We all know the dangers that come hand-in-hand with mold growing on your beloved cigars, but do you know what’s worse? Bugs! Namely, cigar beetles – they do exist! An infestation of cigar beetles can destroy your prized collection of cigars in only a matter of days. If these horrible little critters find their way into your humidor, you’ve got some trouble on your hands – this is why it’s so important to be vigilant and to stop them from getting in to do their dirty work.
What is a Cigar Beetle?
A cigar beetle is only tiny, around two to three millimetres long when they reach adulthood – but they are extremely destructive and hungry. They can live for two to four weeks and they prefer to live in warm, humid climates. If a female beetle finds her way into your cigar humidor, she will quickly chew through the wrappers of your cigars and can lay up to 100 eggs which will then hatch into larvae within six to ten days. It’s these minuscule larvae, no larger than the head of a pin, which will feast on the tobacco in your cigars and leave those tell-tale pinhole-sized circles in their destructive wake.
How do Cigar Beetles get into your Humidor?
These pests often sneak their way into your collection through new cigars that might be concealing beetle eggs. Although cigar manufacturers take every precaution possible to avoid having their products infested with beetle eggs, sometimes it is unavoidable. If you like buying cigars while you’re away on holiday in hot and humid climates, take the necessary precautions before introducing those new cigars into your collection at home.
How do you Prevent Cigar Beetles?
In some cases, preventing cigar beetles is a lot easier said than done. It’s good to be aware of the risks of a cigar beetle infestation, but if you become too paranoid about them it might just drive you crazy!
To prevent cigar beetles, you can do the following:
- Freeze your cigars temporarily; this might be surprising to hear, but freezing your cigars is the only surefire way to make sure that you’ve killed the beetles in their tracks. By freezing your cigars, you are killing the beetle eggs that might be in your tobacco and not yet hatched. This will prevent the little critters from hatching, eating and just ruining your cigars.
- Maintain the proper humidity and temperature inside your humidor; unfortunately, you can’t guarantee that if you keep your humidor at a certain temperature and humidity that you won’t have a cigar beetle problem – but it doesn’t hurt! Keeping your humidor between 65-70 degrees and below 70% humidity, you should be in good shape.
How to Freeze them Out
If you find even just one damaged cigar, it’s a reasonable assumption that there might be more of the little critters. It’s time to treat your collection to a clean – remove all the cigars from your humidor and place them in sealed plastic bags; double bag them to avoid freezer burn. Seal the bags tightly so no beetles or larvae can escape. Place the bags in the fridge for 24 hours, then move them to the freezer and leave them in there for three days. After that, move all the bags from the freezer back into the fridge and leave them there for 24 hours before placing them back in the humidor. Once these steps have been completed, the extreme cold will have killed the adult beetles, eggs and larvae.
Clean your Humidor
While your cigars are in the freezer, it’s time to give your humidor a thorough cleaning. While freezing your cigars will kill the beetles that are already nesting inside them, there could be some lurking behind in the humidor that could taint future cigars. Wipe the inside of the humidor with a damp cloth to remove any remaining beetles, eggs or larvae and allow it to dry.
How to Discourage Future Infestations
Cigar beetles love the heat and humidity, which makes your cigar humidor the ideal habitat for them to breed and thrive. To avoid putting a big welcome sign up for these pests, keep your humidor at an even temperature at all times. Avoid fluctuations and maintain it at no higher than 70 degrees; keep the humidor away from direct sunlight or other sources of warmth like heaters or artificial lights.