Most people aren’t huge fans of bugs. It’s especially true if they are infiltrating your precious cigar collection. Cigar beetles (also known as tobacco beetles or cigarette beetles) are a common problem for cigar aficionados, and they can be quite tricky to get rid of.
The team here at Cigar Amigo has done extensive research on tobacco beetles, so we can teach our readers exactly how to get rid of them.
Continue reading below to learn how to deal with these pests, so you can protect all the cigars in your collection.
How Do You Get Rid of Cigar Beetles?
Discovering a cigar beetle infestation can be frustrating. Luckily, getting rid of them is easier than you may think. It’s important to act quickly so you have a better chance of saving your cigar collection. The first thing you want to do is take your cigars out of your humidor.
Any small holes (pinhole-sized openings) in your stogies is a sure way to tell that a cigar beetle has made their way inside. If you see that some stogies are too destroyed by the tobacco beetles, it’s probably best to throw them away.
However, place all your other cigars into a Ziploc bag while you work on removing the tobacco beetle infestation. Meanwhile, try and separate any cigars that didn’t come from the infested bunch to avoid the beetles from spreading.
The next step is to place the Ziploc bag in your freezer. Cigar beetles and their eggs can’t survive freezing temperatures. Leave the bag in there for at least 3 days to ensure both the cigar beetles and larvae are dead. After the 3 days, transport your entire collection into the refrigerator. You want to expose your stogies to a cooler temperature before placing them back in the humidor.
Putting them back to room temperature could potentially cause them to expand and crack, a fate just as bad as a cigar beetle infestation. After roughly 24 hours, your cigars are ready for normal cigar storage in your humidor. Be sure to thoroughly inspect your humidor to make sure there are no adult beetles, beetle eggs, or larvae present.
How Do You Prevent Cigar Beetles?
Preventing cigar beetles is one of the best ways to protect your cigar collection. Most aficionados will tell you that if you can already spot the holes in your cigar’s wrapper, it’s likely too late. You should do everything in your power to prevent cigar beetles as a result.
Here are some things you should know so these beetles can’t wreak havoc on your premium cigars.
Keep Your Humidor Closed
One of the first things you can do to prevent cigar beetles is to make sure you keep your humidor closed. While it might seem obvious, many cigar lovers forget to close their humidor after grabbing a stogie or putting in new cigars.
What’s more, keeping your lid open allows for the humidity levels to fluctuate. Keeping the lid of your humidor will help ensure beetles can’t’ get inside and use your cigars as a food.
Clean Your Humidor Regularly
Preventing a problem is usually always the best way to tackle it. Keeping your humidor clean while greatly reducing the chances of cigar beetles infiltrating your cigar storage container. Regular cleaning is easy, and will also help your humidor last longer.
Try to do a thorough cleaning at least once per month. The longer you go without cleaning your humidor, the more at risk you are to randomly find tobacco beetles munching through your stogies.
Cigar Beetles Temperature
You’re probably well aware that you need to keep your humidor at a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity of 70%. However, these conditions do more than keeping your cigars fresh.
Cigar beetles thrive in similar conditions found inside a humidor. You start to be at higher risk of a cigar beetle infestation when your humidor holds 72% humidity and 72 Fahrenheit. While this only seems like a slight increase, it’s enough to allow these beetles to lay eggs, produce larvae, and destroy your stogies with their ferocious appetite.
Cigar Beetle Holes
Cigar beetles are almost impossible to see with the naked eye. Therefore, the only true way to spot a beetle infestation is to check for the tiny holes they leave in your cigars. The holes tend to go all the way through the wrappers, and are quite easy to spot at a glance.
That said, it can be easy to confuse cracked wrappers with beetle bites. If you see slits in your cigars, it could be that you have a humidity problem.
Smoking a Cigar with Beetles
Let’s say you aren’t paying attention, and you accidentally smoke a cigar with beetles in it. What will happen? Moreover, what if your cigars have signs of beetles, but you don’t want to throw away your collection. Can you smoke a cigar with beetles?
Let’s take a closer look.
Can You Smoke a Cigar With Beetles?
In short, you technically can smoke a cigar that has been chewed up by beetles. However, it’s not the best idea. Not only is the thought of smoking a beetle infested cigar gross, but the quality won’t be the same as a normal fine-grade cigar.
From popping beetle eggs to a strange aftertaste, the smoking experience is quite unpleasant overall. Some cigar lovers try to outsmart these destructive pests by cutting the cigar shorter to avoid the affected area, but that will also impact the taste of your cigars.
Many cigar lovers that have smoke beetle infested cigars claim that the smoke was lifeless, the stogie was stale, and it just wouldn’t burn properly.
Final verdict? It’s best to just throw out the cigars that are too far gone as a result of tobacco beetles. It may be sad, but it would be as sad as the smoking experience you’ll have. Luckily, you can use the tips above to prevent this situation from happening in the future.
Tobacco Beetles in Cigars
Here are some additional topics on tobacco beetles to help shed some light on these pesky insects.
Where do Cigar Beetles Come From?
You may be wondering where such a destructive pest comes from. The truth is actually quite scary – they usually are already in the cigars before you purchase them. Companies that don’t practice proper cigar storage are usually to blame for an infested box.
Reputable cigar factories have a strict protocol to prevent these insects from ruining their products. They will make sure to freeze their tobacco, fumigate their production facilities, and even cut oxygen from rooms to try and kill the eggs before they hatch.
However, humans make mistakes and some of these insects and their larvae survive.
Bugs in Cigars
While it’s possible for other bugs to infiltrate your cigars, it’s not as common. Cigar beetles are, without a doubt, the most prevalent insects that will try and come eat your stogies. That said, you should still keep your cigar storage area clean to avoid any kind of infestation.
How Common Are Cigar Beetles?
Surprisingly, cigar beetles aren’t that common. However, that’s considering that you take good care of your cigars and store them properly. If you keep your humidor clean and regularly inspect your cigars, the chances of an infestation is quite low.
Do All Cigars Have Beetles?
No, not all cigars have beetles. That said, cigar beetles love the temperature and food source a humidor provides. So, they will go after any cigars that are in reach if you’re not careful. Cigar beetles destroy stored tobacco without mercy, and are highly dependent on negligent cigar smokers for food.
Some would argue that these beetles love tobacco leaves more than the most extreme cigar aficionados.
Dealing with these pesky insects can be daunting. Not only is the thought of bugs eating your cigars unsettling, but it’s also a surefire way to lose a premium collection of stogies. Luckily, there are things you can do to save your cigars from becoming bug food. You just need to be vigilant and prevent the problem before it arises.
Remember, put infested cigars in the freezer and keep them away from unaffected stogies to avoid cross contamination.