Guano-Gro
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ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

Any ideas? :wink:

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Kisal
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Make sure there is no standing water on your property, and talk to your neighbors about the subject. Although some species fly only a few blocks from their breeding sites, others fly many miles.

Even a tiny bit of water is enough to allow mosquitoes to breed. Items such as pet water dishes and bird baths should be emptied, cleaned and refilled every day or two. Water should not be allowed to stand in plant saucers or in children's toys that are left around the yard. Fish can be released in ponds to eat mosquito larvae. (The Mosquito Darter is well known for this purpose, and is sometimes available free from local sources. I just use feeder goldfish.)

Encourage bats and birds to frequent your garden by hanging bat houses and bird houses nearby.

There are many herbs that are said to repel mosquitoes.
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syntheticbutterfly
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I get bitten horrifically by mozzies(at one point last year I counted 40 bites, each one swollen to around 2 inches in diameter or more). Anyway, one thing which worked for me last year was placing saucers of water with lavender essential oil around the place. It sounds silly because obviously they like water, but the lavender repels them.

Looking forward to seeing more ideas on this subject, I hate the things...

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rainbowgardener
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If you have standing water (there's a pond on my property) mosquito dunks, which are Bt, or barley balls are supposed to control them.

Make sure you are hospitable to hummingbirds and bats!
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Ozark Lady
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An often overlooked place is: If there is any dead wood, or forests nearby, often water will stand in hollow trees, and stumps. It may not be good for the environment, but I save used cooking oil, like after frying fish, and I carry it with me, I pour just a bit on stumps like this, the oil on the surface kills the larvae, so I am told.

I use canola oil so it should be biodegradable. Any other suggestions are very welcome! I have wondered about putting wood ashes there, would that work?
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applestar
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I have some ideas too, but I really think we need a bit more input as to what kind of situation the OP is trying to control. :D

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StickFish
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As far as repelling goes, you could always try citronella--either candles/oils and such to burn, or planting citronella plants for some foliage.

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Greywolf
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Now HERE is a topic with some meat in it! Also one I became hugely interested in, as I live in an area where the 'Skeeters are almost invisible, and yet there are enough to pick a grown man up and carry him away...
(Or so it is said around here)

In my related searches last season I found that there are at least FIVE relatively easy to cultivate plants that are effective at "Producing a scent which repells Mosquitos", and yes Citronella grass is amongst them. The problem with citronella however, is that it IS a grass which can grow fairly tall - similar to hay (In fact it may get as tall as SIX FEET!), and may not be the most attractive thing to have around your home. ANOTHER concern I have about it, is that in my area there are a lot of hayfields, and if the citronella were to get into those fields, I don't know if it would do bad things to any animals that ingested the harvested hay - so there is that to consider as well.

PINE trees, believe it or not - are listed here and there as having mosquito repellent properties, and are often used for landscaping. But I have to note a caution here as well! Many people are allergic to pine tree sap, and they also produce a lot of fallen needles and other refuse that could become a problem in some settings. They also grow fairly large, but at the same time these are good trees for holding back soil erosion on banks and so on.

~Now we come to the more interesting ones:

The spice "ROSEMARY" contains an oil that repels mosquitos, and is also a very good spice to have around, especially if you like to cook Italian dishes! The down side? Rosemary does not tolerate cold weather. Therefore it is best done as a container plant, which can of course be set out on a patio or deck.

NEXT:
"MARIGOLD"
Now here, we have a large and quite attractive flowering plant. I grew some last year that were spectacular - mixed colors that ended up with flowers at least four inches across that looked like a fireworks display in the places I set them. These are best started early, so that they have a chance to become full size as early in the season as possible. There is only one problem: It is not only mosquitos that find their scent objectionable, some PEOPLE do as well! :shock:

Marigolds though have an additional benefit in that they also repel a fair number of insects that might otherwise be harmful to your veggies.

Now we come to my own favorite (and these can be quite a trick to propagate, because the seeds are so tiny)
CATNIP!
Catnip (NEPETA CATARIA) so named because of it's amusing effect on felines (I've heard it called "COCAINE for CATS"), has a multi-function effect in the garden or near the patio. First and foremost - IT IS RATED TEN TIMES AS EFFECTIVE AS CITRONELLA for repelling mosquitos! YES, citronella, also known as "DEET". Catnip supposedly blows it away in terms of effectiveness...

It will also attract cats, which will in turn patrol your garden areas for RODENTS which I think is a fine thing.

Once the catnip begins to flower - it also does another favor for us, it is AN EXCELLENT "Bee Forage" which means bees will be attracted to it as well, and therefore to your garden, not to mention AWAY from your patio if you place it right.

The best way to start Catnip is in a tall clear plastic cup, with a drainage hole in the bottom, set in a dish or tray so that they can be watered from the bottom UP. Using a large tray - you can start quite a few, and only have to water the one tray :D which is cheating, but makes it simple. The reason for a CLEAR cup is so that you can tell if the roots have got too big for the container. You want a tall cup, because if the roots get all the way down to the water level the plants will turn red and their growth be stunted. If you see them begin to turn pink, empty out the water in the dish, give them a day or so, and immediately transplant them either outdoors or into a larger container. I have one now that is over 24 inches tall growing in a window.

Soon as I can, I'll try to post some pictures.

CHEERS!

~Dutch J.

PS: There are also a number of plants sold on the internet that purport to be "MOSQUITO PLANTS" but the jury is still out on whether they do any good or not. Chances are they are a variety of the above
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rainbowgardener
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There is a "mosquito-shoo" geranium, which is citronella scented. I grew it for a couple years. It's not winter hardy here, so I have to bring it in for the winter, and it looks like it may not have made it through the winter indoors this time.

Anyway, in my experience there is no plant that is real effective at repelling mosquitos (at least not in the numbers we have), just by sitting there, unless you have a whole forest of them. Generally the scent isn't released very strongly unless the leaves are bruised or crushed. With my M-S geranium, when we wanted to be on the deck I would take a few leaves, crush them a little and rub them along the top deck railing. That actually did work well, though it has to be renewed every day or two. However, it was starting to take some of the paint off the deck railing!

You can get a pretty inexpensive little device that is basically a little geraniol scented cake with a little fan to blow air across it and broadcast the scent. Give it 15 minutes to get enough scent out there and then come out. It will keep a deck sized area free of mosquitos.
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StickFish
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Now I new about marigolds as skeeter-repellent, but I didn't know about catnip. :lol:
Actually, I grew catnip in a container for a couple years. I think the neighborhood stray cats ate too much of it for it to survive a couple winters ago.
I'd really like to get some citronella or something, because my back yard breeds skeeters like crazy. :?

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Pennyroyal works as an insect repellent on the body, but not for the air. It is easy to grow and perennial. I rub a few leaves on legs/arms when outside in the summer, and bugs-b-gone. I have some in the garden but a big over run by tall plants around it. Time to put some in a dedicated pot.
Just for enjoying the deck or porch, I use a box fan even set on low. Power use is minimal, and no chemicals!
As for citronella, be advised not to use in enclosed places. Fine for deck/porch.
Have fun!
Susan

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Greywolf
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I just read an article here (last night, actually) about growing your own Italian Spices, and in that I noticed another one: BASIL

Which can also be planted near tomatoes, to not only drive off bugs but lend a certain amount of flavor to surrounding plants... :?:

"Curiouser and curiouser..." said Alice
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applestar
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OK, might as well start posting ideas -- here's one: I have patches of lemon balm growing in the shady area behind the swingset so every time somebody steps on them, strong citronella scent is released. :D

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Greywolf
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Now THAT is just plain clever!

But it also bears the question:
"Must such a plant be bruised in order to release a strong scent?"

We have mentioned several plants that are effective to some degree - I bet there are many more.

*swings nose back and forth*

"CITRON? Is it possible "Citrus" has the same effect?"


I don't think I have ever been mosquito bit around areas where oranges, lemons, and limes grow in abundance....

(All of the above are considered "CITRUS" fruits, also grapefruit and some others)

THINK ABOUT IT! Isn't that true?

I wonder if there is more to it...

I lived in San Diego California for many years - they have no mosquitos there at all.

(Personally observed)
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rainbowgardener
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I grew up in Orange County, Calif. We did not have mosquitos, nor did we have fireflies. I don't think it had anything to do with the orange groves (which were mostly all cut down within a few years of when we moved there -- Disneyland moved in the year after we did). I think it has to do with lack of rain. In Anaheim, it did not rain, ever, from early June to October. Not only didn't rain, but no humidity in the air. I was so amazed to move out here and discover water just falling from the sky all summer...
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gone cuttin
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I have had great success with essential oils and mixing my own sprays. We use both of these on ourselves and our horses:

For mosquitoes: 5 drops Palo Santo in 16oz spray bottle filled with water and 1tsp. Thieves Household Cleaner (or any liquid soap). Most users find as good results as commercial DEET sprays!

Bug Spray: 3 drops each: Dill, Idaho Tansy, Lemon, Palo Santo & peppermint. Mix in 1 qt. spray bottle filled with water and 1tsp. Thieves Household leaner.
McClure Ranch

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Greywolf
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What is the best way to extract oils from plants like this that I grow?

I know - I could always do a websearch for it, but if it is said here it makes THIS PLACE on the web that much BETTER!
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rainbowgardener
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You can make what I call a flavored oil very easily. Take a glass jar and stuff it with your leaves, mint or rosemary or whatever, packed in. Then fill the jar with a good neutral salad oil (not olive oil, something with less flavor of its own). Put it on a sunny window sill and let it sit for a week or so. Strain the leaves out and then repeat with fresh leaves but the same oil.

But if you want true essential oils, I think the only way is a little still. You can get small distillation set ups on line for pretty inexpensive. Santa brought me one for Christmas, but I have yet to use it, because all the herbs were dried by then. Soon though!
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Greywolf wrote:I don't think I have ever been mosquito bit around areas where oranges, lemons, and limes grow in abundance....

(All of the above are considered "CITRUS" fruits, also grapefruit and some others)

THINK ABOUT IT! Isn't that true?

(Personally observed)
Though there is always an exception- citrus fruits are a major crop here in Spain but we still have major mozzie issues. Wondering though maybe if the issue here is causing by the ancient watering systems still used locally which water can stand in for a while making a perfect mozzie breeding ground.

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A few goldfish in any standing water eliminate that issue pretty quick; any good aquaculture will deal with this issue...

HG
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applestar
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Yep. Feeder goldfish and what they call "minnows" are really inexpensive at pet shops like PetSmart. The "minnows" stay smaller -- about 2" after a full season, compared to the goldfish that grew to about 3". I even had one minnow each in 6" and 8" containers growing rice plants. Got a nod of approval from the County Mosquito inspector too (long story detailed elsewhere in the forum).

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Greywolf
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I have often wondered if a pond or small pool with minnows or even sport fish would be a good idea.

I have known people before who brought home live trout, bass or catfish and kept them in something like that - or even a large aquarium - until they were what they considered "Ripe Eating Size". Aside from feeding them in other ways, it was not unusual for a mosquito zapper to be hung out over the end of a small dock so that the fish would gain the fallen bugs as a dietary supplement so to speak...

One old friend of mine in the Sarasota Florida area had an arrangement like that, and everytime the bug zapper flashed you could see the fish making ripples around it on the surface of the water.

In Arizona, on the north side of I-8 is a small town I can't remember the name of where there is a Trout Farm (or there was anyway) made of metal troughs over a hundred fifty feet long with fish food machines (like bubblegum machines, but for a nickle they sold a handful of fish food) that was free for the public to visit. I think it's withing fifty miles or closer to the California/Arizona line. It may have been I-40, it's been a long while

Strange to see huge schools of fish living in tanks with seperators like that...
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When I was raising fish during the summer I would throw a bunch of fry in a wading pool and not feed a thing and they grew to be three times the size of tank raised unless I was feeding frozen prepared foods or brine shrimp (still twice as big as those)...

Fish: Nature's mosquito control...

HG
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cherlynn
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My daughter has had an ongoing problem with Mosquitos. Last year she sprayed a garlic spray...listed to be natural...around her yard. Seems like something easy enough to make. In fact, I believe I saw it mentioned in another thread...here it is:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=24347&highlight=garlic+spray
cherlynn

jmoore
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Get a Thermacell and plenty of refill packages. Those things are worth their weight in gold for repelling bugs. I've sat in plenty of super bug infested areas during hunting season and the Thermacell will keep virtually anything at bay.

https://www.mosquitorepellent.com/

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emmdavies
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I am one of those people who just gets eaten alive by mosquitoes, so naturally I had to search for a thread like this!

I use Citronella candles on my patio, but the scent makes my stomach cramp and hurt. I am not sure why. It's not that it makes me nauseous, but it literally makes me get stomach pains and my throat feels odd. I always remember having it happen whenever we would be using anything citronella when I was growing up.

I am going to try some of these alternatives, because Citronella and I don't get along too well!

I wonder if it's an allergy??

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No, it's not an allergy; an allergic reaction involves the release of histamines, which are directly implicated in inflammation. Anti-histamine medications, including those sold over-the-counter, can be helpful.

What you describe sounds like a chemical reaction (I've had enough of them to recognize at least one set of symptoms, unfortunately). I just went to the website of one citronella candle manufacturer and found--as usual--that 0.5% of the item is "Oil of citronella." The other 99.5% of the compound, termed "inert ingredients," are specified. However, the three listed "inert ingredients" seem unlikely to be the whole story: "Soybean Oil, Palm Oil, Paraffin Wax [sic]."

Often, what we react to is something unrevealed in the "inert" ingredients, perhaps a volatile organic compound (VOC) or other potentially toxic compound. Toxicity is dose-dependent, but many people have thresholds lower than the regulations admit for a chemical reaction. (Canada is phasing out citronella as an insecticide due to toxicity data-gap concerns, according to Wikipedia; the European Union phased out all use of citronella as an insect repellent in 2006.)

I've dealt with VOCs as well as I can in my own home, but am at the mercy of others whenever I go out in public: perfumes, after-shave lotions, quick-light BBQ briquets in the neighbors' yards--anything like these can bring on either a "two-inhale" migraine or a respiratory "freeze" where I can neither inhale nor exhale. The respiratory "freeze" isn't asthma (one of my sisters had asthma all of our childhood), and it's not anything I can re-create in the doctor's office, either, to help her make a diagnosis. But it's definitely a reaction to chemicals; it's too immediate to be anything else.

Surely Native Americans/First Nations people had protection against mosquitoes. I wonder what it was?

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rainbowgardener
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Oil of geranium is actually a better repellant than citronella and perhaps less likely to aggravate sensitivities (though I can't say that for sure). There's s lots of products around now based on it like geraniol impregnated wristbands. I used to have a little thing for our deck that was a geraniol cake with a little fan blowing across it. It worked quite well if you set it up a half hr or so before you went out, to give a little time for the scent to accumulate. I would like to find it again.
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LA47
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Where would I go to find oil of geranium? I think I would like that better than oil of garlic.
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rainbowgardener
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If you just google geraniol mosquito repellant, you will find lots of products based on it. Or search on geranium oil and you can get the pure essential oil. Soak a pad with it and put it over a candle/ lantern/ light bulb, where it will get warmed but not burned. That will diffuse the scent. Or use an oil diffuser (like the reed types).
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emmdavies
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Has anyone planted lemon balm? My mother had lemon balm but I don't recall smelling it unless you picked some of the leaves off or rubbed your fingers through it.

I am doing some research on plants that give off a lemon/citrus smell without having to be crushed or anything. So far I've found people recommend lemon balm, daphne odora, and lemon verbena.

I wonder if any of these will be effective at keeping mosquitoes away?

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Hm just looked up daphne odora and all parts of the plants are poisonous and the sap can even irritate some people.

Probably want to stay away from that one. :roll:

I think I am going to try lemon verbena, lemon balm, and maybe some lemon basil.

Haha we will see!

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I heard that carrying around a dryer sheet (citrus scented), works. I haven't tried it.
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I grow lemon scented geranium - often miss labled as a citronella plant. The leaves rubbed on your skin especially at pressure points helps a lot. When I was a child my parents would load the bunch of us into the station wagon and take us to the drive in movies. Mosquitoes were a bane. Dad always had "picks" which were set on the hood of the car and on the ground around it. This is a coil shaped thing that you light and burn. REALLY works.

The biggest issue is avoiding breeding ground for the buggers. No pot saucers. Bird baths cleaned every 2 days. No standing water anywhere.

G has electronic mosquito repelents that he uses in the woods when hunting and swears by.

In south Louisiana mosquitos are large enough to be the state bird.
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There is no such thing as a plant you can grow, even as a hedge, that will keep mosquitos out of your garden just by being there. Mosquitos fly and they will just fly over it.

There are a number of plants that have repellant qualities when crushed or in their essential oils. That would include citronella, and all the citrus-y plants you named, geranium, tansy, yarrow and other aromatics. You can put geranium oil or other essential oils on a pad and put it over a candle to diffuse it and it will help keep mosquitos away from an area like a deck.
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emmdavies
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I'll have to experiment. While there is no standing water around my apartment's patio, I live a few feet away from a creek and there's sure to be standing water down there because I live in eastern NC which tends to be swampy.

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I planted lemon balm, which spreads like wildfire, along the back of the kids' swing set/fort/slide under the oak tree. (dry shade). Every time they are trampled, they release their lemony scent, but they come back every year. :twisted:

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I try to have pennyroyal in a couple of containers. When out can rub a few leaves on legs/arms (we're talking summer, not cold March!). Also I have a box fan on the deck and porch, and when enjoying that space just turn it on.
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

Bt works. It also helps to go out with a bottle of dishwashing liquid and put a few drops into the cups of bromeliads and any puddles that you find that you cannot drain. The dishwashing liquid break the surface tension of the water and mosquitoes larvae drown.

Otherwise, mosquito punks work best for area control.

Most of the lemon scented herbs are said to control mosquitoes to some extent. None of them work well unless you crush the leaves and can smell them. There are some organic based oils available for personal protection.

Citrossa, the mosquito plant has great propaganda, but I read a study that said that lemon thyme and lemon grass were more effective, but DEET was still no. 1.

https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/news ... ragon.html
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

Sometimes, I grab a sprig of lemonbalm, rosemary, lemongrass, geranium, mint, etc. crumple/crush/roll them between my palms into a ball, dab it on my neck like I'm putting on perfume, and then tuck the remaining herbal blob inside my clothing (I won't say where but women have the advantage :wink: ) Then make more and tuck those inside my shoes, finishing by rubbing my hands on other exposed skin areas. :mrgreen:
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