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Around the world, honeybee populations have been rapidly declining. Although there is an overwhelming amount of scientific research that proves the cause for this decline is due to the widespread use of systemic pesticides called neonicotinoids, industry claims that these pesticides are NOT the root of the problem.
In fact, many industry apologists adamantly insist that the decline is due to Varroa Mites. While Varroa Mites do greatly impact the health of the colony, it is clearly not the case when it comes to the rapidly declining honeybee population in Australia. Why? Well, there are no Varroa Mites in Australia. So, this is a moot argument in the down under, at least for the time being. What is killing the bees? In this week’s segment of The Neonicotinoid View, host June Stoyer and Colorado beekeeper, Tom Theobald talk to commercial beekeeper, Jeffrey Gibbs about Australia’s honeybee crisis. Stay tuned!

 

Pesticide manufacturers' own tests reveal serious harm to honeybees
Pesticide manufacturers' own tests reveal serious harm to honeybees Unpublished field trials by pesticide manufacturers show their products cause serious harm to honeybees at high levels, leading to calls from senior scientists for the companies to end the secrecy which cloaks much of their research.
The research, conducted by Syngenta and Bayer on their neonicotinoid insecticides, were submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency and obtained by Greenpeace after a freedom of information request.

 

Bugging out ... ?
Is Canada experiencing widespread declines in certain insects? Almost certainly. Do we know which ones and why? Maybe.
Bugging out.  Is Canada experiencing widespread declines in certain insects? Almost certainly. Do we know which ones and why? Maybe. If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed 10,000 years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos."
So said eminent biological philosopher and author E.O. Wilson, not coincidentally, an entomologist who specializes in ants. Also not coincidentally, the aphorism recently resurfaced in a 2014 book by fellow biologist and author Dave Goulson, the world's foremost expert on the behaviour, ecology and conservation of bumblebees. In A Buzz in the Meadow, Goulson's compelling ode to the importance of insects, Wilson's quote is a springboard both to declare that insects are vanishing worldwide, and to question our lack of concern. Goulson contrasts the ramifications of no insects — potential global cataclysm — with something of far less consequence on which we expend much conservation capital: the ever-lovable panda, whose disappearance, while symbolic, might mean only "a tiny bit more bamboo in a forest in China."

 

UCR professor discovers bacterial connection between wild bees and flowers
UCR professor discovers bacterial connection between wild bees and flowers Quinn McFrederick, assistant professor of entomology at UCR, recently uncovered a close relationship between wild bee and flower microbiomes, as well as the importance of microbiomes in overall bee fitness, or the ability to pass on genes. Using this discovery, he hopes to elucidate changes in the gut microbiome of wild bees in response to environmental changes for the purpose of conservation and protection of the declining bee population

 

Threat to honeybees as Asian hornet's arrival on UK mainland confirmed
Threat to honeybees as Asian hornet's arrival on UK mainland confirmed The Asian hornet’s long-feared arrival on the UK mainland has been confirmed, government scientists have said, with ecologists warning of dire consequences for honeybees if the species is not swiftly eliminated.
The hornets eat honeybees and have become widespread in central and southern France, prompting warnings in recent years that they could arrive in the UK via potted plants from France.

 

Begging for water gets water collector bees busy
Begging for water gets water collector bees busy Thirst is a sensation that we can all relate to; however, dealing with this basic physiological impulse takes on a whole new dimension when an entire bee colony craves water.
“We are interested in the social physiology of honey bee colonies, that is, how they work as physiological units”, says Thomas Seeley, from Cornell University, USA, who was curious how the elderly bees that are tasked with gathering water know when the colony’s collective thirst is running high. “Water collectors do not spend much, if any, time in the broodnest, and yet somehow they know when to start collecting water to control its temperature”, explains Seeley.

 

European Scientists Discover Bee Resurgence After Banning These 3 Pesticides Still Used in The US
European Scientists Discover Bee Resurgence After Banning These 3 Pesticides Still Used in The US European scientists have discovered that bee populations are experiencing a resurgence after three neonicotinoid insecticides, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam were banned by the European Commission in 2013. Unfortunately, all three are still used heavily in the USA.
The European Academies Science Advisory Council, an independent body composed of representatives from the national science academies of European Union member states, has a growing body of evidence that shows the widespread use of the pesticides “has severe effects on a range of organisms that provide ecosystem services like pollination and natural pest control, as well as on biodiversity.”

 

FDA Finds Monsanto’s Weed Killer In U.S. Honey
FDA Finds Monsanto’s Weed Killer In U.S. Honey In examining honey samples from various locations in the United States, the FDA has found fresh evidence that residues of the weed killer called glyphosate can be pervasive - found even in a food that is not produced with the use of glyphosate. All of the samples the FDA tested in a recent examination contained glyphosate residues, and some of the honey showed residue levels double the limit allowed in the European Union, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. There is no legal tolerance level for glyphosate in honey in the United States.

 

In-hive Pesticide Exposome: Assessing risks to migratory honey bees from in-hive pesticide contamination in the Eastern United States
In-hive Pesticide Exposome: Assessing risks to migratory honey bees from in-hive pesticide contamination in the Eastern United States This study measured part of the in-hive pesticide exposome by analyzing residues from live in-hive bees, stored pollen, and wax in migratory colonies over time and compared exposure to colony health. We summarized the pesticide burden using three different additive methods: (1) the hazard quotient (HQ), an estimate of pesticide exposure risk, (2) the total number of pesticide residues, and (3) the number of relevant residues. Despite being simplistic, these models attempt to summarize potential risk from multiple contaminations in real-world contexts.

 

Study: Scientists That Won’t Link Pesticides To Bee Deaths Are Often Funded By Agrochemical Industry
Study: Scientists That Won’t Link Pesticides To Bee Deaths Are Often Funded By Agrochemical Industry ‘Syngenta and Bayer have a substantial amount of influence in the debate,’ said one neurobiology researcher in response to a Greenpeace analysis of corporate corruption in pesticide research.
Pesticide manufacturers have spent millions influencing researchers who are investigating the role of neonicotinoids, a nicotine-like chemical found in many major pesticides, in bee die-offs, according to a recent analysis by Greenpeace.
The analysis arrives just weeks after scientists released the results of a long-term study that shows neonicotinoids are extremely dangerous to wild bees in the United Kingdom.
Bayer and Syngenta, two of the world’s top manufacturers of neonicotinoid-based pesticides, gave over £2 million (over $2.6 million) to British universities engaged in research on pesticides and plant sciences between 2011 and the start of 2016

 

Rock-boring Bee Named after Ancient Pueblo Native-American Cliff Dwellers
Rock-boring Bee Named after Ancient Pueblo Native-American Cliff Dwellers This month in the journal Current Biology, graduate student Michael Orr from the Utah State University (USU) rummaged through drawer after drawer at the National Pollinating Insects Collection until his doggedness paid off. Inside one drawer, he spied what he'd been seeking: specimens of an unnamed, fuzzy gray bee and their nests-carved into chunks of sandstone.
Could these bees have made the same sandstone nests he had observed nearly a year before at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park in Utah?

 

Deformed wing virus can be transmitted during natural mating in honey bees and infect the queens
Deformed wing virus can be transmitted during natural mating in honey bees and infect the queens Deformed wing virus is an important contributor to honey bee colony losses. Frequently queen failure is reported as a cause for colony loss. Here we examine whether sexual transmission during multiple matings of queens is a possible way of virus infection in queens.
Our results demonstrate that deformed wing virus infected drones are competitive to mate and able to transmit the virus along with semen, which occasionally leads to queen infections. Virus transmission to queens during mating may be common and can contribute noticeably to queen failure.

 

That stings: Insecticide hurts queen bees' egg-laying abilities
That stings: Insecticide hurts queen bees' egg-laying abilities The research examined the effects of imidacloprid, which belongs to a popular class of nicotine-based insecticides known as neonicotinoids. Honey bees often become exposed to neonicotinoids in the process of pollinating crops and ornamental plants while foraging for the nectar and pollen that feed their colonies.
Queen bees in colonies that were fed imidacloprid-laced syrup laid substantially fewer eggs - between one-third and two-thirds as many, depending on the dose of imidacloprid - than queens in unexposed colonies, the study reported.

 

UMass Amherst research finds untreated lawns yield unexpectedly rich bee species mix
UMass Amherst research finds untreated lawns yield unexpectedly rich bee species mix Declining populations of pollinators is a major concern to ecologists because bees, butterflies and other insects play a critical role in supporting healthy ecosystems. Now a new study from urban ecologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggests that when urban and suburban lawns are left untreated with herbicides, they provide a diversity of “spontaneous” flowers such as dandelions and clover that offer nectar and pollen to bees and other pollinators.

 

Neonicotinoids: How Pesticide Giants Influence Research on Bee Impacts
Neonicotinoids: How Pesticide Giants Influence Research on Bee Impacts The chemical giants which make products linked to the decline of the wild bee population enjoy "substantial influence" on research around pesticides at UK universities, according to leading scientists.
The comments come as Energydesk reveals that Bayer and Syngenta have given more than £2 million to UK universities for research related to pesticides and plant sciences between 2011 to the start of 2016.
The data could add to concerns that universities will become more dependent on industry funding as new EU science backing is cut back.

 

‘Like it’s been nuked’: Millions of bees dead after South Carolina sprays for Zika mosquitoes
‘Like it’s been nuked’: Millions of bees dead after South Carolina sprays for Zika mosquitoes Beekeepers warn of dangers as US tries to control Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is blamed for spreading Zika virus.
On Sunday morning, the South Carolina honey bees began to die in massive numbers.
The pattern matched acute pesticide poisoning. By one estimate, at a single apiary — Flowertown Bee Farm and Supply, in Summerville — 46 hives died on the spot, totalling about 2.5 million bees

 

Two interesting documents Two interesting documents just been sent to The Guardian  newspaper

 

Neonicotinoids in Australia - Part 2
Neonicotinoids in Australia - Part 2 Honey bee populations in Australia are in crisis. The numbers of bees under the care of commercial honey producers are at an all time low. Commercial beekeepers wintering losses of thirty per cent are now accepted as the norm, according to Des Cannon, Editor of The ABK. Bee diseases have never been more prevalent in Australia. Every commercial beekeeper is battling disease and this battle is a full time job. A battle fought by beekeepers alone at the expense of their own time and money.

 

Combined neonicotinoid pesticide and parasite stress alter honeybee queens’ physiology and survival
Combined neonicotinoid pesticide and parasite stress alter honeybee queens’ physiology and survival Honeybee colony survival strongly relies on the queen to overcome worker losses exposed to combined stressors like pesticides and parasites. Queen’s capacity to withstand these stressors is however very little known. The effects of the common neonicotinoid pesticide imidacloprid in a chronic and sublethal exposure together with the wide distributed parasite Nosema ceranae have therefore been investigated on queen’s physiology and survivorship in laboratory and field conditions.

 

The Buzz about Honey Bee Viruses. If you wondered about controlling Varroa, wonder no more…
The Buzz about Honey Bee Viruses. If you wondered about controlling Varroa, wonder no more… In this short review, we present our current understanding of the role of viruses on honey bee health and address some overarching questions in honey bee virology .
Full text can bee seen here

 

A Look into the Cell: There’s A Lot More To Honey Storage Than You Thought!
A Look into the Cell: There’s A Lot More To Honey Storage Than You Thought! Honey bees, Apis species, obtain carbohydrates from nectar and honeydew. These resources are ripened into honey in wax cells that are capped for long-term storage. These stores are used to overcome dearth periods when foraging is not possible. Despite the economic and ecological importance of honey, little is known about the processes of its production by workers.
For the rest of this Plos One article, click HERE

 

Riddle of how 1,700 tons of mauka honey are made... but 10,000 are sold
Riddle of how 1,700 tons of mauka honey are made... but 10,000 are sold More jars of expensive manuka honey are being sold in Britain and around the world than are being produced.
The prized honey originates from New Zealand, yet demand is so high that supply cannot keep up.
The net result is that some producers appear to be substituting cheap standard honey.

 

Nearly two decades of data reinforce concerns that pesticides are really bad for bees
Nearly two decades of data reinforce concerns that pesticides are really bad for bees New research has provided some of the strongest evidence yet that pesticides can do serious, long-term damage to bee populations. And the findings may help fuel the ongoing debate about whether certain insecticides should be permitted for agricultural use at all.
The new study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, examines the question of whether the use of a common (and highly controversial) class of pesticides called neonicotinoids can be linked to wild bee declines in England. The results suggest that this could be the case.
Using 18 years of data collected on more than 60 bee species in England, the researchers found that species foraging on pesticide-treated crops have experienced much more severe losses than species foraging on other plants.
The study provides some of the first evidence that the effects of neonicotinoid exposure can scale up to cause major damage to bees.

 

Controversial pesticides threaten not just bees, but butterflies, too
Controversial pesticides threaten not just bees, but butterflies, too Most of the furor surrounding neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely-used pesticides, focuses on the harms they cause to bees. Yet these chemicals may also pose a threat—presently little-appreciated but possibly grave—to butterflies.
In a study published in the journal Biology Letters, researchers led by biologist Matthew Forister of the University of Nevada tracked butterfly populations across four decades in three Northern California counties. Butterflies there face many challenges, including climate change, drought, and habitat loss to agriculture and urban sprawl. Yet even with those factors accounted for, neonicotinoids seem to pose a unique threat: the researchers found that declines in butterfly health and reproductive success accelerated dramatically after the pesticides entered widespread use in the mid-1990s.

 

Gardeners Beware 2016
Gardeners Beware 2016 In order to determine the state of marketplace progress in eliminating bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides from bee-attractive plants, we undertook the current study, Gardeners Beware 2016: Bee-toxic pesticides found in ‘Bee-Friendly’ Plants Sold at Garden Centers Across the U.S. We worked with 13 organizations in 12 states across the U.S. to sample and analyze 60 plants. Thirteen of these plants were beeattractive tree or shrub species often used as ornamental street trees in cities and towns. The results of our new report shows that fewer bee-attractive ornamental plants sold at major retailers have been pre-treated with pesticides shown to harm and kill bees.

 

Neonicotinoid insecticides linked to wild bee decline across England
Neonicotinoid insecticides linked to wild bee decline across England Exposure to neonicotinoid seed treated oilseed rape crops has been linked to long-term population decline of wild bee species across the English countryside, according to research published today in Nature Communications.
The scientists found evidence suggesting that neonicotinoid use is linked to large-scale and long-term decline in wild bee species distributions and communities.
The decline was, on average, three times stronger among species that regularly feed on the crop such as Buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) compared to species that forage on a range of floral resources, indicating that oilseed rape is a principle mechanism of neonicotinoid exposure among wild bee communities.

 

Approaches and Challenges to Managing Nosema Parasites in Honey Bee Colonies
Approaches and Challenges to Managing Nosema Parasites in Honey Bee Colonies The microsporidia Nosema apis (Zander) and Nosema ceranae (Fries) are common intestinal parasites in honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies. Though globally prevalent, there are mixed reports of Nosema infection costs, with some regions reporting high parasite virulence and colony losses, while others report high Nosema prevalence but few costs. Basic and applied studies are urgently needed to help beekeepers effectively manage Nosema spp., ideally through an integrated pest management approach that allows beekeepers to deploy multiple strategies to control Nosema when Nosema is likely to cause damage to the colonies, rather than using prophylactic treatments.
Read the rest of this journal article here.

 

Surveys of Corn and Soybean Fields Reveal Implications for Pollinator Conservation
Surveys of Corn and Soybean Fields Reveal Implications for Pollinator Conservation Although corn and soybeans do not need insects for pollination, they do offer floral resources that are used by insect pollinators. So what kind of insects are commonly found in corn and soybean fields? The answer to that question can be found in a new article published in Environmental Entomology.
Researchers from Iowa State University used modified pan traps to compare the insect communities found in the two crops. All in all, they captured 6,704 individual insects representing at least 60 species. Thirty-four species were collected in both crops, 19 were collected only in corn, and seven were collected only in soybean.

 

Action needed to 'future-proof' pollinators
Action needed to 'future-proof' pollinators International scientists are calling for action to "future-proof" the prosperity of pollinating insects, birds and mammals.
They say agricultural expansion, new pesticides and emerging viruses present the biggest risks in coming decades.
Some 35% of global crop production and more than 85% of wild flowering plants rely to some degree on pollination.

 

Pesticides used to help bees may actually harm them
Pesticides used to help bees may actually harm them Pesticides beekeepers are using to improve honeybee health may actually be harming the bees by damaging the bacteria communities in their guts, according to a team led by a Virginia Tech scientist.
The discovery, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology,is a concern because alterations can affect the gut’s ability to metabolize sugars and peptides, processes that are vital for honeybee health. Beekeepers typically apply pesticides to hives to rid them of harmful parasites such as Varroa mites.

 

First Hexagonal Coin Features A Honey Bee, and has Resin Inclusion
First Hexagonal Coin Features A Honey Bee, and has Resin Inclusion The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has unveiled (Aug 01) a new coin paying homage to the humble honey bee, or Apis mellifera. The honey bee is an integral part of our lives, providing honey while pollinating flowers and plants that provide the human race with needed sustenance. The life and hierarchy of the honey bee is complicated, with an organized society of three adult castes comprising of the queen, workers, and drones, each with a specific purpose and function.

 

Slovenia’s abuzz with bee tourism
Slovenia’s abuzz with bee tourism In honey-mad Slovenia a new tour takes visitors around bee hives and api-wellness centres – with stops for deliciously sticky bread and cakes.
I’m lying face down in a shed as a woman pours honey on me. A skylight throws fading rays on to the massage table. I close my eyes and try to relax as the masseuse starts to pat me with sticky hands. The room smells like a sauna, with overtones of sweetness, and gently vibrates with the sound of tens of thousands of bees, at work on the other side of the wall.

 

A self-monitoring hive that takes the hard work out of beekeeping could help reinvigorate the country’s declining honey bee population.
Mella - an urban beehive designed especially for novices - is the brainchild of Loughborough University Industrial Design and Technology student Ellie MacLeod.

 

Let’s build our model !
Let’s build our model ! We have reached an important landmark in our work on bee health at EFSA. Today we publish detailed information about the predictive model that will be required by EFSA to enable it to assess the impact of pesticides on honeybee colony health, in the context of multiple stressors relating to:
• the environment (landscape and weather) in which the colony is located;
• biological agents that might be adversely affecting the hive including Varroa mites and Nosema infection; and
• certain beekeeping practices.

 

Honey bee colonies fall by nearly 12% globally
Honey bee colonies fall by nearly 12% globally The number of honey bee colonies fell by nearly 12% last winter, an international study indicates. The study found that the spring and early summer months of 2015, from March to July, were cold in Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland, with mean temperatures ranging from 12.8 - 14.4 °C. This may have had negative effects on colony development, resulting in both relatively high numbers of dead colonies and unsolvable queen problems after winter.

 

Asian giant honeybees may move in synchrony to ventilate nests
Asian giant honeybees may move in synchrony to ventilate nests The Asian giant honeybee, Apis dorsata, builds its large single-comb nests out in the open, making them potentially vulnerable to extremes of temperature that may threaten survival. New research shows that these giant honeybees may use synchronized movements to ventilate and cool their nests.

 

Researchers identify how queen bees repress workers' fertility
Researchers identify how queen bees repress workers' fertility Researchers from New Zealand's University of Otago have discovered the molecular mechanism by which queen honeybees carefully control worker bees' fertility.
It has long been known that worker bees have a very limited ability to reproduce in a hive with a queen and brood present, but in their absence, a third of them will activate their ovaries and lay eggs that hatch into fertile male drones.

 

Bumblebees coax pollen from flowers with a secret 'knock'
When it comes to unlocking the pollen from certain types of flowers, only a secret buzz will work — a buzz that bumblebees know how to perform. Not even honeybees, the most famous of pollinators, know how to crack the code.
Called buzz pollination, the strategy is utilized by some 20,000 flowering plant species including many agricultural crops we know and love like tomatoes, blueberries, potatoes and cranberries to name just a few. The plants make the bees work extra hard for a payoff of pollen.

 

Leading insecticide cuts bee sperm by almost 40%
Leading insecticide cuts bee sperm by almost 40%, study shows The world’s most widely used insecticide is an inadvertent contraceptive for bees, cutting live sperm in males by almost 40%, according to research. The study also showed the neonicotinoid pesticides cut the lifespan of the drones by a third.
The scientists say the discovery provides one possible explanation for the increasing deaths of honeybees in recent years, as well as for the general decline of wild insect pollinators throughout the northern hemisphere.

 

Researchers discover how honey bees 'telescope' their abdomens
Researchers discover how honey bees 'telescope' their abdomens Honey bees are able to wiggle their abdomens in a variety of ways. Now new research published in the Journal of Insect Science shows how they are able to do it.
In 2015, a team of researchers from Tsinghua University in Beijing used a high-speed camera to observe how honey bees curl their abdomens while in flight and under restraint, confirming that bees can manipulate the shape of their abdomens, but only in one direction -- down, toward the bee's underside.

 

Assessment of the effects of neonicotinoids and fipronil on biodiversity and health (SHC 9241) (June 2016)
Advisory report 9241 - Neonicotinoids In this scientific advisory report on public health policy, the Superior Health Council of Belgium provides a review of the WIA-study on the impact of neonicotinoids and fipronil on biodiversity and ecosystems, and places the findings of this study and the conclusions of a similar, more recent study of EASAC in the wider context of the European and Belgian pesticide policy and of the role of ecosystem services in fostering human health.
The Superior Health Council concludes that the results of the WIA- and the EASAC-studies on the effects on human health and the ecosystem are important warning signs, and advocates the urgent need for further research on the toxicity of these compounds, human exposure, as well as on their effects on ecosystem services. Download full report

 

Bees spew water at their hive-mates when the temperature rises
Bees spew water at their hive-mates when the temperature rises Turn the air conditioner on, it’s a scorcher out there. When honeybee hives get too hot, thirsty bees beg their specialised, water-foraging sisters for more liquid, which ends up cooling the colony.
Honeybees have a few strategies for chilling out: some fan the nest, others leave the hive to increase air flow, and a few zip off looking for ponds or puddles. These “water collector” bees fill their bellies with water, fly back home, then regurgitate the liquid. Other bees slurp it up and spit it out around the hive, allowing the colony to cool as the water evaporates.
Journal reference: Journal of Experimental Biology, DOI: 10.1242/jeb.139824

 

A Sweet Example of Human And Wild Animal Collaboration
A Sweet Example of Human And Wild Animal Collaboration When a honey-hunter in Mozambique makes a distinct "brrr-hm!" sound, honeyguide birds fly to him, and appear to know that the hunter needs help tracking down a bees' nest.
This remarkable partnership, described in a study published in the 22 July issue of Science, reveals how birds can attach specific meaning to a human's call, and represents a rare case of mutual cooperation between humans and a wild animal..
Indicator indicator, known as the greater honeyguide, is a bird species that flits from tree to tree, showing humans where beehives are hidden. Alone, the bird is unable to crack open a beehive to enjoy the beeswax within. Yet, after humans harvest a hive for honey, they leave behind the wax, and, with that, compensate the honeyguides with a delicious treat.

 

Varroa mites found at second north Queensland site, prompting expanded search for pest
Varroa mites found at second north Queensland site, prompting expanded search for pest Biosecurity Queensland is boosting its efforts to find and destroy Asian Honey bees in north Queensland after the discovery of more varroa mites.
Tests on an Asian honey bee hive found in the backyard of a house in the Townsville suburb of Annandale have confirmed the presence of the potentially destructive pest.
Another hive, which also had the mite, was found last month at the Port of Townsville.

 

Nature's honeytrap for bees: Plants have a flair for arranging their flowers to lure in passing insects
Nature's honeytrap for bees: Plants have a flair for arranging their flowers to lure in passing insects Scientists from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Calgary have found that the way in which plants arrange their flowers affects the flight patterns taken by bees.
This could have an impact on how plants reproduce, as the researchers suggest that plants have evolved to take advantage of it.
It has previously been known that variation in shape, size and colour of flowers can influence how pollen is spread by insects and birds. But this is the first study that has looked at how arrangements of flowers can affect pollination.

 

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