What Is the White Powder Under Some of the Leaves on My Mexican Faux Orange Tree?

Mexican faux, or mock, orange (Choisya ternata) smells wonderful all year, thanks to its orange-scented, deep green leaves and perfumed summer and spring blooms. This evergreen shrub grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 10. Its troubles are several, and one of the rarest is a powdery, white bug nymph that feeds on the backs of its leaves.

The Citrophilus Mealybug

In the 1920s, the sap-draining citrophilus mealybug (Pseudococcus calceolariae) has been decimating thousands of citrus orchards. As a non-native, the pest had no natural enemies. On a detective mission to Australia, University of California biological management scientist Harold Compere found and imported two citrophilus-parasitizing wasp species. After being forced to do their work, the wasps nearly — but not entirely — eradicated the pests. While it still infests citrus trees (Citrus spp.) , citrophilus and its nymphs, or crawlers, also feed sometimes on Mexican orange. Citrus trees typically grow in USDA zones 9 through 11.

Nymphs vs. Adults

When white powder dusts the backs of its leaves, Mexican mock orange is hosting citrophilus nymphs, or crawlers. Wind, tools, clothing or animals spread the very small crawlers to the plant if no adults are present. Shortly after hatching, the crawlers start covering themselves with a protective layer of powdery, white wax. Nevertheless, they are too small to be distinguishable with no 10X magnifying lens. At about 1/16 inch long, the adult females are easier to see their heavenly, white egg sacs, they look from a distance like pieces of cotton wool.

Possible Damage

Citrophilus mealybugs weaken a Mexican mock orange by draining sap from its leaves and stalks. In addition they drench the plants at honeydew, their gooey, clear waste. Windborne sooty mould spores feeding on the honeydew cover the leaves with layers of oily, black fungus. It does not tighten the leaf tissue, but a thick coating can interfere with photosynthesis and tighten the plant much longer. The crawlers reach adulthood in two to three months, and every single adult female lays up to 500 eggs. Without rapid treatment, a couple crawlers might become a serious threat to the tree’s health.

Cultural Crawler Control

The fastest way to rid your Mexican mock orange of citrophilus crawlers is to direct a forceful blast of water from the hose in the plant until all of its surfaces drip. If infested citrus trees are nearby, the end might be making regular crawler deposits on your plant. Monitor the plants and spray as required to dislodge new infestations.

Chemical Crawler Control

The parasitic wasps (Coccophagus gurneyi, Tetracnemus pretiosus) released in the 1920s continue to maintain citrophilus in nonthreatening levels. If the crawlers need chemical treatment, ready-to-use insecticidal soap suffocates them on contact, but does not harm the wasps after it dries. When no sunlight is hitting the shrub, spray until the soap drips from either side of the leaves. Repeat every a couple of weeks, or even in the brand’s recommended period, until the infestation stops. Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, hat and protective eyewear, and follow the label instructions when spraying.

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The Way to Declutter in 21 Days

Clutter can pose a menace to your general wellness. It is those heaps of mail on the kitchen counter, heaps of toys in the living room and clothing of all sorts dangling off the banister which cause you to wish to either cry, shout or any blend of the two. By adhering to a 21-day decluttering ritual, put an end to this household menace. Spend just a little time every day to properly storing your household products and picking up, and shortly your home, and your thoughts, will be clutter-free.

Getting Started

Dedicate 2 or an hour, to decluttering the high heeled areas of your residence for seven days. Dedicate three weekends to the areas having the most clutter: the mudroom, the bedrooms and the kitchen. Save the weekend for falling items off: one day in the recycling centre and the other for visiting the donation centre to contribute goods.

Nightly Decluttering

Sort through the piles of magazines, mail and other newspapers. Save and recycle, or give the remainder, away. Books, CDs and DVDs. Ensure that the appropriate disc is at DVD containers and the proper CE. Pick up and wash any blankets and keep them in rolled bundles in large, sealable plastic bags. Keep these available and use the nicer blankets for the more ugly blankets along with overnight guests to use when the children or you get sick. Have your children put the toys away every day, that they use. Get in the habit of washing dishes and putting the dishes away as well as the ingredients used to make supper.

First Weekend

Start in the mudroom, or entryway, of your house. Have every member of the household attempt on shoes, and at a bin, place the kid shoes which no longer match to spare for children. Throw out shoes or shoes which a cobbler can’t fix. Try on the rest of the items at the mudroom. If you are keeping themwash them and put them in the closet. Organize unique items and place in other containers that are labeled or bins. Organize hats, shoes and gloves by place and household member in bins or other storage containers. Assess umbrellas for broken bits or rips in the fabric, and put umbrellas that are intact inside their storage container that is labeled.

Second Weekend

Proceed to the bedrooms. Wash and put away any clothes that has been either on the floor or at the hampers. Examine the clothes and contribute anything. Have children determine what can be kept, given or thrown out and try on their clothes. Store any accessories, like jewelry or scarves. Organize the children’s desks in addition to all the bureaus’ tops. Have the children arrange their toys along with their rooms. Bring all of the toys for their own bedrooms and place them in the suitable storage bins. Donate outgrown toys which no other children in the house can use and correctly dispose of broken toys.

Third Weekend

Tackle the kitchen during the previous period of your procedure. Clean out the cabinets and drawers you at a time, if you will use these products and assess. Carefully restock and put everything at a bin of items to be donated. Close to the end of the 21-day period, take inventory of what remains. If your space is not quite as minimal as you would like, challenge yourself to ditch all of the items you can live without into bag or a garbage bin and then evaluate what should get thrown out and what can be donated.

Going Forward

Produce a decluttering schedule which work best for your family and you. Set aside per week for reading and sorting mail. Mandate that items must be performed like hanging up coats and putting shoes in the appropriate bins.

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How to Keep Kitchen Dish Towels From Falling Off a Stove Handle

At the kitchen, only a few things are more annoying than a clean dish towel that keeps falling in the cooker handle onto the dirty ground. However, after applying even the most novice sewing skills, it is possible to fix the problem once and forever. And after you get good at it, it is possible to make gifts for people or carry your creations to another flea market to sell.

Extra-Large Buttonhole

Approximately 1 to 2 inches down, centered in the cover of the towel, sew a supplementary buttonhole about 3 inches long. Newer sewing machines have the buttonhole feature built in today. After sewing the buttonhole, cut between the stitches with a utility knife to start it up. Remove scraggly threads and discard. Insert the dish towel behind the stove handle together with the extra-large buttonhole on top, pulling it downward to ensure that it passes the cooker handle. Thread the bottom of the dish towel through the buttonhole and pull it taut. The dish towel stays in place.

All Buttoned Up

You can even sew a knitted contrasting cloth on the cover of the towel with a pointed end and a buttonhole within it. Sew a button on the contrasting fabric to attach the dish towel into the stove handle. Thread the tilted end using the buttonhole inside it through the stove handle; pull it over and slide the button through it. The dish towel won’t come off until you unbutton it.

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Green and Modern at Pennsylvania

Lee and Amy Calisti’s Contemporary home perches in the clearing of a Coastal cul-de-sac in the Early Academy Hill Area of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Clad in a geometric orchestration of brick, glass, concrete and steel, the home strikes a balance of harmonious, refreshing and functional. “Eliminating the excess was a sustainable and also a visual target,” says Lee.

Lee, who is an architect, called his home House 6, and it represents his ongoing interest in contemporary, environmentally conscious single-family home design that’s also affordable. He says, “My home is my family’s refuge, my business card and my doctrine of home in a neat package.”

in a Glance
Who lives here: Lee and Amy Calisti and boy Noah
Location: Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Size: 2,217 square feet; 3 bedrooms; 3 baths
That is intriguing: The building site was formerly undeveloped; no virgin land was disturbed to build the house.

Adrienne DeRosa

“From picking a building site to selecting materials to be used in the home, sustainability without excess expense was the goal of designing my family home,” says Lee. The south-facing rear allows for continuous sunlight through the day, saving on energy and heating prices throughout the year. Balconies away from the living room and master bedroom offer a place to take from the hilltop view.

Minimal glass onto the western side of the house celebrates the materials of the exterior and keeps the effects of harsh winter storms. The exterior materials include a combination of brick, Galvalume out of Atas, flat-seam metal panels and split-face concrete block.

Adrienne DeRosa

The exterior of House 6 exudes a clean design aesthetic also found throughout the inside. Lee designed the steel mailbox and had it constructed by a local fabricator.

Door: Low thermal-emissivity glass, Pella

Adrienne DeRosa

Light from large south-facing windows and doors illuminates the living space, reducing the demand for artificial lighting during the daytime. This complements Lee’s plan for cost effective living and also creates a warm glow that softens the house’s modern geometry.

All living room seating: La-Z-Boy

Adrienne DeRosa

The spacious living area is Lee’s and Amy’s favorite spot in the house. “Even when we have family and friends over, everybody can still feel together, even if they are spread throughout the kitchen, dining and living rooms,” says Amy.

Adrienne DeRosa

Massive windows welcome in views of the outside. Most of the kitchen storage sits below the counter line, making an expansive feeling that opens up the northeast corner of the house.

All windows: non thermal-emissivity glass, Pella.

Adrienne DeRosa

The spacious kitchen features stainless steel appliances and custom-made maple wood cabinetry with Andredas Kitchens. The Bosch stove and dishwasher are Energy Star compliant, and the floor is Forbo by Marmoleum, a natural linoleum material. Magnetic jars over the range offer convenient access to spices.

Adrienne DeRosa

The couple decided a warm main color palette for the primary living areas. “Amy suggested all the color ranges, and also we have large samples to hang on the walls in the space during construction,” Lee says. “Several decades later, we enjoy them just as much.”

Adrienne DeRosa

A blouse by 10-year-old boy Noah adds a personal touch, infusing the space with warmth of the heart and hand.

Adrienne DeRosa

“We both share a passion for clean and simple furnishings that feel comfortable also,” Amy says of this couple’s decorating philosophy. Symmetrical arrangements throughout the home, as seen here from the living area, play the asymmetry of the windows, lending rhythm to the space. The interplay between soft and hard, sleek and textural, and contemporary and traditional appears throughout the home. Lee says, “My wife keeps me grounded and real. She adds a balance to the kind of our home.”

Adrienne DeRosa

The guest bath has a stainless steel bowl sink plus a mirror that is floating, which Lee designed utilizing a simple glass and wood plank.

Adrienne DeRosa

The warm color scheme of this first floor carries through to the upstairs. The washer and dryer are tucked away on the right behind triple-paneled doors.

Paint: Hubbard Squash and Rookwood Terra Cotta, Sherwin-Williams

Adrienne DeRosa

The master bedroom includes a refreshing and cool color palette. Lee designed a lengthy window over the headboard so they could see the sunrise every morning. An Ikea color installed onto a sliding path covers a different window for privacy. The color is left open throughout the day and acts as a contemporary tapestry, introducing pattern involving the area’s geometry.

Paint: Icelandic, Sherwin Williams; Chair cloth: Jo-Ann; rocking seat: Ikea

Adrienne DeRosa

Lee is a minimalist in mind and designed the master bedroom closets to conceal garments and dressers. The Shaker-style cupboard doors by Alno Inc. have simple railings and recessed panels, paired with contemporary stainless pulls. Lee used the exact same drawer and pull styles throughout the house.

Adrienne DeRosa

Striped walls and boyhood collections provide Noah’s room a youthful allure. “We felt it was important for Noah to have a place of his own, so we let him choose how to decorate it,” says Lee. “He wanted stripes, thus we painted stripes.”

Adrienne DeRosa

Lee and Amy’s next home projects include installing built in storage and stone countertops, and finishing the basement as a playroom for Noah.

More Tours:
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An Aussie Home Mingles With Nature

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What to Do About Ants & White Stuff On My Poinsettia Plant

As perennials, poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) brighten late-season Mediterranean-climate gardens in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. In colder areas, they’ve become fundamentals of indoor winter decorating schemes. Thus a mysterious white material and streams of ants covering your poinsettia’s flame-red bracts and pine-green leaves are nothing if not alarming. The prisoners accountable are messy, sap-stealing insects. Without quick therapy, they might doom your own plant.

Fulfill the Mealybugs

As tender-stemmed plants, poinsettias are favorite feeding sites for pink hibiscus mealybugs. The pinkish insects conceal themselves under a protective layer of wax. As a result of the wax and their heavenly white egg sacs, the mealybugs resemble bits of cotton fluff scattered over the poinsettia’s leaves and stalks. Adult mealybugs overwinter on poinsettia leaves and stalks or in the soil around the plants. Their newly hatched larvae crawl out of the egg sacs to start feeding. Breeze and ants also carry them to new locations.

Detect the Damage

The mealybugs feed by sucking the sap leaf and stems. In the process, they also inject toxic, leaf-curling saliva. Twisted stems, stunted development and failure to blossom all point to their presence, and a badly infested poinsettia may die. The insects have another annoying habit: They excrete undigested sap as sticky, transparent honeydew, a sugary waste which lures hungry ants to the plant.

Annihilate the Ants

Ants are voracious honeydew feeders, and you’re going to have them on your own poinsettia so long as your plant has mealybugs. To control the ants, place sugar-based, boric-acid-laced ant bets along the ant trails leading to your plant. When they come to collect the honeydew, some of the ants may also transport the lure back to their nests, in which it can slowly poison the entire colony. It may be more than a month before your poinsettia is free of their ants.

Ax Them With Alcohol

While awaiting the ants to evaporate, combine your baiting campaigns using a direct assault to the mealybugs. Chemical insecticides do not penetrate the insects’ wax covering. To do the task, spray on your poinsettia till it drips with a solution of 1 quart of water, 1 cup of rubbing alcohol and one tsp of insecticidal soap concentration. The alcohol dissolves the adult bugs’ waxy coating so they die, and the insecticidal soap suffocates the larva and eggs. Duplicate the application daily or every other day till the mealybugs are eliminated.

Wash Them Away

Pink hibiscus mealybugs are capable of reproducing several times per year. After you’ve eliminated an infestation, then track your poinsettia frequently. At the very first indication of a new infestation, then place your garden hose attachment to fine and also direct the spray to the backs of their leaves and the stems. For optimum effectiveness, spray in the early morning for 2 consecutive days.

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What Pepper Can You Put on Seed So Squirrels won't Eat It?

The fruit sometimes referred to as bird pepper (Capsicum annuum L.), that is a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9b during 11, is harmless to birds, but it can pack a mean punch for marauding squirrels at bird feeders. If you want to put squirrels from the hot seat in your feeders, combine ground varieties of bird pepper with the seeds.

How it Works

Bird pepper is only one of the ordinary names of numerous peppers from the Capsicum genus. These peppers range in pungency because of varying levels of capsaicinoids, primarily capsaicin. Paprika contains capsaicinoid speeds up to 30 parts per thousand, while some red peppers have concentrations of 13,000 parts per thousand. Cayenne pepper, which is commonly used as a squirrel deterrent, is ground from a mixture of some of the very pungent varieties.Mammals, such as people and squirrels, have brain receptors that react to the capsaicinoids in onions with a sense of burning. But because birds lack these receptors, as well as having no sense of taste, they’re unaffected.

How to Apply It

Scatter ground cayenne or dried red pepper flakes onto birdseed and blend it into the seeds. If the wind is strong enough, however, it may blow the ground pepper from the feeder. Optionally, spray the bird seed with an aerosol kitchen oil product, or use a non-aerosol mister to use the oil, prior to applying the pepper so that it clings to the seeds. But rain may wash pepper from the seeds even in the event that you’ve implemented oil, and that means you have to continue adding pepper into the seeds to deter the squirrels.

Feeding Habits

If you notice an inordinate number of seeds lost from your bird feeder compared to the number of squirrels you begin eating there, chalk this up into the squirrels’ hoarding behaviour. Squirrels eat some of the seeds, however they also cache seeds and other foods to have a winter food supply. Squirrel activity in your feeders can ramp up from the autumn because it is the time of year they actively shop food for the winter.


Should you employ ground pepper into bird seed, avoid breathing in the powder. And if you handle pepper powder or fluids, wash your hands with soap and water immediately afterward, or wear gloves so that you do not forget and rub your eyes. Because squirrels have broken their eyes from rubbing them after managing hot pepper, The University of Nebraska Lincoln urges other deterrents for squirrels, primarily using exclusion feeders, which permit the birds in but keep the squirrels out. Kinds of exclusion feeders include people who have cages, baffles and weighted hoppers.

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How to Eradicate Speedwell at Lawns

Speedwell (Veronica species) is a low-growing plant which produces blue flowers and propagates easily from small root sections, making it a challenging weed to eradicate. Several annual and perennial species are indigenous to the United States and a few are advertised as border plants. Speedwell creates numerous slender branches which spread and root immediately creating a carpet. Pest species of speedwell are resistant to herbicides because of hairs. A couple of herbicides may offer some control although careful removal is the best method of eradication.

Locate speedwell plants. Glasses, dig the whole plant with a shovel or garden trowel, eliminating 6 inches of dirt away from the base of the plant. Eliminate and any broken stem sections and set them in a garbage bag for disposal.

Mix in the sprayer according to label instructions and spray on some remaining plants. To get a heavy infestation areas of the lawn may be sprayed and replanted.

Till heavily infested areas with a rototiller and rake remaining pieces of their speedwell from the area. This method works best for places on the fringes of lawns or gardens and have to be repeated several days to get rid of the plants. Herbicide applications in conjunction with rototilling can prove successful.

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How to Tile a Shower Inexpensively

Tile showers provide your bathroom a more sophisticated look than prefabricated vinyl shower liners. Tiling a shower doesn’t need to be pricey. Use faux tiles, inexpensive tile alternatives and even some unconventional alternatives to get the look you need without breaking your bank account.

Sales and Bargains

Check with the local floor covering store for leftover tiles that have been returned, declined by the customer or left over from tasks they’ve done. Also ask about discount and clearance tiles. Just like with clothing, tile producers update the styles they offer and occasionally sell products at a deep discount. Mixing and matching odd boxes of leftover tiles using an aesthetic strategy could lend your shower a new look. Be creative with all the inexpensive choices that are available to you.

Recycled Glass

Recycle old glass to fresh shower tiles. Take the pieces cut as small or as big as you pick. Wearing protective gloves, clean the glass well, sand any sharp or rough edges and paint the back side using a layout, if you opt for. Once the paint has dried, glue the panes into the wall and seal in between any borders using a waterproof silicone. Recycled glass is inexpensive, unique and offers hassle-free clean up. Glass is also resistant to the mold and stains that mar standard shower grout and tiles.

Out With the Old

Save money on labor by taking away the old tiles from the wall and floor yourself. Removal and cleanup can take a few hours; this task is billed by installers at their regular hourly rate, even when they are only sweeping the ground, and may add up to a few hundred dollars before installment ever gets started. Eliminating installing and tiles and preparing the walls, while dull, can readily be carried out by even a house repair newcomer.

Install Yourself

For the most significant economies, do the installation yourself. Figuring out the tiles, setting them into the wall and grouting around them is a technique that may be discovered in a short moment. Tile installation’s largest challenge is cutting the corner and finish tiles. This can be done using a distinctive wet saw that you may rent at the local hardware store. The price for the tool for an entire day’s usage is about the same as approximately 1 half hour of installation labor.

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Home Improvement Ideas for Adding on a Family Room

Insert a family room to your house to help your family and you can spend quality time at a serene and relaxing atmosphere. Reclaiming or creating the space for a household room can also help you increase your home’s value. According to”Remodeling” magazine 2009 to 2010 Cost vs. Value Report, including a family room to your house will cost you, normally, $82,760 and raise the value of your house by $54,050. This means that you may recover 65 percent of the money that you invest in a room dedicated to the pleasure of your family.

Mulitpurpose Family Room

Layout. In the end, this is an inclusion, which means you’ve got a blank canvas to work with. Plan for lots of shelves and cabinets to store your growing collection of grandma’s china collection, board games and books. Use sectional sofas they can be moved around based on what use you’re giving the family room. By installing a office area at one of the corners of the 21, Make the most of the functionality of your family room. A small desk, a comfy seat and a computer are all you need to create a snug house office close where you can be near your loved ones.

Outdoor Family Room Addition

Start from scratch by minding a 16-by-25-foot room, indicates”Remodeling” magazine. Use vinyl siding a crawl space foundation and a fiberglass rook to keep prices down. Install gutters interiors and fiberglass insulation in addition to a hardwood flooring that is homey. Contain when everything you need to do is read a book, two skylights and some large windows to take advantage of lighting. Subscribe to your home’s electrical, heating and air-conditioning systems. All of the gadgets your family and install a house theater loves, and you’ve got a purpose-made entertainment area for all of the family.

Family Room Basement Remodel

You can create a family room by reclaiming the distance currently squandering away below your toes In case you’ve got a basement. Drywall walls — make sure you insulate exterior walls — and ceiling through the cellar. Keep things simple by repairing panel doorways and using painted drywall panels. Contain a full bath, a bar area with a small refrigerator and cabinets, a area with lots of space to your favorite reclining seat, couch, flat-screen TV and gaming console.

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Along with the Community Award Goes to … a 'Zen Barn'

The professional couple who lives in this Ottawa, Ontario, house calls their house a “Zen barn” for the rustic reclaimed hardwood exterior and chic design. Rich textures inside and outside warm up the modern appearance, and natural light flows into the home from all directions. “The stairwell, courtyard and second-floor deck over the dining area all let the interior space sense interconnected to the outdoors,” says designer Rick Shean, of the Ottawa company Christopher Simmonds Architect. Although this is an unabashedly contemporary design, neighbors adopted it, helping to win an award for the best new construct in the area in October 2012.

at a Glance
Location: New Edinburgh, Ottawa, Ontario
Size: 3,100 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms

Christopher Simmonds Architect

Christopher Simmonds Architect

One of the reasons Shean thinks the home delighted so many of his clients’ neighbors is your structure’s size. “It’s not a monstrosity of a house. The size is pretty consistent with the rest of the area, and its outside is warm and inviting,” he says. Functional yet decorative red bell lights from Axo Light add to the home’s curb appeal.

Lights: Alteriors

Christopher Simmonds Architect

“This home is as much about organic light and artistic, functional light since it is about the home’s design,” Shean says. “Light moves through the construction and changes the distance in reaction to the textures across the interior and exterior.”

Christopher Simmonds Architect

Shean used century-old reclaimed white oak from southwestern Ontario, as well as prefinished aluminum in some areas. “Studies show that this wood will lose around a quarter of an inch in depth every 100 years, so even though it’s 100 years old now, it has quite a few years to go before it needs to be replaced,” he says. The oak came from a local store, The Wood Source.

Christopher Simmonds Architect

Floating cabinets store items and include geometric interest. Book spines, a floral floral arrangement and the bell pendant give this part of the home a couple of unexpected doses of colour.

Floating cabinets: custom by CSA; live-edge table: Urban Tree Salvage

Metal bracelets by Tom Dixon hanging over the kitchen island follow the duration of the courtyard. Double-glazed Marvin windows help keep the warmth indoors.

The floor is a lightweight concrete having an epoxy topping, an elegant low-maintenance choice that resists scuffs and shoe marks. This component of the home makes the most of the available all-natural light, even in the very long Canadian winters.

Christopher Simmonds Architect

Ash wood treads warm up the metal stairs. Radiant floor heating keeps feet toasty on all levels of the home.

A number of wood textures and tones provides the room a cozy character and contrasts nicely with the stark white of the walls, flooring and ceiling.

Christopher Simmonds Architect

“My client known as the home a work of art when he noticed that the reclaimed wood siding move up,” Shean says. “It’s probably one of the greatest compliments a designer can get from his client.”

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