State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500525
Miscellaneous Food-Infesting Beetles: Cigarette, Drugstore and
Both the cigarette beetle, and drugstore beetle, are small (3mm or 1/3
inch), brownish-red, convex beetles that infest many types of dried
plant and animal materials. They can be found in red pepper, paprika
and other spices, drugs tobacco, teas, and other dried foods (dried
beans, coffee beans, flour, dates, biscuits, peanuts, meal, breakfast
cereals, and dry dog food). They also can feed on wool hair, leather,
horn, paper, and museum specimens. The larvae are whitish C-shaped
grubs with well-developed legs. The larvae can bore into packages to
find food. The products, or in the case of the cigarette beetle (which
can fly) at lights and windows. The entire life cycle, from egg to
adult, takes about 7 months. There may be one to four generations per
The spider beetles are appropriately named. They attract attention
because of their peculiar, spider- like form (long spindly legs and
antennae, and globose body). They occasionally infest stored products;
both the larvae and adults are active feeders. They feed on a variety
of plant and animal products and have been known to attack flour,
feeds, cereals, grains, seeds, dried fruits, meats, wool, hair and
miscellaneous foodstuffs. Most spider beetles have two or three
generations per year.
Integrated Household Beetle Management
Purchase susceptible foodstuffs in quantities that can be used in a
short time: 2-4 months, if possible. When purchasing packaged food, be
certain the containers are not broken or unsealed and that there are no
signs of infestation. Check the packages for freshness dates. Once the
food is in the home, use older packages before newer ones, and opened
ones before unopened ones. Storing died foods in a freezer will prevent
insect development. Keep food storage and preparation areas clean at
all times; spilled and exposed food attracts insects.
Control of both of these pests is fairly easy, once the source of
infestation is found. Disposal of the infested foodstuffs or other
items, with a thorough clean-up is usually all that is required for
For a complete listing of suggested control options for all home, yard
and garden insect pests contact your local Extension Service, found
under local government in the phone book.
Read and follow instructions on the pesticide label. Heed all warnings.
Check with your physician if you have any concerns regarding your
personal health risk.
Revised by Tom Ellis, M.S., Department of Entomology
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This information is for
educational purposes only. References to commercial products or trade
names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those
not mentioned. This information becomes public property upon
publication and may be printed verbatim with credit to MSU Extension.
Reprinting cannot be used to endorse or advertise a commercial product
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employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials
are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender,
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beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran
status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and
June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing,MI 48824. This
information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial
products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or
bias against those not mentioned.
information.was reviewed as
of June 2008. For more information about the contents please
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