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Human Bait: The "Isolate The Bed" Debate

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  1. bedbuggio the wise

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 5 2011 17:05:05
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    So, here I am, 48 hours into this, and I'm reading over the "Isolate the Bed" FAQ.

    Apparently there are PCOs that don't want you to isolate? So that you draw the bugs to the poison.

    No way, no how can I do this unless I can go to bed in the reasonable hope that I won't be bit.

    I'm willing to do everything possible to sterilize and isolate, then take my chances with a bite or two, but if I get bit or see any bug signs, I'm doing the whole thing over again.

    No freakin way can I go to sleep knowing those things are going to crawl all over me. I will literally move out of this apartment and just leave everything in it before I do that.

    What say you people? Do you do the "human bait" thing? (Which I guess would be "protect but not isolate", I'm still not sure of the ins and outs.

    I was going to stay at home tonight, I was all prepared to take the wooden futon frame apart, kill all bugs, encase the mattress and put the climbups on the legs.

    Now re-reading the FAQ, I see that they don't want you to do this until you've spoken to the PCO...which I can't do until I notify my landlord....which I can't do until tomorrow at the earliest.

    So back to the hotel and if this causes the bugs to go dormant or spread, so be it.,

    I'd rather fight them for a year and sleep free of bites, than spend one night with those little horrors crawling all over me.

  2. EffeCi

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 5 2011 17:34:28
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    Apparently there are PCOs that don't want you to isolate?

    Not so "apparently"... simply there is more than a school of thought in fighting BBs...

    So back to the hotel and if this causes the bugs to go dormant or spread, so be it.,

    BBs don't do that in a single night, so don't worry about it....

  3. bedbuggio the wise

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 5 2011 17:49:19
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    EffeCi - 12 minutes ago  » 

    Apparently there are PCOs that don't want you to isolate?

    Not so "apparently"... simply there is more than a school of thought in fighting BBs...
    So back to the hotel and if this causes the bugs to go dormant or spread, so be it.,

    BBs don't do that in a single night, so don't worry about it....

    That's good to know...I was a little bit worried.

    Any PCO proposing a scheme whereby I serve as human vampire bait will be invited to do an about-face and take himself off the premises directly, never to darken my door again! The "debate" is settled in this house.

  4. EffeCi

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 5 2011 18:22:56
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    Any PCO proposing a scheme whereby I serve as human vampire bait will be invited to do an about-face and take himself off the premises directly, never to darken my door again! The "debate" is settled in this house.

    Lol...I forgot to mention that I'm a strictly follower of "not isolate, not encase, not caulk" (to quote my "master" David Cain) but, again, don't worry, I live and work in Italy...

  5. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 5 2011 19:39:08
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    Full disclosure: I had heat treatment, so other than the period of time during which I was waiting for the treatment, I didn't have to act as bait.

    Personally, I'm with bedbuggio the wise on this; the thought of knowingly having to be bait for vermin does not sit well with me. (I had insomnia before the bugs; I still have insomnia now. I'm sure that that fact adds a level of difficulty to my pre-existing ew factor at the prospect.

    That said, it's also clear to me that some people are just not that grossed out by it. I mean, for every story we hear on the boards here about someone who is completely skeeved out at the prospect of being bait, we hear another story of someone who's got a significant other, or friend, or neighbor who is so on the other end of the scale that the person is kind of okay with having the bugs there in the first place.

    I know that when we're talking about debates within a field, passions can run high.

    I would hope that PCOs who aren't fans of one method or the other could, when confronted with a client who for any number of reasons, can't realistically do the method preferred by the PCO either work with that client or refer other PCOs who might take a different approach.

    Over time, and given my personal circumstances, I've come to be less enamored of encasements.

    If I'd had to go the chemical/dust/steam route, I'm sure I would be a bigger fan of them.

    But because I had heat treatment, and because the items that couldn't be in the structure during treatment had to come back into the apartment, and because I went through a whole other wave of epic panic that the bugs were going to be back then, and because I have a cat who cannot be shut out of the bedroom, I, personally, wouldn't want to have to encase my bed.

    For me, there are too many opportunities for the encasement to enclose a bug that could lower its metabolism and then get set free--by a careless cat claw or a broken zipper--months later *after* the warranty period was over.

    However, I am totally aware of the fact that my feelings on this have likely been very strongly influenced by the fact that I had access to a one shot treatment that was successful, and so, for me, other than the initial period between discovery and that one day treatment, the most anxiety-producing parts of the whole ordeal were the moments of "OMG, what if I get reinfested." Those facts absolutely color my feelings on the subject.

    If I could wave a magic wand, I'd want public policy that would mandate landlords to give tenants options so that tenants with specific circumstances (like anxiety issues or deadlines at work) would legally have the option to pay out of pocket the difference in cost between the landlord's preference and the tenant's preference to treat. Thus, let's say chemical costs $400. The landlord wants chemical. Heat costs $900. If the tenant was willing to pay the $500, the tenant gets heat for $500 and the landlord pays the first $400.

    Alas, we can't even get basic laws that require landlords to treat effectively, so that's not going to happen.

    And I know this is a rambling post (from me? really? shocking.), but I guess what i'm trying to say is this:

    I completely get where bedbuggio the wise is coming from. I don't know how good I'd be at being bait for weeks either. I could force myself through a few nights, but weeks? Oh frell no.

    I also think good PCOs understand that different people have different thresholds for what they can and can't take. I suspect most good ones can work within the constraints of what the client can and can't do. PCOs who are dealing with clients who are pregnant or chemically sensitive do have methods they can use. As client, though, we need to be aware that there are often trade offs. Methods with fewer chemicals often cost more because they are more labor and/or resource intensive. Clients who can't bear to be bait can still get treated, but treatment may play out differently--I would guess.

  6. EffeCi

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 4:39:08
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    Treatments made with insecticides take days to kill BBs, and have no effects on their eggs. That means that, after a treatment, you'll still have many BBs (survivors, newsborns, poisoned but still alive ones) biting you or trying to do that...
    So you need to isolate the bed, in order to avoid teens of bites in pauses between treatments.
    But isolating the bed tend to shift the conflict in areas and places that are more hard to treat. That turns war into guerrilla warfare, and BBs are natural born guerrillas.

    The Australian/USA method has its sense, but is an higly integrated one. I'm a strong fan of integrated methods for other "normal" pests, but not for BBs.
    If you make mistakes in integrated management of other pests, you simply have to apply corrections.
    If you're dealing with BBs, every error will make things go worst.
    IPM for BBs is a sort of big castle of cards: if you miss a card at its base or steal one from a row, it will collapse and you'll have to built it again...

    My way of working (substantially based on David's one but I don't use chemicals) is completely different.
    I search and destroy them where they are with a flush of superheated dry steam at 180°C that kills adults, nymphs and even eggs in a split second.
    At the end of my first treatment there are a few survivors and/or live eggs in the room, and they're generally hidden out of the infested area, or in really hard to treat places.
    No problem... during the pause before the second treatment, survivors and/or newsborns will head to the bed or closely to it and make there their new harbourages.
    The "human bait" will (evenctually) have only a few bites during the pause(s), simply because there's a few live BBs around...
    In my second visit I'll (hopely) kill them all.
    Number of treatments depends from infestation level and pattern, environmental situation, clutter, customer's collaboration, etc.. but it's seldom more than three for apartment rooms (generally two) or more than two for hotel rooms (and the second is often a safety one).

  7. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 6:36:46
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    Hi EffeCi,

    Thanks for the comments, you have put it all better than I could.

    I will have to send you an invite for our Tiffin & Son list of the best of the best bedbug exterminators.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    I am happy to answer questions in public but will not reply to message sent directly or via my company / social media. I am here to help everyone and not just one case at a time.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC 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 pro
  8. EffeCi

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 8:03:30
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    Thanks for the comments, you have put it all better than I could.

    Lol.. that really sounds amazing....

    Don't say thanks to me... I have to be grateful to you for the different BBs approach you gave me in last two years.

  9. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 8:18:52
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    Bedbuggio,

    (Check your PM's, private mail section, for certain practical aspects.)

    If you need someone who is emphatically in your camp, I'm it.

    In my view we must NEVER "let" bugs feed on us when there's anything we could possibly do – i.e. isolating our bed, everything in our living space insofar as possible, and ourselves from them – to prevent it.

    See for instance the comment by nobugsonme (who knows I have used this example before) at http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/success-with-skin-repellents-please-vote#post-97248 :

    > I would recommend leaving parts you
    > prefer to have bitten free: calves, feet for me
    > are better spots than the face and hands.

    In future I believe we will categorically rescind any advice of this nature.

    There are too many urgent contrary indications.

    If you "let" bed bugs feed on you:

    (1) you're nurturing them, supporting them, making them feel very, very happy, and helping them be strong and robust so when you then apply heat/steam/fumigation/chemicals/etc. they're more likely to survive;

    (2) via the nourishment you're bestowing, you're helping them fend off any bacteria, fungi, other natural enemies, and/or environmental challenges they might run up against which otherwise might decimate them;

    (3) you're enabling them to molt to the next stage i.e. grow larger and stronger and faster-moving which they can't do if they don't feed;

    (4) if they're already fifth-stage then you're enabling them to reach adulthood i.e. become sexually mature and now begin reproducing for the first time in their lives; and

    (5) if they're adult females you're enabling them to lay their next batches of eggs, probably 10-20 eggs with each feeding (entomologists would be able to advise whether that number is about right).

    jrbtnyc

  10. bedbuggio the wise

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 8:31:49
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    EffeCi - 14 hours ago  » 

    Any PCO proposing a scheme whereby I serve as human vampire bait will be invited to do an about-face and take himself off the premises directly, never to darken my door again! The "debate" is settled in this house.

    Lol...I forgot to mention that I'm a strictly follower of "not isolate, not encase, not caulk" (to quote my "master" David Cain) but, again, don't worry, I live and work in Italy...

    I'm simply not capable of doing it, psychologically. That's a "cure is worse than the disease" type of thing. I'll move out before I lie in my bed with no protection.

  11. bedbuggio the wise

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 8:37:16
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    buggyinsocal - 12 hours ago  » 
    I mean, for every story we hear on the boards here about someone who is completely skeeved out at the prospect of being bait, we hear another story of someone who's got a significant other, or friend, or neighbor who is so on the other end of the scale that the person is kind of okay with having the bugs there in the first place.

    Something must have happened to me in the ten years since I had bugs last.

    Back then, I just slept on the sofa (blissfully unaware that they follow you). My girl moved out and I was alone there with my respirator and Delta Dust, trying to fight them. I also wasn't sensitive to the bites. I may have been getting bitten on the sofa, but I didn't see them and didn't feel them, and was basically OK.

    Now it's totally different. The very thought of sleeping in this apartment at all skeeves me out. Even with full bed isolation, I'm going to be insomniacal. No protection? No way.

  12. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 9:08:31
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    Hi,

    The reality is that to isolate you extend the suffering that you must endure by weeks and maybe months.

    I appreciate it is unpleasant but the role of professionals like EffeCi and my team is to ensure that this suffering is reduced as much as possible and that the time frame to being clear is as short as possible.

    This paradigm shift in how we approach the issue comes from years of field observations and testing different approaches to see what ultimately works best.

    I appreciate that your priority is to reduce the number of bites you en dour but the cost of that will most likely be that you have bedbugs for a longer period of time.

    Ultimately however the first battle line is drawn up on the grounds of education to avoid and then early detection. While we still continue to battle in a reactive fashion we will continue to be too late to the party.

    David

  13. EffeCi

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 11:44:29
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    jrbtnyc - 2 hours ago  » 
    If you "let" bed bugs feed on you:
    (1) you're nurturing them, supporting them, making them feel very, very happy, and helping them be strong and robust so when you then apply heat/steam/fumigation/chemicals/etc. they're more likely to survive;

    That's not true. Heat and steam kill them the same way, doesn't matter if they're happy or not. It's called "protein's denaturation". It's not proven that insecticide have less effectiveness on "happy" BBs.

    (2) via the nourishment you're bestowing, you're helping them fend off any bacteria, fungi, other natural enemies, and/or environmental challenges they might run up against which otherwise might decimate them;

    Bacteria and fungi are parasites, so don't care if a BBs is nourished or not. The same for natural enemies (predators).

    (3) you're enabling them to molt to the next stage i.e. grow larger and stronger and faster-moving which they can't do if they don't feed;

    Are you so sure about that? Hungry BBs tend to move more and faster than fed ones...
    And a big, strong BBs is easier to see.

    (4) if they're already fifth-stage then you're enabling them to reach adulthood i.e. become sexually mature and now begin reproducing for the first time in their lives;

    So what? I don't give them the time to reproduce and, in any case, I'll kill new eggs and newsborns in the second treatment.

    (5) if they're adult females you're enabling them to lay their next batches of eggs, probably 10-20 eggs with each feeding (entomologists would be able to advise whether that number is about right).

    Again: so what?

    It seems that you've read a lot about BBs, but without digesting the infos enough to discuss or suggest a strategy. No offenses, but I guess you lack the necessary, massive field experience...

  14. 10111

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 11:54:37
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    From what I can tell both EffeCi and bed-bugscouk are very efficient when it comes to killing bed bugs. What about a PCO that does not do that, but merely sprays pyrethroids? I would feel okay with not isolating the bed if someone like EffeCi, bed-bugscouk, or KillerQueen were to treat our apartment, but instead we have a PCO who just sprays and sprays without any real inspection. Does that change the equation? (And yes, I would give anything to use a different PCO, but our landlord is making us!)

  15. EffeCi

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 12:01:28
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    but instead we have a PCO who just sprays and sprays without any real inspection. Does that change the equation?

    This "school of thought" is called "spray and prey". Yuck...

  16. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 12:13:32
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    EffeCi - 8 minutes ago  » 

    but instead we have a PCO who just sprays and sprays without any real inspection. Does that change the equation?

    This "school of thought" is called "spray and prey". Yuck...

    I hear they even have universities to teach this process in America.

    I appreciate that you cant always have a EffeCi, KQ or one of my team local to you but educating your PCO is something we can all do. If you are the one purchasing the service shop around and ask people for details of what they do and how they work.

    If you cant do that then educate your landlord , managing agents or building team.

    Its only through requests for higher levels of service and professionalism will the industry wake up and move away from wiffle bagging and band aid spray and prey approaches.

    David

  17. EffeCi

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 13:30:04
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    I hear they even have universities to teach this process in America.

    In Italy that's worst, they have churchs... lol
    (just kidding, and I have actually at least 4 fans of my strategy, but "spray & pray" is still really a sort of religion here...)

  18. so unsettling

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 14:05:11
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    We are always bait, no matter where we are, if there are bedbugs in our homes. If they can't get at you in one place, they will find you in another. So the real issue is whether it matters to you where are when you serve as bait. From what you have written, you can't stand to be bait in the bed while sleeping, and many feel the same way.

    I encased primarily to save my mattress and box spring, which were fairly new at the time. I know that they can still get ON the bed in a number of ways, and from there they can harbor in the frame or headboard. It is impossible to completely isolate ourselves from these creatures no matter what we do, but we can isolate the bed and spring. That is all that the encasements are about--protecting the bed and mattress, not us. The climbups yield evidence and prevent bugs from entering the bed from the floor, but they can still get in there.

    The ideal would be to do what the experts suggest--leave everything wide open: no caulking, no encasing, no isolating. Then get a PCO who can do a real treatment that will kill off the bugs. Unfortunately, that isn't the reality for many of us, and the psychological factors involved are as important as the technical-logical-idealist ones. Do what you have to do to remain sane and keep studying and finding ways to GRADUALLY see the end of these bugs. There is no quick, perfect fix for most people; it's something people have to live with for a while, maybe quite a while. Good luck.

  19. 10111

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 14:09:00
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    bed-bugscouk - 1 hour ago  » 

    EffeCi - 8 minutes ago  » 

    but instead we have a PCO who just sprays and sprays without any real inspection. Does that change the equation?

    This "school of thought" is called "spray and prey". Yuck...

    I hear they even have universities to teach this process in America.
    I appreciate that you cant always have a EffeCi, KQ or one of my team local to you but educating your PCO is something we can all do. If you are the one purchasing the service shop around and ask people for details of what they do and how they work.
    If you cant do that then educate your landlord , managing agents or building team.
    Its only through requests for higher levels of service and professionalism will the industry wake up and move away from wiffle bagging and band aid spray and prey approaches.
    David

    I wish it were that simple. I just got off the phone with our landlord who refuses to believe that anything more than spraying pyrethroids is "overkill" and unnecessary. He won't even let the PCO come and put Delta Dust in the outlets and floor voids. It drives me crazy, but he won't listen to us, and apparently not even PCOs.

  20. EffeCi

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 14:13:59
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    Don't know how it works in USA, but in Italy is the PCO that determines necessary remedies and therapy, not the landlord...

  21. 10111

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 14:57:33
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    The best part is that when told that I found a live bug he said "well one bug in one month, that's not too bad."

  22. EffeCi

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 15:00:09
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    "well one bug in one month, that's not too bad."

    Sounds likehe's a BB-lover... put next in his pocket, I'm sure he will enjoy it...

  23. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 15:12:41
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    I have to agree with EffeCi it's the pest professional who should determine the treatment strategy but I would also caution against assuming more chemicals and automatic steps makes for a better service. I have never "dusted" an outlet and am unlikely to start anytime soon.

    I also say to my techs that to go in with a protocol in mind before you have inspected is step 1 of a sure fire failure waiting to happen.

    David

  24. Zilver

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    Mon Jun 6 2011 18:31:59
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    EffeCi - 4 hours ago  » 
    Don't know how it works in USA, but in Italy is the PCO that determines necessary remedies and therapy, not the landlord...

    Same with Sweden sort of I guess, but here I think it is more of a case that the bigger or more serious and aware housingcompanies/landlords have a contract running with some of the major pestcontrolcompanies.
    We have a few big ines, and my impression is these are sort of dominating the market! If it is a good or bad thing I´m not sure of. Of course they have the money and the power which makes it hard to compete even if you do a great job.
    Still, on the other hand, the money and the stability in these companies I guess hopefully makes them able to have people looking up on latest news, research etc so the can stay tuned with new info and improve their methods.

    At least I hope it´s the case. Still the best thing is you know that the landlords is the one that pay for treatment through insurance etc, and since it´s an established company you know few landlords will question their methods and they can do it their way, which hopefully is a good way!

    Can also say that I pointed out this forum to the PCO I had from one of these big companies, and he was very nice and humble, appreciating the thoughts and question I had based on reading here. Was kind of nice I think


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