Bee News 4

 

 

Mustard farmers join forces to protect British honey bees
Mustard farmers join forces to protect British honey bees The English Mustard Growers (EMG), a farm collective based in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk which supply seed to the Colman’s English Mustard brand, are working in partnership with crop production specialists, Hutchinsons, to map the availability of nectar and pollen throughout the year.
The aim of the project is to ensure pollinators, such a honey bees, receive a steady supply of food resources, which will in turn support crop yields

 

PAN UK is Dismayed at EU Licensing of New Bee-Toxic Insecticide
PAN UK is Dismayed at EU Licensing of New Bee-Toxic Insecticide The European Commission has licensed a completely new insecticide for use in Europe. Cyantraniliprole, like neonicotinoids, is a systemic insecticide and is highly toxic to bees. PAN UK is dismayed that the EC has decided to allow such a bee-toxic pesticide onto the market. It seems that officials have learned nothing from the disastrous introduction of neonicotinoids which more and more studies are linking to large scale pollinator declines.
Cyantraniliprole is a systemic insecticide that works by affecting muscles in insects and eventually leads to death. This unusual mode of action means that it is effective against some pests that have become resistant to other classes of insecticide.

 

Neonics study concludes clothianidin not harmful to bees
Neonics study concludes clothianidin not harmful to bees Large-scale field studies into the banned neonicotinoid seed treatment clothianidin have concluded it is not harmful to bees.
Bayer CropScience, which manufactures clothianidin, carried out a series of large-scale landscape studies into the bee safety of the neonicotinoid in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, a state in northern Germany.

 

New bee arrives for first time in the UK
New bee arrives for first time in the UK Brexit may have caused an anti-immigration buzz but a traveller from the continent has made the UK its new home: the viper’s bugloss mason bee.
The bee is common in the UK’s European neighbours but has been discovered for the first time in this country, in a small park in Greenwich, London.
“I always have half an eye open, but I certainly didn’t expect that,” said David Notton, an insect expert at the Natural History Museum, who made the discovery in June. “It’s quite a big bee, so, if it was new, I thought someone else would have already spotted it.”
DNA tests confirmed the identity of the bee - Hoplitis adunca - and Notton gave it a common name based on the plant it exclusively feeds on, a blue-flowering plant in the borage family called viper’s bugloss.

 

Will the UK retain the neonicotinoid moratorium post-Brexit ?
Will the UK retain the neonicotinoid moratorium post-Brexit? A couple of weeks ago the Society of Chemical Industry held a meeting in London to discuss “Are neonicotinoids killing bees?” As you might guess from the name of the people organising it, this seems to have been a rather one-sided affair; a bunch of lobbyists from the agrochemical industry, and a hand-picked selection of scientists all but one of whom are known to have pro-pesticide leanings and/or receive funding from the agrochemical industry. I was unable to attend this travesty of a meeting, but I did get a chance to hear how it was reported on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today, and BBC gave me two minutes to give an off-the-cuff response to comments made by two attendees, Norman Carreck (of Sussex University and the International Bee Research Institute) and Peter Campbell (of Syngenta). Here I give a slightly more detailed and considered response

 

A New Organic Acid Varroa Mite Medication
A New Organic Acid Varroa Mite Medication At its October meeting, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended the granting of a marketing authorization in the European Union (EU) for VarroMed (oxalic acid dihydrate / formic acid). This antiparasitic medicine treats the Varroa mite infestation in honey-bee colonies, which is considered to be the most significant parasitic health concern affecting honey bees worldwide.
View the new "Bee Health" infograph.

 

No single protein determines queen development in honeybees
No single protein determines queen development in honeybees In the first few days after they hatch, honey bee larvae feed on royal jelly secreted by the hypopharyngeal glands of adult honey bees. "It is a highly nutritious food comprising sugars, proteins and amino acids," says Robin Moritz, Professor of Molecular Ecology at MLU. After a few days, most larvae start to receive honey and pollen in their food. These will develop into worker bees. Only the larvae that are destined to become queens continue to be fed exclusively on royal jelly.

 

Not to worry ! We have Robobees !
Not to worry ! We have Robobees ! Sometimes I have to marvel at the utter insanity of today's western corporate "scientism" culture. A brief review is necessary. First we had companies like Mon(ster)santo giving us GMO crops and food, and "terminator" seeds genetically modified to work with their own glyphosate pesticides to "increase yields and end worldwide hunger." Of course, these seeds were designed not to reproduce, and besides, even if they did, farmers buying these more expensive seeds had to sign licensing agreements that they could not withhold a certain amount of their harvest for replanting. Then came the massive collapse of the world-wide pollinator population, including butterflies and honeybees.

 

Healthful honey Takes On New Role as sugar consumption is linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease
Healthful honey Takes On New Role as sugar consumption is linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease An intense focus on added sugars consumption and links to obesity, diabetes and heart disease is motivating consumers to not only reduce total sweetener consumption, but to switch to sweeteners perceived as more healthful, such as honey.

 

'Final warning' decline in butterflies raises fears over pesticides
'Final warning' decline in butterflies raises fears over pesticides Butterfly numbers are suffering a "shock collapse", a study shows today as conservationists raise concen farm pesticides are causing the worst population fall in six years.
Despite a warm summer that would normally help them thrive, the majority of species studied in the annual Big Butterfly Count saw populations fall.

 

High number of pesticides within colonies linked to honey bee deaths
High number of pesticides within colonies linked to honey bee deaths 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

 

Scientists have shown that the drone can leave behind a virus that may infect the queen with the disease deformed wing virus. The Queen dies, the colony does too.
Scientists have shown that the drone can leave behind a virus that may infect the queen with the disease deformed wing virus. The Queen dies, the colony does too When a queen has sex with many different partners, it can increase her risk of infection with venereal disease. It can also lead to the collapse of her colony. This might read like ingredients for a juicy novel, but for bees it is reality.
Scientists from Aarhus University have teamed up with American and German colleagues and found that the mating behaviour of queen bees increases the risk of the whole colony succumbing to the syndrome Colony Collapse Disorder because of a venereal disease.
In order to understand how this works you need to know a few things about the mating behaviour of bees.

 

This flower smells like a bee under attack
This flower smells like a bee under attack A new discovery takes plants' deception of their pollinators to a whole new level. Researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on October 6 found that the ornamental plant popularly known as Giant Ceropegia fools certain freeloading flies into pollinating it by mimicking the scent of honeybees under attack. The flies find that smell attractive because they typically dine on the drippings of honeybees that are in the clutches of a spider or other predatory insect

 

Can Plant Blindness Be Cured?
Can Plant Blindness Be Cured? In a new review study, researchers examine why people, including conservationists, tend to be biased against plants, and if this bias can be challenged.
For example, if shown a picture of a lion on a tree, people would be more likely to point out the lion, and ignore the tree. This bias against plants is widespread, and seriously limits conservation efforts, scientists say.

 

Agrichemicals and ever more intensive farming will not feed the world
Agrichemicals and ever more intensive farming will not feed the world British farmers growing wheat typically treat each crop over its growing cycle with four fungicides, three herbicides, one insecticide and one chemical to control molluscs. They buy seed that has been precoated with chemicals against insects. They spray the land with weedkiller before planting, and again after.
They apply chemical growth regulators that change the balance of plant hormones to control the height and strength of the grain’s stem. They spray against aphids and mildew. And then they often spray again just before harvesting with the herbicide glyphosate to dessicate the crop, which saves them the energy costs of mechanical drying.

 

Seven bees in Hawaii added to US endangered species list
Seven bees in Hawaii added to US endangered species list Hard on the heels of last week’s announcement about the proposed listing of the rusty patched bumble bee, today we got more great news for bees: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a final rule that makes a group of yellow-faced bees in Hawaii the first bees in the country to be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The USFWS declaration that seven species of yellow-faced bees (genus Hylaeus) are “endangered” comes after a multi-year effort by the Xerces Society to gain recognition and protection for these bees.

 

The canary in the coalmine; bee declines as an indicator of environmental health
The canary in the coalmine; bee declines as an indicator of environmental health Bee declines have received much attention of late, but there is considerable debate and confusion as to the extent, significance and causes of declines. In part, this reflects conflation of data for domestic honeybees, numbers of which are largely driven by economic factors, with those for wild bees, many of which have undergone marked range contractions but for the majority of which we have no good data on population size. There is no doubt that bees are subject to numerous pressures in the modern world

 

The other side of the Neonic conversation…Study: Scientists That Won’t Link Pesticides To Bee Deaths Are Often Funded By Agrochemical Industry
The other side of the Neonic conversation…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.

 

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.

 

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