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  1. #1
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    A note to say welcome Dee, Not that there was anything wrong with your work , Barry! I'll post my plan of action soon. Any update on your progress Barry?

    John Sewell

  2. #2
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    Wink

    Hi John -

    An update is coming. I'm way behind on it, I know, but the hives are doing well and I already have the current pictures loaded but need to do the writing yet.

    Time, time, time .... need more of it!

    -Barry

  3. #3
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    Post

    Hello John,

    How are you doing working on your plan of action. Any progress yet?

    I cannot wait to see what you have planned to do. But I know that it will be good and logical knowing you.

    Dee A. Lusby

  4. #4
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    Post

    Hi there Barry

    How are you doing on your update? Gotten your pictures ready yet?

    Did you manage to get your bees ready well enough to over winter?

    Cannot hardly wait to read what you have to say and see.

    Dee A. Lusby

  5. #5
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    Dec 1999
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    Post

    Hi Dee -

    I currently have both hives situated for the winter, each in 2 deeps. I have a lot of pictures waiting to be linked from the web page and I know I've been extremely late in updating the page but there have been many other things to do these last few months and it will be a good job to do when I can no longer be out due to weather. It's been very mild here in the Midwest so our Fall has given us many more days to be outside working. Here are a just a couple of links to some of the photos showing results.

    This is some very well drawn out 4.9 comb from foundation on the 2nd regression. http://www.beesource.com/eob/4dot9/49.2ndreg1.htm

    Here you see a frame with a lot of drone cells mixed in with cells measuring 4.9. http://www.beesource.com/eob/4dot9/49.2ndreg4.htm

    Here is a typical frame of 4.9. Notice how there is still a fair amount of transition comb. http://www.beesource.com/eob/4dot9/49.2ndreg5.htm

    Here are a couple from the first swarm I hived on strips. http://www.beesource.com/eob/4dot9/h1broodss.htm http://www.beesource.com/eob/4dot9/h2comb4.htm

    Before I did the second shakedown, varroa was showing up in the drone cells of these hives. Here is a picture: http://www.beesource.com/eob/4dot9/h2varroa.htm

    After they built new comb the 2nd time around, I saw VERY FEW varroa for the rest of the year till now. I have 7 other hives all around these two and I had very high levels of varroa in them much earlier than ever before. So the environmental pressure on the 4.9 hives for varroa was quite high. I treated all the other hives with Apistan and left the 4.9 hives go. I saw a lot of interesting behavior traits in these hives that I've never seen in my others. Chewing out pupa that had varroa on them to name one.

    At this point, I'm optimistic about these two hives and I'll be splitting from them next spring should they both make it through the winter. I have a big stack of 4.9 foundation waiting to be installed in the Illinois medium frames I have which I'll be converting entirely over to this next year. No more deeps for my back.

    That's my update.

    -Barry

  6. #6
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    Post

    Nice one Barry, My turn to be way behind on replies I'll catch up soon! That larvae on the lower right of the varroa picture looks pretty sick. Is that what's called chewed out?

  7. #7
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    "That larvae on the lower right of the varroa picture looks pretty sick."

    Hi John -

    Very observant! Actually, I cut this chunk of drone comb out of a frame and didn't take the picture for a few days later. The larva tend to "swell" out of the cell in time, exposing the mites. The larva you see that look dark and diseased are just dark due to the fact that this chunk of comb was sitting in my shop for days and they are starting to decompose. They all were nice and white when I took the comb.

    Regards,

    Barry

  8. #8
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    Post

    Juandefuca reckons his bees are drawing even 4.9 from commercially available foundation, yet still showing very heavy mite drop. You say at the end of the season there was a marked decrease in visible varroa, do you measure drop? Could you see much difference in the size of your bees?

    Cheers
    John

  9. #9
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    Hello John -

    I think it's a bit more complicated situation trying to compare my bees with Juandefuca's as he has mentioned in other posts that he still uses a wide spectrum of chemicals in his hives.

    Juandefuca wrote:

    "Other medications , such as formic acid , menthol , etc poses hereto an unresolved matter also. At least for me it is."

    "None this spring in any colony after miticide application)"

    "The only way I can tell is an application to those colonies with a higher percentage with the standby chemicals , i. e. coumaphose , fluvalinate and formic acid."

    I hope I didn't take any of this out of context and would hope Juandefuca would correct me if I did. But it appears we can not compare our hives as equals if we take this into account. I don't know if he has any hives on 4.9 cell size where he has NOT treated with any chemical or drug. I have chosen to go that route with my 4.9 hives as that will be the real test.

    The photo of the drone comb showing varroa on the larva came out of one of the hives on its first regression where the worker bee cells measured 5.2 mm on average. It was also early in the season, sometime in early June if memory serves me. I was very concerned seeing this much varroa in the cells, this early. I decided I should go ahead and shakedown again to get the bees on 4.9, asap, to help them fight the mite better.

    Once I broke the cycle and they got going on the 4.9 foundation, I never saw a varroa mite again in these hives. That's not to say there are none, but I've found looking at drone larva to be a pretty good method of monitoring varroa. Keep in mind too, that, I have 7 other hives within arms length of these hives so the environmental pressure on them is pretty high.

    I have not measured mite drop as I don't see the purpose for it. Either they thrive on their own without chemicals or they die. Perhaps as I get settled next year with getting all my other colonies changed over to 4.9, I'll find time to do some of this. This year it took all my free time just keeping up with the swarms and regressing 2 hives down.

    It is quite obvious, the smaller size in bees. But hey, who says bigger is better!

    Regards,

    Barry

  10. #10
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    Post

    Yeah, I also rely on drone brood trapping and checking. I think mite drop is a bit pointless if you don't want to treat...you have to assume varroa is there, or will be.

    The brood break sounds like a pretty fair varroa control method too. When you shook down what did you do with the infested comb?

    Are you saying the drugs encourage disease...surely control by small cell plus control by medication would work together? You seem to imply that because Juan has treated small cell colonies they are infected?

    Regards John.

  11. #11
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    I would like to approach this from a different angle. I have been an organic gardener for almost 40 years. In those days we used some bad chemicals. In the early days of chemical use, I noticed really bad infestations of insects if I was not diligent with my chemicals. This made me think I was harming the ability of the plants to help themselves.
    Over the years I have learned that plants, like most living things, have evolved using their own bacteria and enzymes to fight disease. For instance, if I have a few potato bugs on my potato plants, I gather some in a cup, fill the cup with water and blend in a blender. I put this liquid through a filter and spray it on my plants. This is like a inoculation shot for the plants. The natural enzymes and bacteria of the plant multiply and fight off the invasion.
    My question to John’s comment;

    Are you saying the drugs encourage disease...surely control by small cell plus control by medication would work together? You seem to imply that because Juan has treated small cell colonies they are infected?

    When you apply chemicals to the hive, are you not killing good along with bad? Doesn’t this reverse the bees ability to fight every time you dump on them no matter what the cell size is?
    Thank you for your interest
    Forrest Zielke


  12. #12
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    Post

    Hiya Forrest,
    What sort of cat do you sail? I believe we need a lot less chemicals in our lives, the problem is I love the gadgets...PC's being a case in point! They wouldn't be here without those chemical giants. I guess it's up to those of whose who can smell the rot to be the voice of conscience to the public.

    I will share your pest control system with a few organic growers here...if it works on slugs you will be mightily blessed!

    Proving the chemicals will encourage the very agents they're designed to inhibit would be fantastic. On the Irish Bee List (I'm sure the address is on the Digital Dialogue page) today Dee Lusby made a very similar claim when she said "and scientists know or at least the scientists working agriculture crops, that chemicals make mites breed like
    crazy"

    I am what the Brits call 'gobsmacked' stunned, shaken, shocked and aghast at this statement, which you seem to be repeating too. If you can prove it I will not be the only person on this planet to have my vague, visceral instinctive suspicions about our modern alchemists vindicated.

    If you can't prove it the established purveyors of our ages magiks will jump all over us and scream we are ranting religious mumbo jumbo...

    I can only say that I believe you and support what you say. I will certainly pulverise a few bugs next season...but if you can then give me some proof. I'm only 37 and haven't those years of personal experience to call on.

    Good to see a new face. Hope you understand I'm on your side, but question every **** thing....dunno why.

    Keep planting.
    John (Reading, England)

  13. #13
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    Mar 2000
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    To Barry and John
    Methink Some clarification is in good order.
    First of the bat : I am by nature a scrooge and hate like hell to spend good retirement money on stuff like medicines. Whether on mine self or other critters.I have the suspicion that I am part Scottish.
    I was not aware of any cell reduction method until this year. Dan Harvey mentioned it to me. The mite medication applied in the past was Apistan because that was the only approved chemical. The other stuff ( Coumaphose) came around for the first time in the fall of 1999.I used it then and found out that I did have varroa en masse , much to my surprise. I never saw a drop like that
    with an Apistan application. I have talked about the details many a times at these forums.Not specifically at this site. At one time it was recommended to apply prophylactically the antibiotic ( AFB), which in the meantime is frowned upon and I stopped that about 3 years ago. ( Please do not quote me about the timing, it could be plus minus one year.The application of menthol in conjunction with oil and papertowels was stopped also last year because of the application of the FGMO this year.
    This spring, because of the result of last fall ( 99) I did not apply medication. However what I did was the application of the fogging method by Pedro with FGMO.
    During all this time ( Season 2000 )I SAW ONE varroa on a bee at the entry. Within the hive Never on bees and VERY few , i.e. less than 10 in drone cell larva. Formic acid was not applied since I did not have the acid. But I will use it as a test method with the Nassenheider evaporator.
    Since the percentage test methods ( Powdered sugar and alcohol screening)are somewhat doubious to me , I wanted proof. And the only way in our circumstance is the application of miticide strips to SEE what goes on.
    Well , the result at this time is very promising since the drop off corresponds to around zero to 18 % MAXIMUM in one colony and 12.5 % in another out of 15.( one each of 4,5,6,7.5 %)There appears to be a correlation between the alcohol percentage test and he actual mite infestation. I think , I mentioned it in another post that the highest drop off on the FIRST day of application was an estimated 8000. Within two weeks it diminished to less than 10.I like to emphasise that the goal is : No treatment.I have stated before that without any effort on my own the cellsize reduced itself to 4.9 and less in a very uniform manner as far as workercells are concernd .( The measurement method is to my mind still somewhat into the air and requires further discussion or clarification.I lost my qu m/m measure and did not get around to measure again)
    Now whether or not the fogging application or the reduced cell size is the cause of mite reduction I do not know, since it will take another couple of years to be positive about that.
    I have at this time no quarrel with the application of Mineral oil since I found No evidence that it affected the bees , the brood or the honey taste.As far as I am concerned is mineral oil not in the category of Chemicals such as fluvalinate or coumaphose. Neither is formic acid. Of course the last word on that is not spoken since the scientific gurus finally got around to investigate this method. Before I forget: Barry posted some wonderful photos and I must congratulate him on his effort.
    Looking real good. The combs look like mine in the tbhes ,except that , because of my lack of management the drone brood became almost the majority of cells.
    My hives, with the exception of pollination spots, are close together in my yard. Colonies which had less than 5% by the alcohol test are not medicated. 5 out of 15 .Also , those colonies had NO normal mite drop off during the season. The others had drop offs at the most between 5 and ten on rare occasions during random checks. Daily drop off over 30 is said to be of concern. (????)I mentioned it also in another post that a bee can support two mites as steady sucking companions. ( Scientific guru hearsay)And you can figure it out that you end up with an ungodly amount of mites as percentage in the colonies.IF that IS the case , than we are well on our way to breath a little easier.
    I have 5 colonies which will not be treated with C or A in the coming season.Hopefully the colonies will survive till spring.
    Any more questions ? I am ready to do my best to answer.
    Happy beeing
    Catfish

  14. #14
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    Location
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    Smile

    ...I used it then and found out that I did have varroa en masse , much to my surprise...

    I think I'm correct in saying Dee thinks these mites have always been around. Only now our bees are dying from them. I think we need to accept that the mite will be in our hives, and work to some form of co-existence..as opposed to eradication.


    ...The measurement method is to my mind still somewhat into the air and requires further discussion or clarification...

    Yeah, I think there is way too much variation between combs, and individual cells to reliably measure, of course if you want statistics to interpret you can have lots. The tendency to downsize is the thing for me. The commonsense notions of stronger, more natural bees work for me.


    ...Now whether or not the fogging application or the reduced cell size is the cause of mite reduction I do not know, since it will take another couple of years to be positive about that... Haha! We're gonna have some fun next year Hey?

    ...those colonies had NO normal mite drop off during the season. The others had drop offs at the most between 5 and ten on rare occasions during random checks. Daily drop off over 30 is said to be of concern. (????)I mentioned it also in another post that a bee can support two mites as steady sucking companions. ... This stuff fascinates me, 'cos if they don't drop off they aren't there. And if they aren't there then why not? What if 100 robbers drop 30 mites that are chewed up and spat out by healthy bees? I look forward to your thoughts and further experiments next year. You'll get to hear about mine too. I'm going to stick to cellsize, food and breeding.

    [This message has been edited by Dee A. Lusby (edited 11-16-2000).]

  15. #15
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    Smile

    One cannot deny the importance of bees which revert back to what they were at one time, since IF there were mites at those times , a tolerance was indeed established.
    What I understand as "Normal drop off": ( I am not the inventor of this terminology)
    It has nothing to do with robbers coming in and the "hygenic" colony bees cleaning the robbers. There is this observed detail of mites falling off the bees by one reason or another only to climb back up to seek the missing host.It seems understandable then , the more mites in the colony the higher the "Drop Off". And THAT is the criteria of judgement to treat or not to treat. ( Assuming that one uses the chemical contraptions). If some else has a better idea of checking other than having a labtest done ( $12 a test multiplied by number of hives) then I would like to know about it. A test which anyone can do in the yard and is reliable .It is also understood that an individual has the freedom of judgement to go about what it sees fit to do as far as mite reduction methods go. I am at this time not ready to go go "Cold Turkey" and see what happens after substantial financial expenditures seeing my colonies croak.
    Now, as The cellsize is already established at 4.9 m/m in all my colonies , the question of it is already past history.
    Nevertheless the mites are still there. The problem : How many ? And what is the number which is supported by the colony ??
    How do you measure ??? This is the reason why I used ( One season at this time and therefore inconclusive) Check mite and or Apistan to determine how many are killed within a period of time. By the way , they are NOT all dead but somehow impaired to hold on and then drop off.
    To answer another question posed by one of the members is the life of a mite dependent on food and will perish without it after 5 days. I made tests and observed a time span of 10 min to 3 days in a confined enclosure.Exposed to daylight and sun hastens the process.However, according to information I finally spotted, do mites have a livespan of 5 months within the hive.This explains the rise in mite population after the bee brood cycle begins.
    Shortly back to one of the testing detail. I mentioned to forget about the sugar test.The ether test was done a couple years ago and had zero results.
    With he alcohol test : The percentage varied greatly ,depending from What location in the hive the sample was taken, From the bottom of the frame , the middle and under the inner cover where most bees were located for easy picking.The amount in each case being equal ( 90 to 130 bees) . The maximum count was in all cases from the inner cover.
    In another post I mentioned something to the effect of the problem of chemical warfare as it relates to being stuck with it for now. Of course one can revert back to nature over time , but it does not help the pollinating industry now. We all want to eat yesterday , the pollinator has neither the time nor resources to take his chances on present new methods. It all takes time for adjustment .I find it of great importance that smaller beekeepers find the answers and deserve the input of the research community to help in this quest and the input of these beekeepers, irregardless whether somebody likes it or not. We are indeed in constant new territory and nobody knows it all.
    To sum up for now: There was no loss of colonies in my yard due to Varroa.
    Losses were encountered by Tracheal mites twice. Nosema .Robbing. AFB partially but recouperated. Absconding due to unknown reasons. And finally swarming and lost queens or Virgins.
    Happy beeing
    JDF

  16. #16
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    Mar 2000
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    Cool

    Yes John
    Here is another little added thing .
    Yes I am convinced that mites have been around as Dee said, otherwise they would not be there.They most likely came from places where the bees already had developed resistance or mutual respect. Somewhere I read something about 1904 when they were first detected in western Europe.
    Shortly back to the testing. Commercial breeders, pollinators and honey producers NEED to know what gives to prevent losses, irrespective what menthods of control are used.Any large scale producer is keen to treat with minimum expense or non treatment at all.Question : Do you really believe that beekeeping operations of 10 000 colonies, more or less,can afford to medicate with Check Mite or Apistan ??? When donkeys will fly !!Should you travel this year to the Apimondia, ask those guys .
    Let me know what you think !
    JDF

  17. #17
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    Wink

    This is in reply to Juandefuca's post of 11-15-2000 at 04:57 PM
    Juandefuca writes:

    *Now, as The cellsize is already established at 4.9 m/m in all my colonies , the question of it is already past history.*

    Well, Juandefuca, you should be measuring 10 cells in 49mm including the cell walls, measuring parallel wall to parallel wall on the measuring line.

    Juandefuca also wrote:

    *To answer another question posed by one of the members, is the life of a mite dependent on food and will perish without it after 5 days. I made tests and observed a time span of 10 min to 3 days in a confined enclosure.Exposed to daylight and sun hastens the process.*

    Now word of caution here. Most beekeepers think of live hives with bees is a good environment and a dead hive without bees is a bad environment and mites will therefore not live. Then then absorbe the dead equipment on other colonies when working through an apiary which only spreads live mites.

    How you say, because mites still have food available upon which to feed. They have pollen in pollen cells and dead brood although decaying still containing much nourishment. This can keep mites alive for several weeks. So word of caution be careful.

    Dee A. Lusby

  18. #18
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    Big Grin

    John Sewell in replying to Forrest on 11-14-2000 02:29 PM posted:

    Proving the chemicals will encourage the very agents they're designed to inhibit would be fantastic. On the Irish Bee List (I'm sure the address is on the Digital Dialogue page) today Dee Lusby made a very similar claim when she said "and scientists know or at least the scientists working agriculture crops, that chemicals make mites breed like
    crazy"

    I am what the Brits call 'gobsmacked' stunned, shaken, shocked and aghast at this statement, which you seem to be repeating too. If you can prove it I will not be the only person on this planet to have my vague, visceral instinctive suspicions about our modern alchemists vindicated.

    If you can't prove it the established purveyors of our ages magiks will jump all over us and scream we are ranting religious mumbo jumbo...

    REPLY:

    Well John, let's see you spread the word to the four corners for here is one of many I've read, with a few excerpts taken from it.

    Please reference to others the:

    Journal of Economic Entomology, volume 84, Number 4, August 1991, published by the Entomological Society of America, paper titled:Effect of Fenvalerate on Control of European Red Mite (Acari: Tetranychidae) on Peaches with Acaricides, by Fred C. Swift

    Abstract: The effect of fenvalerate on acaricidal control of European red mite, Panonychus ulmi (Koch), on peaches was evaluated. On control trees, two applications of fenvalerate resulted in a 3.3-fold increase in number of mite-days.In addition, the effectiveness of four of six acaricide treatments was reduced by treatment with fenvalerate, beginning =50 d after treatment for cyhexatin and 88 d after treatment for clofentezine and hexythiazox.Because of late-season increase of mites in the acaricide plots treated with fenvalerate, counts of overwintering eggs increased by a factor of 6-31 times relative to comparable acaride treatments not oversprayed with fenvalerate.

    Under Results and Discussion it was noted:

    European red mite population densities in the conotrols were increased significantly by two applications of fenvalerate.

    Significant differences in mite densities were observed between acaricide treatments that received fenvalerate compared with those that had not.

    All plots treated with acaricide had higher egg counts as a result of the fenvalerate treatment. Overwintering egg counts were highest in the treatments with the densest populations of European red mite in September. The increase ranged from 6.2-fold to 31-fold.

    Penman & Chapman (1988) reviewed the various ways that pyrethroids induce mite outbreaks.

    I suggest all beekeepers read papers like this so they are aware that pyrethroids are well known in scientific agricultural circles on field crops to induce mite outbreaks and increases in their population.

    Why this fact is not readily made aware to beekeepers is puzzling to me. Certainly, if they knew, they might be hesitant to use such chemicals in their colonies for its enhancing properities can only make the mite situation worse in the long run.

    Comments welcomed.........


    Dee A. Lusby

  19. #19
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    Hi John and Dee
    John,in answer to your Question. I just sailed a 381 Catana from Florida, Bahamas to Road Island. 1500 miles. The storms are very organic. They will also momentarily turn you into a religious fanatic.
    I do not mind hard questions. Very healthy. The subject of slugs. I think we will have to wait for the big fire ball to hit. The only thing left will be slugs and roaches. At that point the slugs will eat the roaches. We could call that a slugfest.

    Thanks to Dee there is a lot of information about chemicals increasing bad bugs. My question is , WHY? Most organic people will say chemicals kill the good along with the bad. And in the world of good and evil, if you give evil an inch, it will take a foot. Dee is also correct in her desire for bee keepers to read research papers in the organic world. A good place to start is a few organic garden magazines.

    A few questions. Has anyone placed mites in the frig to see how long they live? Better still, place live bees with mites in the frig. Will the mites live or drop off? At what temperature? In the winter, has anyone checked a brood nest to see if there are mites on the outside bees or are they on bees at the center of the ball where the temperature is higher?

    I thank Juan stated, he noticed an increase in mites during the increase of brood rearing. Is this because of the increase in outside temperature and also the increased metabolism of the bees, causing a heat and moisture build up in the hive? Is the hive ventilation in question? If we were able to keep the hive cooler, will that help.

    To be independent of chemicals is not going to be just one change you make. I applaud what you are doing with cell size. I think this is a major step in helping the bees help themselves.

    I hope I don’t sound stupid.
    Forrest



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Reading England
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    Hi Juan...

    What I am trying to ask in my wee small voice is if 1000 good bees keep their infestation under control by spitting out mites, and 1000 badbees don't get rid of their mites are we going to treat and mess with the wrong colony? And then think we should have treated them both after the one which looked healthier had less drop? I have glanced at an observation hive once. Debris from the upper story falling down landed on many bees before hitting the floor. Mites that are drugged may fall all through adjacent combs with strips in...but natural drop? I can see that the more mites there are the more will drop. But bees are not incapable of removing those bugs...and we should beware treating on account of a large drop.

    For me it's a big thing if your bees have some varroa and are alive and cropping. Those are the babies I'm after.

    What does the lab do for $12 ?

    Regards
    John


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