 days exposure at 4°C.

The larvae are creamy white except for the yellow head and brown mouthparts. Newly hatched larvae are very active and bore into the stored product, feeding as they grow. Larvae become fully grown with 40-42 days.

Pupation lasts between 1 and 4 weeks. The entire life cycle can be completed in 50-55 days, and there may be 3-6 generations a year in tropical climate and only one generation in temperate climate.

Nature of Damage

The larvae of the cigarette beetle can feed on dried tobacco either in the stored, bundled form or in cigars, cigarettes, and chewing tobacco. The pest also feeds on book bindings and leaves, causing irreparable damage to products and making it a common pest of museums and stately homes.

Lasioderma serricorne, the cigarette beetle, also causes damage to a variety of stored products including grain, cereal products, ginger, raisins, dates, pepper, dried fish, pharmaceuticals and seeds.


Russell IPM has developed the Safestore Cigarette Beetle Pheromone Trap for monitoring the Lasioderma serricorne population. The Safestore trap is available in a diamond trap or pit fall trap with a highly attractive cigarette beetle pheromone for maximum pest attraction.

Farsidi, M. & Mason, L. J. (2013) Influence of food/sex pheromones on young mated cigarette beetles (Lasioderma serricorne) flight initiation. Journal of Stored Products Research, Volume 53.

Pheromone traps have been used successfully for monitoring of stored-product insects in the facilities but factors that could influence accuracy have not been fully examined. In this study, we examined the influence of lure (food for females and sex pheromone for males) on minimum flight initiation temperature (MFIT1) and percentage of 6–9 d-old mated cigarette beetles, Lasioderma serricorne (F.) that initiate flight. Temperature had a greater influence on minimum flight initiation temperature compared to food lure for young mated females or sex pheromone lure for young mated males. There was no significant effect of sex pheromone lure on the MFIT of 6–9 d-old mated male cigarette beetles nor was there a significant effect of food lure on the MFIT of 6–9 d-old mated females.

Mokhtar, A. S. et al., (2016) First Case Report of Canthariasis in an Infant Caused by the Larvae of Lasioderma serricorne. Oxford University Press.

The paper reports an unusual cause of gastrointestinal infection occurring in a 1-year-old infant patient who was brought to a public hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Larvae passed out in the patient’s feces were confirmed by DNA barcoding as belonging to the species, Lasioderma serricorne (F.), known as the cigarette beetle. We postulate that the larvae were acquired from contaminated food and were responsible for gastrointestinal symptoms in the patient. To our knowledge, this the first report of human canthariasis caused by larvae of L. serricorne.