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Old 04-11-2005, 08:36 PM   #1
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windsorlacorona's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,576

As some of you know I am currently gathering scientific evidence regarding the Cigar Beetle Lasioderma serricorne

I have got another thread going, listing papers that I need help from some BOTL to locate. I will update it as papers come in and are required.
Cigar Beetle papers - need your help

Once I gather enough information it is my hope to prepare a full summary of facts about the Cigar Beetle and make it available to the public. Most importantly this will include solid facts about time and temperatures required to kill eggs in cigars. Here I am presenting some initial data that I have found.


Cigar Beetle eggs can be killed by exposure to temperatures easily obtainable by home refrigerators/freezers. An industrial deep freeze is not required, as rumor has indicated.

There is a direct correlation between the time it takes to kill and temperature. The colder the temp, the shorter it takes to kill eggs.

The figures below are time to kill 95% (abbreviated LT95) of eggs exposed to the environment. Keep this in mind when applying these figures to cigars because 1) we want to kill 100% of eggs and 2) any eggs inside our cigars have a thick layer of insulating tobacco that must be cooled before the eggs will reach that temperature.

5c (41f) requires ~12 days (275 hours)
0c (32f) requires ~9 days (220 hours)
-5c (23f) requires ~4 days (100 hours)
-10c (14f) requires less than 24 hours
-15c (5f) requires less than 24 hours
-20c (-4f) requires less than 24 hours

The length of time you should freeze your cigars depends on the temperature your freezer is at. I highly recommend that everyone using their freezer to treat cigars keeps a fridge/freezer thermometer in there so they know roughly what temp range their freezer runs at. These are available at most grocery stores, usually with baking supplies. From experience I have seen home freezers that run anywhere from 1 degree below freezing to as low as -25c.
Right now I am trying to get data on how long it takes a cigar to go from room temp to 5c, and from 5c to -20c. Based on data from other consumables I estimate it would take a cigar at least 24 hours to reach the same temperature as the freezer (equilibrium) when it is moved into the freezer from the refrigerator. Based on this alone one should add 24 hours to amount of time cigars are kept in the freezer.
The times given above are to kill 95% of eggs. I have not found times required to kill 99.9% of eggs but doubling the LT95 for that temperature should be more than sufficient.


Double bag your cigars and let them spend 24 hours in the refrigerator. I think everyone agrees that this gives the cigars a safe transition from room temp to near freezing. Move the cigars into the freezer. How long they should stay there depends on your freezer temp. If it is below -10c 72 hours in the freezer should be sufficient. That's 24 hours to get the cigars to -10c, 24 hours to kill 95% of eggs, and an extra 24 hours for good measure. When coming out of the freezer it is a good idea to let the cigars spend 24 hours in the fridge, and another 24 hours at room temp STILL SEALED IN THE BAGS. This protects the cigars from rapid changes in temp/humidity.

I know there are some out there who prefer to avoid freezing because of potential damage to cigars and the rest period required afterwards. The time required will vary greatly based upon the temp of your fridge. Keep in mind the temp will also fluctuate based on door opening/closing etc. (Although this occurs in the freezer, it is less of an issue due to the comparatively short time required) With an LT95 of 12 days at 5c I would personally keep cigars in there for at least 3 weeks.

This information should be applied to uninfested cigars for prevention of a beetle outbreak. If you have cigars that are infested or you know have been exposed to beetles they should be subjected to more lengthy treatment because they will presumably have far more eggs present than any uninfested cigars that picked up some eggs during manufacture.

Data source: Mullen, M. A., and R. T.Arbogast. 1979. Time-temperature-mortality relationships for various stored-product insect eggs and chilling times for selected commodities. Journal of Economic Entomology 72:47678.

Lastly, the legal stuff.
These are just interpretive suggestions based upon the data presented. The author is not liable in any way for any damage caused to your tobacco products resulting from your following these suggestions. This includes but is not limited to cold temperature exposure, temperature fluctuation, humidity fluctuation, or beetle infestation. Please make your own decision when it comes to taking care of your own cigars. blah blah blah
" 'If you were my husband I'd put poison in your tea.'
'Madam, if you were my wife I would drink it' "
-Winston Churchill
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Beetles, Cigar Beetles, Lacioderma beetles, Tobacco beetles
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