Beetles, freezing & proper storage.

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As a few members here know, I had a recent beetle outbreak that was devestating. I lost most of my modest, but PRIZED cigar collection. Although I want to cry just THINKING about the special cigars I lost, I also wanted to share some of what I have learned.

(Plus I have to be an active poster so Rob & Lisa will sell me cigars!.....J/K guys:-D )

To give you some background. In 8 years of smoking cigars I have never had an outbreak until this one. I only deal with a couple of highly respected and trusted vendors and only trade with experienced smokers that are good friends. I always quarentine cigars from ANYONE for a few weeks, but have never frozen PRE-EMPTIVELY.

The first issue is FREEZING. This method is effective to a certain degree. But as I was told and now discovered FIRSTHAND, the normal method of using the freezer in a refridgerator does NOT work. I just found 4 more cigars that had LIVE beetles. These were cigars that survived the FIRST outbreak and were frozen for 21 days in my freezer.

In order to kill ALL the eggs, ONLY deep freezing is 100% effective. The eggs will not crystalize, break and die, unless they are subjected to temps UNDER 0 degrees. A typical refridgerator freezer is usually around 15-25 degrees, which is plenty to freeze meat and ice cream, but NOT cold enough kill ALL the eggs.

A study by museum, discovered the same thing. Here is a link to that study-

My outbreak coinsided perfectly with a rise in temps, INSIDE my humidor. Although I can mantain a perfect 63/64RH all year long, the inside temps went up from 65/70 to 82/85 degrees. Our house is a typical country home and does not have A/C or heating. So finding room that would keep the inside temps was impossable. Thankfully a generous friend helped with an A/C for our bedroom and that seems to have made a difference.

Although I will still not freeze cigars pre-emptively, I do not believe they are effected adversly because of it. I have smoked quite a few and could tell NO difference? Nor could ANY of the very experienced smokers I gave those cigars too. (and yes! I told them they were previously frozen!)

Although some people have said beetles can still be hatched in temps as low as 65-70- degrees, that was not my experience. Since this issue has the POTENTIAL to affect us all, I thought I would bring it up. ANY other opinions are most welcome and appreciated. Thanks....bill

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In general it appears that a normal freezer, does the job. Unfortunitly it did not for me and the lesson learned is the it is not 100% effective. I dont recall ever seeing an actual POLL? But the anecdotal evidence seems to be that in the majority of cases a normal freezer is effective.

But I also think that in some of those cases, the beetles are STILL THERE but do not hatch if the inside temps stay under 70 degrees. (

Its to bad Howards 3 page post did not regester. I have been looking forward to his opinion for some time.)

BTW.......Aloha Deem! its nice to see you again. Have you been to any Dodgers games recently? As a die hard fan I stiil have faith they can make the 6 games they are back of SD! I know, I know! I am NUTS!.......LOL.....

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Oh ****! I am sorry to hear that Howard! You and I have had BRIEF talks about this in the past, but I have REALLY been looking forward to hearing a more detailed explanation from you. If it is not to much trouble? Could PLEASE try and post that info again? Your thoughts and opinions would be MOST appreciated brudda!........Mahalo!

BTW-I too have had that happen quite a few times here. Not exactly sure WHY it happens? But I have learned to COPY everything before trying to post it. So it is saved.

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Commiserations mate.

Beetles happen. The eggs as we know are laid in the bales back in Cuba. A combination of 70 F + a little humidity and have an outbreak.

Almost every one of my serious private clients in Brisbane north to Japan FREEZE their boxes for the best part of a week in Deep Freezers -15 degrees Celcius. We can offer that service to clients but most are happy to do it themselves. The secret is -15 (or more) for a week (boxes in two zip locks at all times), a day in the bottom of the fridge, a day on the bench (out of the zip locks and then into your humidor. This is foolproof unless you introduce a cigar from mates who do not follow the same proceedures. I have seen the best controlled stashes come under infestation as a result of good intentions.

I have yet to see a beetle hatch at temps which are CONSTANT below 68F. The problem is maintaining this consistancy 100% of the time.

The good news...Freezing has no effect on flavour.

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Thanks Rob! I think you hit the nail on the head with this statement "The secret is -15 (or more) for a week". The SUB zero temps seem to be the key. I have fixed the the temps INSIDE my humidor by putting an A/C in our bedroom and putting my humidor in there. the temps are now at 67 degrees (and 64RH) and I montitor them everyday.

I also agree that flavors are NOT affected by freezing. All the cigars I am smoking now where previously frozen and I cant taste ANY difference!

Hopefully this problem is all in the past. I certainly learned my lesson!......LOL.....

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  • 2 weeks later...

A bit of info.....

1) Some factors that contribute to these differences include how the test subjects are exposed to the cold temps (in glass test tubes, in food material, tightly packed tobacco material), the rate at which the insects are chilled, and the long-term conditions that the beetle colonies have been kept at prior to experiments - colonies kept at cooler temps. can be accilimated and much less susceptible to cold temps. than those maintained for long periods at warmer temps, therefore exact times for kill rates are spotty at best.

2) Whenever dealing with freezing tobacco products, one must remember that the temp. of the medium or material must reach the critical temp. and there is a lag time betw the air temp. and the material temp. as opposed to research studies where glass tubes or slides are used. To remove any doubt, the tobacco should be left in up to 3-5 additional days, just to make sure.

3) Low temperatures as a possible means of controlling cigarette beetle in stored tobacco..... egg clusters will not be physically destroyed (fracturing, crytalization) at 29-32 degrees since this is well above the freezing point ofinsects which typically have much lower freezing points than water. Cold can kill insects through cumulative effects of a combination of temperature and time. Thus kill can be achieved at a much colder temp. for a shorter period of time or longer exposure to temps that are not as cold. This cumulative interaction is known as degree-days. Sub-zero temps at -20 F are certainly enough to kill the eggs but most homeowners don't have access to freezers that get that cold. At typical temps. of home freezers, up to 28-30 days are usually necessary for a 100% kill (disruption) rate of Lasioderma serricorne egg clusters if present. At temps of -15 F or lower typically only 72-96 hrs. is required.

The misinformation that floats around various cigar websites that simply throwing the infected cigars in plastic bags and in your home freezer for several days up to a week is incorrect. Several recent instances have been noted of re-infestation and subsequent hatchings have resulted using this practice. Again, up to 30 days is usually necessary without the use of commercial sub zero freezers to ensure 100% of disruption of the embryos in their eggs or crystalization and fracturing. The other misinformation is that storing tobacco in the low 60's is 100% insurance against hatching which it is not. The 'magic' number taken from various studies indicates the true number where eggs will not hatch is between 54-57 degrees F. although the relative probability remains low at temps below 64 degrees F.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great information Dragon.

I look forward to our new humidor which I will revise to a temp of 16 degrees Celcius.

Our warehouse facility runs at 12 degrees Celcius. Just damn hard to do at a retail level.

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» I know that the best way to store cigars are in humi.


» But for someone who have a way to go to the fanatic level of the members

» here (just j/k:-) ) , what is the alternative for singles/boxes?


» Would love to hear how everybody started.

*Small desktop humidor

*Tupperware (plastic food storage boxes) with a small humidifier.

*Small plastic cooler, six-pack or 12-pack size with a small humidifier.

*Freezer bag with small himidifier

You can actually buy bags designed to hold cigars with built in humi packets, but a freezer bag will do the same thing much cheaper.

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» *Small desktop humidor

» *Tupperware (plastic food storage boxes) with a small humidifier.

» *Small plastic cooler, six-pack or 12-pack size with a small humidifier.

» *Freezer bag with small himidifier


» You can actually buy bags designed to hold cigars with built in humi

» packets, but a freezer bag will do the same thing much cheaper.

Thanks for the advise GoatLocker.

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