My first experience with tobacco beetles


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I was able to acquire 2 boxes of SLR Marquez RE Cuba from a pretty reputable member on another cigar forum I am a member of in the US a couple months ago.  I didn't even think to ask if he followed protocol to freeze these cigars after bringing them back from Cuba.

I was going through my normal inspection of some boxes in my humidor last week when I discovered a live beetle in one of the SLR Marquez boxes.  First time I have ever seen one of these little bastards face to face!  I immediately inspected all the cigars in the box and found 2 damaged ones.  I took both boxes and put them in a ziplock freezer bag and put them in the deep freeze for about 2.5 days.  Then a fridge for 2 days and back out for inspection.  When I opened the infected box, i found 2 more dead beetles and one more hole on one of the original damaged cigars.  Other box was fine.  I put all the good cigars back in the humidor in their boxes.

I did notify the BOTL who sold me the 2 boxes of what happened and he claims he froze them when he came back from Cuba.  Even offered to send me money back for the 2 damaged sticks.  Was more interested in just giving him a heads up to consider checking his humidor and freezing any other boxes of the Marquez he had left in his personal stash.  Would hate to see this happen to someone else!

Would appreciate feedback if I freezed them long enough?  What should I do with the cigars that were damaged?  Toss em?  Has anyone ever smoked a cigar with a small beetle hole or 2? I included some pictures below.

Thanks!

Jason 

 

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Never had my own beetles! Thank god! But I have seen them in cigars right off the plane from Nicaragua where a friend of mine has a little factory. He always freezes them as soon as he brings a shipment to his B&M. I would smoke them. Nothing can hurt you. Now, you might not get a draw at all with those holes but see what happens.

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Smoke them, its funny when the smoke comes out of the little holes.  I've never thought too much about them when I did find the odd stick with some holes but i did isolate and smoke the cigar.

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Exactly!!! Lol how does it taste? Enjoying the extra protein?
 


It was delicious, like all the other Bolivar Greco I had before :)

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Based on what I've read, if you use a standard home freezer, you need to freeze it for longer (minimum one week, I try for 10 days to be safe).

 

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I froze all of mine in a chest freezer on max cold and left them in for 2-3 days. No issues. I’m with the others though on compartmentalization instead of storing all together. Ziploc and/or Tupperware in the coolerdor(s).

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9 hours ago, Monterey said:

You need to know how cold your freezer gets in order to know if it was long enough.  For 2 days, it would need to get down to 15 degrees (F).  If it is above that, you would need to freeze longer.

Pretty much all home freezers are going to be well below that. I keep mine at -5 F.

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A dedicated chest freezer or stand up style will get much colder than the freezer on your fridge. The colder the better. I freeze at -10 degrees F for 48 hours. Plenty sufficient to kill any beetle eggs of larvae. 

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3 minutes ago, NYgarman said:

A dedicated chest freezer or stand up style will get much colder than the freezer on your fridge. The colder the better. I freeze at -10 degrees F for 48 hours. Plenty sufficient to kill any beetle eggs of larvae. 

I have some in my side by side freezer now for 3 days  I’m going to check the temp inside when I get home this evening to determine if I need longer. Thanks!

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1 minute ago, crasmith said:

I have some in my side by side freezer now for 3 days  I’m going to check the temp inside when I get home this evening to determine if I need longer. Thanks!

Go buy yourself a freezer thermometer from Walmart or any store that sells them so you know exactly how cold your freezer is. I bought a chest freezer from home depot for extra storage for frozen food, but it is also perfect for freezing incoming boxes of cigars. 

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2 minutes ago, NYgarman said:

Go buy yourself a freezer thermometer from Walmart or any store that sells them so you know exactly how cold your freezer is. I bought a chest freezer from home depot for extra storage for frozen food, but it is also perfect for freezing incoming boxes of cigars. 

Great idea. I’m going to try a digital thermometer I have at home this evening and if it’s too cold for it, then I’ll pick up a freezer one. Thanks for the tip.  

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8 minutes ago, crasmith said:

Great idea. I’m going to try a digital thermometer I have at home this evening and if it’s too cold for it, then I’ll pick up a freezer one. Thanks for the tip.  

A normal thermometer might not survive in a freezer. Get the one made for the job. Should be 10 bucks or less.

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12 minutes ago, NYgarman said:

A normal thermometer might not survive in a freezer. Get the one made for the job. Should be 10 bucks or less.

Not sure how accurate a $10 thermometer is going to be. 

Wonder if there is a good method to calibrate them. 

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Freeze all cigars in your collection. Freeze any cigars you acquire in the future. Length of time in freezer depends on how cold it gets - like others have said. Get yourself a FREEZER thermometer. Absolutely smoke those damaged cigars or send them to me and I will!

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1 hour ago, xtcat9k said:

Pretty much all home freezers are going to be well below that. I keep mine at -5 F.

Not true at all.  Fridge/freezer combo units which most people have barely go below 32.  And yes, a 10 dollar thermometer will be just fine.

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1 hour ago, Monterey said:

Not true at all.  Fridge/freezer combo units which most people have barely go below 32.  And yes, a 10 dollar thermometer will be just fine.

Agreed. My chest freezer can be had for under $200 at home depot and that is the price for a box of cigars. Can get to -10 F easily to kill beetle eggs. Also gives you storage for extra frozen food if you are a Costco shopper!?

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1 hour ago, Monterey said:

Not true at all.  Fridge/freezer combo units which most people have barely go below 32.  And yes, a 10 dollar thermometer will be just fine.

You are absolutely incorrect. Virtually all freezers in a combo unit can maintain 0 F. 

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4 minutes ago, xtcat9k said:

You are absolutely incorrect. Virtually all freezers in a combo unit can maintain 0 F. 

On my standard bottom freezer unit, 0 degrees Fahrenheit is "eco mode" :)

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56 minutes ago, NYgarman said:

Agreed. My chest freezer can be had for under $200 at home depot and that is the price for a box of cigars. Can get to -10 F easily to kill beetle eggs. Also gives you storage for extra frozen food if you are a Costco shopper!?

Has anyone ever used dry ice? It gets much colder 

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