These little guys are one of the more common grain pests we get calls about here in Cairns. They're most commonly found in pantry cupboards where stored grain products are kept such as cereal, pasta, flour and rice etc.
The cigarette beetle or otherwise known as the tobacco beetle, Lasioderma serricorne, is given its name as it also infests tobacco products. The beetles occur throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
The adults are small oval, globular beetles, measuring about 2 to 3.5 mm, and reddish brown in colour. They have long antennae which are waved rapidly when walking. Adults are able to fly and they often curl up and lay motionless when disturbed.
The larvae can cause damage by feeding on a variety of stored products, such as dried material of animal and vegetable origin, nuts, herbs and spices, grain and grain products. They also may chew through furniture fabric, books, manuscripts, and similar materials. Infested products are also contaminated by the presence of beetles, larvae, pupae, cocoons, frass and insect parts. Larvae will sometimes bore through cardboard boxes and other packaging in search of a place to pupate.
Best method to get rid of them ?
Check wheat packs, cereals, flour, bread, pasta... basically everything made from grain or leaf products. Once you find the infested products make sure you discard them, also check all your other packets including unopened items as they'll burrow through packaging.
Place everything in sealed containers, even new things that you're bringing in. This will isolate any current infestations and reduce the spread. They lay their eggs directly on the product so it's just a matter of breaking the breeding cycle. This may take a month or so, but stay vigilant with the process.
Also do a weekly clean (wipe and vacuum) of the cupboards and shelving and if you can drop the shelves out as the adults will hide in cracks and crevices. A light aerosol spray may help speed it up but not entirely necessary.
There's no need for any more serious treatment. This process works and is a recognised management plan in factories and facilities holding millions of dollars worth of stock - just on a smaller scale.