Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Detection / Identification of bed bugs

best way to monitor? when are we "safe"?

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  1. friendhasbb

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Nov 15 2010 18:01:42
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    We were possibly exposed to bedbugs around 7 1/2 weeks ago on Sep 24 when we hosted weekend visitors. About 1 1/2 weeks later when I started to see suspicious looking bites over several days we bought and installed encasements for our bed. About 2 weeks after that when hubby got a couple suspicious (but different looking) bites we had a PCO come with a BB sniffing dog who alerted on our bed, sofa (where guests had slept) and a guest bed (where guests might have placed luggage). That PCO did not inspect. We installed Climbups and glueboards (but someone has said glueboards seldom catch anything). Visual inspections on Oct 26, Nov 2 and Nov 11 by other PCOs revealed nothing and because of that they did not want to treat. No one has actually seen any BBs or traces.

    Since Nov 4 we have been running a CO2 monitor in the LR but have trapped no bugs. For several weeks we have had climbups under our bed, glueboards in the 3 locations where the dog alerted. I have another CO2 monitor on order for the guest BR where the dog alerted. None of the monitors have caught anything yet. Do these monitors work? If not, what is better?

    In the meantime we have done a lot of vacuuming, cleaning, tossing clutter. Is it possible we cleaned them up? Or could they be dispersed and trying to find their way back to bite again? PCOs say they will seek and stay close to people, they are not invisible, they leave traces etc etc.

    Most of our bites were over a month ago. A few possibly different bites were 3 1/2 weeks ago. No bites since then. But I read they can live for 18 months without a meal

    No one has seen BBs or evidence (except for one or two carpet beetle larvae).

    When do we know we are "safe" from BBs? But maybe we never had them at all? And of course one is never "safe" because one can always pick them up again somewhere.

    I am still anxious about this. My husband says I am paranoid.

  2. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Nov 16 2010 11:20:01
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    Hi,

    This is one fo the two scenarios that the passive monitors were designed to answer. Once you are in the post treatment phase or think you are clear you install them and look for the physical signs of an infestation, they are the only monitors capable of detecting:

    • Live samples
    • Cast skins
    • Faecal traces

    If you were to find any trace signs on the passive the next steps would be to deep clean and replace to see if you unlock the infestation. Yes its actually that simple, we teach hotels in London to follow this procedure rather than chemically treating them.

    If you have not found any confirming signs of bedbugs it may be that you had a false positive ont he dog screening, it does happen which is why all good dog handlers should inspect to find physical confirming signs before recommending treatment.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs LImited

    In accordance witht he AUP and FTC I must declare that I do have a vested interest in the passive monitoring technology as the inventor and patentor of the device and its principles. That having been said it is the right technology given your circumstances.

    If you have found this information helpful please consider leaving feedback on social media via google+ or FaceBook or by like/loving the images.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about products.
  3. MyWorstFear

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Nov 16 2010 11:27:58
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    David, it's a joy to check the monitors and find nothing! I've recommended these to everyone I know and have purchased them not only for myself but for family members as well. I can't thank you enough for inventing them!!!

  4. Richard56

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Nov 16 2010 11:38:21
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    David: If you were to find any trace signs on the passive the next steps would be to deep clean and replace to see if you unlock the infestation.
    -------------------------
    I know generally what you mean by "deep clean" but could you give more specifics as what you would recommend if the monitor shows bed bug traces. I assume a thorough vacuuming and steam? What about the whole clothes/laundry thing? Would you recommend that as well? Also, can the monitors be put in a PakTite (or otherwise sanitized) as opposed to replacing them? Back to the vacuuming for a second -- some experts recommend the hepa filter and I believe at least one suggested a regular filter might be better, as easier to clean. What's your position here? Thanks.

    Richard

  5. friendhasbb

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Nov 16 2010 12:56:23
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    bed-bugscouk wrote re passive monitors:

    Once you are in the post treatment phase or think you are clear you install them and look for the physical signs of an infestation, they are the only monitors capable of detecting:

    * Live samples
    * Cast skins
    * Faecal traces

    I realize I have held back from getting the BB Alert Passive Bed Bug Monitor (which I assume is the one to which you are referring?) because I'm squeamish about catching a live sample. At least a glue board would trap a live bug via the glue. How hard is it to catch a live sample via the passive monitor? If I shine a flashlight into it to check for bugs, casts etc could that disturb a bug and cause it to run away? And if so, do they run fast?

  6. friendhasbb

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Nov 16 2010 13:02:30
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    Another concern: We are not currently getting bites. If bedbugs aren't feeding, I assume they wouldn't leave fecal traces, right? Would lack of blood meals also slow down their life cycles meaning they wouldn't pass from one larval stage to the next and therefore wouldn't leave cast skins?

    I'm still concerned about the possibility that they can live 18 months without a meal. Even 6 months without a meal would be of concern because it would mean they could still be alive, searching for food, without leaving traces.

    (I live in a detached single family home, so there is little likelihood of the bugs passing to or from an adjacent unit.)

  7. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Nov 16 2010 13:25:17
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    friendhasbb - 10 minutes ago  » 
    bed-bugscouk wrote re passive monitors:
    I realize I have held back from getting the BB Alert Passive Bed Bug Monitor (which I assume is the one to which you are referring?) because I'm squeamish about catching a live sample. At least a glue board would trap a live bug via the glue. How hard is it to catch a live sample via the passive monitor? If I shine a flashlight into it to check for bugs, casts etc could that disturb a bug and cause it to run away? And if so, do they run fast?

    Hi,

    Yes they are marketed as BB Alert Passive bedbug monitors.

    The system is designed so that you can see the faecal traces deposited on the detection skirt when samples enter or reside inside the device. This is a unique system based on modeling bedbug behaviour and effectively getting them to behave a little more socially if they do get into your home. If you provide them with the perfect home they will use it and you can effectively catch them unaware during the day and zip lock bag them. If you are worried about doing it you can always ask the exterminator to do it for you.

    You don't need to open, illuminate or remove to inspect the device, you simply leave it in place and the bedugs if present will find it.

    It is a true monitor, it does not trap in the sticking to a board kind of way. This is because our field observations support the scattering effect of such a strategy through the release of alarm pheramones.

    It may be satifying to see something stuck down but if the net effect is to scatter bedbugs to more remote locations where they are harder to treat its not exactly what you want.

    If bedbugs are feeding they have to deposit faecal traces, this is another biological constant with bedbugs. Oddly enough the trick that makes they defecate on the detection skirt of the passives also works if they have not fed in a few days.

    If you are not getting bites it does not always mean you don't have bedbugs, just that you are not currently responding to bites. With some people it takes multiple bites to have a response while others there are envrionmental factors that must also come into play.

    In that way the system is more accurate than bite responses.

    You dont need to worry about the flashlight as I explained above. We often get passives sent to the office for inspection which contain unfed first instar nymphs, showing the fact that they will lay eggs inside the device and that rapid removal into a zip lock bag can help catch the infestation before it gets established.

    Following these principles you only need to check the passive a maxium of once a week or following a "bite" as removing it within the 10 - 14 day egg laying to hatching time ensures you always catch it fast enough to not have a major outbreak or breeding infestation.

    Fear not Richard I will reply to your questions next.

    I hope that explains things more clearly, we are working on some new documents for the website about applications but things are taking their time at the second.

    David

  8. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Nov 16 2010 13:34:51
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    friendhasbb - 24 minutes ago  » 
    Another concern: We are not currently getting bites. If bedbugs aren't feeding, I assume they wouldn't leave fecal traces, right? Would lack of blood meals also slow down their life cycles meaning they wouldn't pass from one larval stage to the next and therefore wouldn't leave cast skins?
    I'm still concerned about the possibility that they can live 18 months without a meal. Even 6 months without a meal would be of concern because it would mean they could still be alive, searching for food, without leaving traces.
    (I live in a detached single family home, so there is little likelihood of the bugs passing to or from an adjacent unit.)

    Hi,

    This is one of those facts which although correct is reguarly miss interpreted.

    Yes bedbug cant live for 18 months without feeding as adults under optimal conditions. However if food is present they will seek it out.

    Therefore if you have a bedbug in your home it will not hiberant by choice unless sealed away from contact with sources of blood. This is in essence why they will follow people from room to room if you vacate infected areas. They technically could hibernate and some might do just that but soon enough the more mobile ones will follow.

    I appreciate you want a more exact timeline to their movement between location but Toby has to do the DNA on that and Richard I dare say is still working his way through the thousands of samples that were collected from a site which will help answer some of those questions. It will give us some clues to work on but to gett he axact behaviour pattern we would need to deliberatly infect peoples homes and go on a bedbug hunt every few days (volunteers please PM me).

    As soon as they detect food they will start to search for it and once they find it they will certainly leave traces. This is the main reason why I am so against isolating beds because you want to detect and eradicate not push back away from the sleeping area.

    David

  9. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Nov 16 2010 13:53:07
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    Richard56 - 1 hour ago  » 
    I know generally what you mean by "deep clean" but could you give more specifics as what you would recommend if the monitor shows bed bug traces. I assume a thorough vacuuming and steam? What about the whole clothes/laundry thing? Would you recommend that as well? Also, can the monitors be put in a PakTite (or otherwise sanitized) as opposed to replacing them? Back to the vacuuming for a second -- some experts recommend the hepa filter and I believe at least one suggested a regular filter might be better, as easier to clean. What's your position here? Thanks.
    Richard

    Hi Richard,

    We are still tryingt o work out the best way to be more specific but part of that is working out how to communicate the principles rather than a perscriptive protocol. Each location has too many variabkes to give an exact cleaning protocol without visual inspection. We are thinking of a set of before and after pictures but it is different for slatted beds compared with box frame types.

    If the activity on the monitor is low and they are checked reguarly that is all that needs to be done. Obviously if clothes are strewn in the area or the monitor is not checked for a long time then there is likely to be a larger issue and you may need to decontaminate clothes and other items.

    Steam can also be a good adjunct to cleaning although a good high suction vacum cleaner is the most valuable tool. I use Dyson cylinder cleaners myself, the pet allergy type as they have a good HEPA filter design but like many of our tools we do tweek and optimsie them inhouse (last week mine sucked some wall paper off the wall and I am not joking). I have never found cleaning it to be an issue and have never found anything near the HEPA filters, its bagless which I think helps a lot. As you may have guessed from my newsletters I am somthing of a cleaning encourager and almost always quote the simple fact that our beds are the most used item of furniture in our properties, in fact we spend on average 180 hours per month sleeping in them. Therefore 30 minutes once a month to inspect and clean seems a good payback.

    Recycling the passives is almost impossible as you would need to remove the faecal traces from the detection skirt. I have not found an effective way to do that. I would also advocate that you send the samples to your friendly academic entomology department if they are interested in collecting samples. Toby raided my collection the other week for his DNA work.

    I also think the temperature in the PackTite might effect the adhesive on the back of the passives, either way its not something we can recommend at this time.

    You basically need to use logic and common sense, if you the passive on a regular basis you will always catch the issue at the lowest possible level when it will not be as impacting. Its the next best thing to having me come and inspect.

    David

  10. nwreader

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Nov 16 2010 14:13:34
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    If the activity on the monitor is low and they are checked reguarly that is all that needs to be done.

    Hi David,
    Are you suggesting that if caught early enough, use of the passive monitors to attract and ziploc away the bedbugs, followed by inspection and cleaning of the bed can be sufficient action, or will additional treatment generally be needed.

  11. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Nov 16 2010 14:20:38
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    nwreader - 3 minutes ago  » 
    Hi David,
    Are you suggesting that if caught early enough, use of the passive monitors to attract and ziploc away the bedbugs, followed by inspection and cleaning of the bed can be sufficient action, or will additional treatment generally be needed.

    Hi,

    Yes it can be although the best results come when the passive is installed before the bedbugs are introduced. They will relocate from existing refugia into the device but this is obviously slower than them setting up home in there first.

    If you have an existing infestation which is light we suggest you install to confirm and then deep clean after 10 - 14 days and replace the monitor with a fresh one if there are any signs.

    Ths is what we mean by a proactive approach to bedbugs.

    David

  12. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Nov 16 2010 14:23:14
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    bed-bugscouk - 35 seconds ago  » 

    nwreader - 3 minutes ago  » 
    Hi David,
    Are you suggesting that if caught early enough, use of the passive monitors to attract and ziploc away the bedbugs, followed by inspection and cleaning of the bed can be sufficient action, or will additional treatment generally be needed.

    Hi,
    Yes it can be although the best results come when the passive is installed before the bedbugs are introduced. They will relocate from existing refugia into the device but this is obviously slower than them setting up home in there first.
    If you have an existing infestation which is light we suggest you install to confirm and then deep clean after 10 - 14 days and replace the monitor with a fresh one if there are any signs.
    Ths is what we mean by a proactive approach to bedbugs.
    David

    NB: This is obviously less likely to work on a dispersed colony of bedbugs and should only be atempted in light infestations. If you get repeat exposure to bedbugs through a local source contact or an adjoining neighbour it is also not recommended until you are isolated from those sources.

  13. nwreader

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Nov 16 2010 14:26:19
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    Thanks. As many others have done, just want to thank you and the other professionals who are so generous with your time and expertise!

  14. scaredsilly

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Nov 17 2010 0:04:09
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    This is a great thread, I'm wondering if it can be renamed and made into a sticky or something? David Cain's instructions are great, and the theory of trying to catch the bugs in the monitor and then tossing it is definitely worth a try...

  15. leslie55

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Dec 17 2010 9:41:52
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    Quote from David: I use Dyson cylinder cleaners myself, the pet allergy type as they have a good HEPA filter design
    ******

    David - do you worry about spreading nymphs or eggs with your Dyson? KillerQueen once suggested putting a nylon hose over the hole that leads into the canister to catch - but I'm guessing eggs could still get through. I can wash the canister afterward - but then, what about the other parts? I'm getting a packtite - but the whole vacuum won't fit.

    Can these passive monitors be placed in a coat closet? It's winter - and I worry about little hitchers from the subway and taxi cabs.

  16. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Dec 17 2010 21:00:46
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    friendhasbb - 1 month ago  » 
    I'm still concerned about the possibility that they can live 18 months without a meal. Even 6 months without a meal would be of concern because it would mean they could still be alive, searching for food, without leaving traces.

    Length of time they survive is strongly temperature-dependent.

    See http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/unfed-nymph-lifespan-without-food, especially the table below as provided by spideyjg from Usinger's 1966 monograph citing data from earlier research:

    spideyjg - 11 months ago  » 
    1st instar nymphs that did feed once survived 275 days at 50F and 17 days at 99.
    From the Monograph...all stages fed once before sealing away.

      Life..................Starvation
      Stage................Survival at Temp
      Temp....50F..........65F..........81F........99F
      1...........274.6.......113.6.......27.8.......16.8
      2...........398.9.......171.1.......45.6.......30.4
      3 ..........412.7.......214.4.......71.2.......35.3
      4 ..........432.5.......234.1.......73.3.......37.2
      5 ..........484.9.......161.4.......39.5.......32.6
      AF .......425.0.......277.1.......86.7.......31.9
      AM.......401.9.......175.6.......43.4.......28.6

    If they haven't fed it will be drastically less.
    Notice at 65 it is 113 days and at 81 it is only 28 days and that is fed. Notice the huge swing of all stages at 65-81F? That huge temperature effect is why no one can predict jack.
    Jim

    Note that the survival times are *mean* survival times not maximum, i.e. the *average time they lived*, not the length of time after which all had starved to death. A very important difference because usually you get outliers that live far longer than the average.

    Anyway if your bugs are at room temperature they may live a few months unfed but not 18 months.

    Personal experience: over the last couple of years at various times I've had about 25 bugs of my own in jars at room temperature and none lived beyond about two months.

  17. Totallynuts

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Jan 1 2011 0:35:15
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    I think I want to try the BB passive alert system, but after reading about them, understand, I think correctly, that you cannot use any type of system such as sticky tape, vaseline or the interceptors and that the bb have to be able to freely move about the room in order for the monitors to detect them. I have placed diatomaceous earth around my bedposts and along the baseboards in an effort to kill any bugs around and wonder if the DE will affect their movements and thus affect the use of the monitors.

  18. Nobugsonme

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    Sat Jan 1 2011 14:38:40
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    scaredsilly - 1 month ago  » 
    This is a great thread, I'm wondering if it can be renamed and made into a sticky or something? David Cain's instructions are great, and the theory of trying to catch the bugs in the monitor and then tossing it is definitely worth a try...

    It's a good idea, though I think instead of making it a sticky, I will work on editing the information here into a FAQ on BBAlert Passives.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  19. Ross123

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Jan 1 2011 15:25:45
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    bed-bugscouk - 1 month ago  » 
    ...
    Therefore if you have a bedbug in your home it will not hiberant by choice unless sealed away from contact with sources of blood. This is in essence why they will follow people from room to room if you vacate infected areas. They technically could hibernate and some might do just that but soon enough the more mobile ones will follow.
    ...
    As soon as they detect food they will start to search for it and once they find it they will certainly leave traces. This is the main reason why I am so against isolating beds because you want to detect and eradicate not push back away from the sleeping area.
    David

    This is something I would like to understand better. I started to read about BB only recently and I still don't understand their behavior and will greatly appreciate any input.
    BB are attracted to their meal (our blood) by the CO2 that we exhale. To be effective, the passive monitors require no barriers to their regular activity. Does this mean we should let them access (bite) us? If I'm getting this correctly, receiving bites are not the best monitoring way because not everyone reacts and other skin reactions including bites from other critters may be confused for BB bites. If so, then I think, passive monitors may be best for prevention by early detection in places that don't have BB. But in places, like my home, where there are strong reasons to suspect BB bites, I think the first priority people will take is to protect themselves from additional bites while still trying to find out if there are BB. In our home we blocked BB access to our beds. This is in effect sealing the BB from their food. So the question is if they are not allowed to bite, will they still stay close to the inaccessible food that attracts them and die from starvation or will they give up and walk away to find accessible food?
    If they will not walk away then if I understand correctly, active monitors like BB Beacon should eliminate them all, provided BB are not allowed to blood meal?

    I will greatly appreciate your input.

  20. mpp798

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    Sat Nov 17 2012 8:02:31
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    Ross123 - 1 year ago  » 

    bed-bugscouk - 1 month ago  » 
    ...
    Therefore if you have a bedbug in your home it will not hiberant by choice unless sealed away from contact with sources of blood. This is in essence why they will follow people from room to room if you vacate infected areas. They technically could hibernate and some might do just that but soon enough the more mobile ones will follow.
    ...
    As soon as they detect food they will start to search for it and once they find it they will certainly leave traces. This is the main reason why I am so against isolating beds because you want to detect and eradicate not push back away from the sleeping area.
    David

    This is something I would like to understand better. I started to read about BB only recently and I still don't understand their behavior and will greatly appreciate any input.
    BB are attracted to their meal (our blood) by the CO2 that we exhale. To be effective, the passive monitors require no barriers to their regular activity. Does this mean we should let them access (bite) us? If I'm getting this correctly, receiving bites are not the best monitoring way because not everyone reacts and other skin reactions including bites from other critters may be confused for BB bites. If so, then I think, passive monitors may be best for prevention by early detection in places that don't have BB. But in places, like my home, where there are strong reasons to suspect BB bites, I think the first priority people will take is to protect themselves from additional bites while still trying to find out if there are BB. In our home we blocked BB access to our beds. This is in effect sealing the BB from their food. So the question is if they are not allowed to bite, will they still stay close to the inaccessible food that attracts them and die from starvation or will they give up and walk away to find accessible food?
    If they will not walk away then if I understand correctly, active monitors like BB Beacon should eliminate them all, provided BB are not allowed to blood meal?
    I will greatly appreciate your input.

    I would really like an answer to this question. Thanks.


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