A Nightmare on Bug Street!
This is a recurring nightmare for cigar hobbyists. You go into your humidor to pull out one of your fine cigars to enjoy, and you notice it looks like "Manny the Pick" has gone at it with his favorite weapon (the icepick). Your cigar is full of holes!
This is caused by a pest named Lasioderma serricorne, otherwise known as the common cigar beetle. These bugs feed on tobacco, and lay their eggs on the tobacco leaves. When "infected" tobacco is used to roll cigars, the eggs are included in the package. When the temperature reaches 79-80 degrees F, the eggs hatch and the larva begin their trek to eat their way out of your cigar. Their little escape tunnels are what cause the holes in your wrapper, and make your cigar unable to be smoked without "intervention".
The good news... The eggs die when exposed to freezing temperatures. So if you freeze treat your cigars, you can nip the prospective beetle problem right in the bud.
Freeze treating your cigars.
We have said in another article that refrigerating your cigars (ostensibly to provide "freshness") was not a good idea. Completely forget what we told you before. For this operation you're going to need to use your refrigerator and freezer.
- Place your cigars in a high quality freezer bag. Then place that bag in another bag (double bag them). This is to prevent your cigars from drying out. Put the double bag of cigars in the refrigerator for one day (to cool them down in preparation for freezing; this avoids "shocking" your cigars).
- After that one day in the refrigerator, place the double bag of cigars in the freezer for 3-5 days. This is what it takes to kill any nasty eggs that might be in your cigars.
- Take the bag of cigars out of the freezer and place them in the refrigerator for one more day.
- Take the bag of cigars out and allow them to reach room temperature for 8-12 hours.
- Take the cigars out of the double bag and place them in your humidor.
If you follow these steps, you should never be bothered by cigar beetles in your precious stock of cigars.
What about the cigars with holes?
You can smoke the cigar like you are playing a flute (placing your fingers over the holes), or you can patch up the holes with small pieces of wrapper leaf "glued" on to the hole with fruit pectin (found in grocery stores and used for canning jelly).
If you hear little pops while you're smoking the cigar... Just kidding! :)