Q: I am finding this tiny insect all over the kitchen. Can you tell me what it is?
A: This beetle was so small it required a microscope to identify. The antennae are the most distinguishing characteristic and once I could see them, the insect was easy to label. It is the cigarette beetle. The cigarette beetle, Lasioderma serricorne, also known as the tobacco beetle, is a pest of stored products — some were found in dried resin from the tomb of Egyptian King Tutankhamun. Besides the dubious honor of being the most damaging pest of stored tobacco, the cigarette beetle also is a major pest of many stored food products including flours, dry mixes, dried fruits such as dates and raisins, cereals, cocoa, coffee beans, herbs, spices, nuts, rice, dry dog food and other products kept in kitchen cabinets. Non-food products that it infests include dried plants and herbarium specimens, dried floral arrangements, potpourri, decorative grapevine wreaths, prescription drugs and pills, medicinal herbs, pinned insects, furniture stuffing, papier-mâché‚ and bookbinding paste. Residual insecticides registered for use on cigarette beetles can be applied to cracks, crevices and shelves in storage areas after removal of stored products (check labels for specific use). Insect growth regulators (IGR) also are used as part of an Integrated Pest Maintenance (IPM) program.