Many of tobacco’s biggest enemies are, in fact, misguided creatures that simply love it too much. None more so than the tobacco beetle. Lying low, often unnoticed for even weeks, its larvae can quite happily fead through the contents of a humidor, consuming a substantial number of cigars within a short time.
Although cigar manufacturers and importers take comprehensive measures to combat the hungry beetles and their offspring, there are few cigar lovers who haven’t at some point encountered the pest. Most often, it’s cigars of unknown origin that are the biggest threats to the passionado’s inventory – but unfortunately, infestations from the humidors of retailers and acquaintances can’t be ruled out, either. As temperatures rise, dormant eggs already present in the cigar become active. From there, things happen quickly.
Before allowing new cigars into the humidor, examine them for round holes or tunnels (also under the cigar band), and give them a gentle thump on the foot end. Bad signs include trails of dust falling from the cigar, and, of course, finding living or dead beetles.
At this point, quick action is necessary. Swiftly dispose of any infested cigars, and store the remaining inventory at freezing temperatures for several days. The cold will kill any eggs or undiscovered larvae, reducing the likelihood of a new outbreak. The additional use of pheromone traps and strict temperature controls in the humidor are the most practical ways to prevent a new outbreak – and, if you suspect the worst, to identify and manage one as quickly as possible.
This article was published in the Cigar Journal Autumn Edition 2014. Read more