From the paws of the Jackal: Articles for the cigar geek
…And How to Respond to a Beetle Infestation
The situation has happened to many of us. A cigar is found in a humidor with one or more 1-2 mm holes in it, or there are little bugs actually crawling on your sticks, or you hear “Magical Mystery Tour” playing when you open your humidor. The Beetles have invaded.
If this is your first time experiencing a beetle infestation, your initial reaction is most likely panic. All of your precious sticks may be at risk. Take a deep breath and follow the steps below.
Kill any live beetles that you see.
These little bastids can fly. You do not want them flitting around your home, getting into foodstuffs or fabrics. Squash them (finger tips work well for this).
Identify what can be salvaged and what can’t:
Inspect your sticks and find which ones have actual beetle damage. Do they still appear to be smokable? Do you want to smoke them knowing there may be larva in them?
Take the ones that are goners and put them in a Ziploc bag to prevent any undetected bugs from getting loose.
Separate the damaged but possibly salvageable sticks from the ones that still appear pristine, and bag them separately. You may want to take more extreme measures on the damaged ones than you do on the potentially safe sticks.
TIME TO FREEZE THE STICKS
Many people like to freeze all incoming sticks as a prophylactic measure. So they can ignore the above section and proceed to the steps below.
Place all cigars into a Ziploc freezer bag. Make sure to remove all air that you can to reduce the chance of ice crystal formation (freezer burn)
Place this Ziploc bag into another Ziploc freezer bag and remove as much air from this one too.
Place double bagged cigars into your refrigerator for a minimum of 12 hours. This will allow a more gentle change in temperature and reduce the risk or wrapper damage.
Place the double bagged cigars into your freezer as far away from the door as possible.
Leave the cigars in the freezer for at least 3 days (for large RG cigars 4 days may be necessary). Avoid opening the freezer while the cigars are in there to reduce the chance of ice crystal formation.
Remove double bagged cigars from freezer and place back into the refrigerator for 24 hours to allow them to slowly defrost.
Place double bagged cigars into room temperature for 6-12 hours to slowly bring temperature up without damaging wrappers.
Remove cigars from bag and return to humidor.
Properly freezing cigars should not affect taste or smokability. However, whether to freeze or not on non-infested cigars is a decision that should be made with some consideration. There is always the chance that the cigars could become damaged during the freeze/thaw process.