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How to Prepare a Beehive for Winter In New Zealand

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[CENTER][IMG]http://kiwimana.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/How-to-Prepare-a-Beehive-for-Winter-in-New-Zealand-300x300.png[/IMG] [/CENTER] Winter is just around the corner (officially starts 1 June). Here are some things to think about to get your bees through the cold winter months. There is an [B]ARRRT[/B] to wintering down a Beehive and this is kiwimana's guide on how to do it with this simple 5 step method. You can read the full article [URL='http://kiwimana.co.nz/how-to-prepare-a-beehive-for-winter-in-new-zealan']HERE[/URL]

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Certainly is an eyeful for a beginner....

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In my view there are 3 things bees need to have strong chance to get through winter. If they are properly housed, in good health, and have enough food stores, they will make winter. Barring accidents.

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Question. If you rearrange your hives as stated in your excellent diagram, and remove the QE, and [I]then [/I]treat with strips, is it possible that the effectiveness of the treatment may be compromised by the fact that the strips are in the bottom brood box, but the queen has the ability to move through both boxes and lay (as stores are eaten obviously). We have been treating with the QE in place, to help ensure the effectiveness of the strips, QE's will come out next round. Good, idea, or not necessary?

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[quote name='Kiwimana'] Winter is just around the corner (officially starts 1 June). Here are some things to think about to get your bees through the cold winter months. ......[/QUOTE] i have a few issues with this. prep work needs to be done summer/autumn not autumn/winter. trying to do it in autumn/winter is a classic beginner mistake. only non-beeks would even think about winter officially starting in june. just a poor choice of words there. timing is everything and theres no real mention of that. [quote]We reduce the colonies down to two full sized boxes[/quote] [quote]We keep one full-box of honey on the top [/quote] does this mean two brood boxes and one super making it a 3 box hive, or just one brood and one super making it a 2 box hive? pictured is a 3 box high hive. it sounds like your wintering it as a big empty hive which is harder for bees to heat, more prone for wasps due to bees being up away from the entrance and the more gear you leave over winter the more gear you loose from rot. [quote] The smaller entrance will make it much easier for the bees to defend their entrance as the cluster gets smaller. Remove any queen excluders you still have on your hive. If the cluster in your hive moves up through the Excluder the queen many get left behind and die.[/quote] recommended for cold areas but problematic for warm areas. a small entrance can overheat a hive. certainly not recommend for auckland aera unless it has mesh bases fitted. treating at that time can cause bees/brood to move away from treatment. also timing, treatments should have been done a long time ago. overall extremely simplified guide missing some major points. not a guide i could recommend. [SIZE=16px][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=rgb(51, 51, 51)][/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE]

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[quote name='tristan'] overall extremely simplified guide missing some major points. not a guide i could recommend. [/QUOTE] ^yep, this.

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[quote name='yesbut']Certainly is an eyeful for a beginner....[/QUOTE] On reflection, I thought I'd clarify what I meant, it seems overly complicated, mountains & molehills come to mind.

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Tristan is spot on. Preparing a bee hive for winter starts in summer, and we are discussing spring at our next club meeting in May.

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Depends on what treatment you use too. I managed today to remove the strips and close the hives(mash floor + plastic sheet on top). A month ago they received 10L of sugar syrup each however unfortunatelly there is a lack of food so I will have to pay a visit in a month time.

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[quote name='tudor']Preparing a bee hive for winter starts in summer, and we are discussing spring at our next club meeting in May.[/QUOTE] absolutely. wintering a hive is part of spring management. how a hive goes into winter determines how it comes out of winter which determines what your spring management is. i think of it that autumn is the start of the season. is that just a bit crazy :whistle: :rofl:

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[quote name='Cyathea']Question. If you rearrange your hives as stated in your excellent diagram, and remove the QE, and [I]then [/I]treat with strips, is it possible that the effectiveness of the treatment may be compromised by the fact that the strips are in the bottom brood box, but the queen has the ability to move through both boxes and lay (as stores are eaten obviously). We have been treating with the QE in place, to help ensure the effectiveness of the strips, QE's will come out next round. Good, idea, or not necessary?[/QUOTE] It depends on the treatment - we use organic ones so the honey can be left on as not harmful to humans or the girls. If its a synthetic this can go into the wax so can cause effects on the honey for human consumption. Check the wrapper of the product there should be info on there. We use Api Life Var - thymol based organic treatment - which is placed on top of the frames over centre where the cluster is, it then permeates the hive - application of 1x wafer per week, over 4 weeks - the girls groom as the Thyme excites them and Varroa hate Thyme. Thyme does flavour the honey but it does not taint it, the girls eat this honey so its safe either-way. The other treatment we use is vapourisation of oxalic acid (organic) with our Vaporizer, easy to insert and less invasive so we use this more over Winter. Oxalic acid is present in honey naturally according to the research we have found so not harmful to humans in honey. Oxalic acid is poisonous and corrosive so always use protective gear for eyes, mouth, skin - keep covered with the right gear. Info on both these products? [url="http://www.kiwimana.co.nz"]kiwimana Beekeeping Supplies - Shop, Blog and Podcast | A New Zealand Beekeeping supplies and Gardening Shop, Blog and Podcast[/url]

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[quote name='tudor']Tristan is spot on. Preparing a bee hive for winter starts in summer, and we are discussing spring at our next club meeting in May.[/QUOTE] [quote name='tristan']absolutely. wintering a hive is part of spring management. how a hive goes into winter determines how it comes out of winter which determines what your spring management is. i think of it that autumn is the start of the season. is that just a bit crazy :whistle: :rofl:[/QUOTE] Hi, kiwimana love to hear varying views. However, Disappointed that you haven't taken time to understand the context of the article of this 'Handy 5 Step Guide' and we certainly take exception to your dismissal of this awesome piece of work because its very obvious you certainly have completely missed the point of the guide. So here's our response to yours and Tristan's comments; Lets discuss the 'issues' with this.... [INDENT]We love to hear your views and accept that your comments are based from your own beekeeping perspective, and assume that your views are formed from your own experience and your response to your local climate and weather patterns?[/INDENT] Lets also assume that you don't know the context of this 'handy guide' nor do you live in my backyard? I will assume that you operate commercially? [INDENT] Its fair to say that you have your own desired outcomes for your beekeeping endeavours which may not serve all or every-other beekeeper in New Zealand ...who experience different climates, weather impacts and who have other desired outcomes by the way. So giving an idea of context would obviously bee helpful .....often it helps with understanding the method presented so one can understand anothers perspective and their desired outcome...so here goes... What is agreed ? - Yes it is agreed that timing is everything. - Yes earlier Wintering-Down is desirable - however, in the context of releasing this "Handy 5 step Guide" at this time - its because [B]our audience asked us for it beecause they experienced a late honey-flow so most waited for a full-box of honey before Wintering-Down.[/B] - Our audience do not necessarily have the same desired outcome as you but ... - Yes we all have in common the fact that we, as do you, want our Colonies to survive wasps, Winter and stay dry and healthy. - Yes Winter does start [URL='http://www.nzbees.net/forum/x-apple-data-detectors://2']on 1st June[/URL] - fact. Lets bee clear - We did not say winter-down [URL='http://www.nzbees.net/forum/x-apple-data-detectors://3']1st June[/URL] ! - Yes we agree that preparation through Seasons for the coming seasons is necessary and this is what we promote and advocate. What is the context? Our audience are made up of kiwis and overseas folks so we serve a wide-audience. We provide lots of information to serve this wide-rangng audience AND we own that its all based from our own experiences and perspective and research we undertake. [/INDENT] Do you know us? [INDENT]It is important to note that this method has served us well over 6 years and yes - it is a 'simple' guide and is effective and successful and definitely encompasses preparation for Spring. So to understand our context ? We are hobbyist-beekeepers and support hobbyist beekeepers successfully. What is the Desired Outcome wanted by using this method? To enable hobbyists to feed their colonies their own honey, to complete varroa treatment, to prepare for Spring. [/INDENT] [INDENT]The reason? - this method enables the colony to have Winter-Stores on hand, to enable the girls to feed through the regular and sometimes long periods of rain we experience here in West Auckland where the girls are not able to go out and need to feed. The aim ? ... so the colony do not require liquid sugar-feeds. ... so over Winter into Spring, as the honey is eaten, it creates space so this becomes available to enable the queen to have laying space in readiness as the hive-population expansion naturally occurs. ... so the queen can bee bred from and kept so new colonies can be bred from these strong-surviving genetics.[/INDENT] [INDENT]No seasonal queen-killing is conducted by us. We leave honey on for the girls so they can feed on their own healthy food so as to avoid feeding 'processed' white sugar which we believe is an inferior food source. We use this 2 box method to capture the 'swarm-effect' by anticipating it before queen-cells are drawn - this is managed through monitoring colony growth - therefore No queens cells are are destroyed / killed by us.[/INDENT] In the assumption that you are a commercial beekeeper and that your outcomes serve you ....based on this assumption, I accept that you have your own methods which cover your desired outcome, we respect your views ....however, your dismissal without understanding the context of who we are and what we do is something I think you need to consider. [INDENT] Here are other things we do and perhaps you don't know about us.... We treat organically - 4x per year ie: each season - usually mid-season We have been beekeepers for over 6 years.[/INDENT] We produce and sell "fully working colonies" which serve our hobbyists well and successfully [INDENT]We are DECA certified[/INDENT] [INDENT]And thats the tip of what we do ...for more about us ? ...check us out at :[URL='http://www.kiwimana.co.nz/']www.kiwimana.co.nz[/URL] I think you have missed the main point - this is a 'simple' guide and is relevant, effective and successful. Other points? This Wintering down method is clear that it is 2 boxes - as shown on the "Handy Guide sheet" which shows 1 x brood box and 1 x Honey Super. Why? The method explains the brood is contained in to 1 box, the Honey is on-hand (reiterating...so girls can feed through the regular periods of rain experienced in Auckland).[/INDENT] The photo used clearly shows reducing the entrance - it is not referenced in the article. [INDENT] The 5 step guide clearly explains 'reducing' space, it explains condensing brood - as you'll also want all brood in 1 box for effective varroa treatment and to serve the reducing population going in to Winter.[/INDENT] Interestingly it is the cluster that keeps the girls warm, not the hive-box - the beekeeper needs to make sure the hive-boxes are dry and provide 'air'. Also interestingly, the cluster generally remains with the brood. No Queen excluders are left in over Winter. [INDENT] The fact that this method is in preparation for Spring is correct beecause the plan is to provide (did I mention?) food over Winter which can avoid too much intervention over Winter. Most importantly know and let me bee clear - this is only PART of the work we undertake and acknowledge that this simple guide is not the Bee all and end all of the work required to manage a Beehive colony through and in preparation for coming seasons, let alone an encyclopedia of yearly Beehive management.[/INDENT] We apply an 'Integrated Pest Management Program' which includes regular monitoring, seasonal methods, regular treatments, record-keeping, beekeeper hygiene, and tools such as mesh-boards, hive-stands, drone-management, robbing-screens, etc. So for what its worth, this is our reply...but we value others views, beecause this helps us all to help save bees...so please consider, about sharing your views with our wider audience? [INDENT] We love to hear more about your methods because we appreciate there are different views so we would like to invite you to bee interviewed to share your methods and views. Cheers Tristan let us know [URL='http://www.nzbees.net/forum/tel:(09)%208109965'](09) 8109965[/URL][/INDENT]

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[quote name='tudor']Tristan is spot on. Preparing a bee hive for winter starts in summer, and we are discussing spring at our next club meeting in May.[/QUOTE] Please check out reply to these comments - sorry to hear you haven't understood the context of this 'Handy 5 step GUIDE'.

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[quote name='yesbut']Certainly is an eyeful for a beginner....[/QUOTE] Give us a call and we can certainly talk you through the method and how to apply and please have a check of our reply to other comments...probably another eyeful but we feel necessary to explain context of the guide which was to meet the need of our audience. We know it works and have been using it for over 6 years and it gives you opportunity to prepare for population growth in Spring. Its also important to note that our Honey flow was slow and late in our neck of the woods. Anyway happy to take a call to discuss if that helps.

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Thanks for the invitation, I'm a gumboot, #8 & she'll be right guy, my bees either make it or they don't :cool::cool::cool:

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[quote name='Kiwimana']It depends on the treatment - we use organic ones so the honey can be left on as not harmful to humans or the girls.[/QUOTE] [quote name='Kiwimana']e use Api Life Var - thymol based organic treatment[/QUOTE] [quote name='Kiwimana']Thyme does flavour the honey but it does not taint it,[/QUOTE] i would prefer it if you would mention that thymol does have a residue limit in honey. i would call "flavour the honey" tainting. those boxes stink of it for a long long time.

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the long winded post of trival nonsense doesn't work with me. well used to that carry on. [quote name='Kiwimana']This Wintering down method is clear that it is 2 boxes - as shown on the "Handy Guide sheet" which shows 1 x brood box and 1 x Honey Super.[/QUOTE] thats about the only decent thing in that long long post. its all good, i'm happy for the correction has it was hard to tell. however you also mention removing queen excluder which effectively turns it into double brood hive. queen can stay below because of the warm weather, honey filled box above with no laying room, but that will not always be the case. you go on about its for those in auckland etc, but you mention queen getting left behind by the excluder in cold weather, something that never happens in aucklands mild climate. there no mention of that your timing for a late honey flow. your article is a basic recipe, but its missing a lot of required information which makes it highly misleading. fyi, despite being commercial, we actually used to winter them like that. its nothing new to me, hence why i can tell you leaving out all the info. so how about a rewrite and put in all the info this time.

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[quote name='tristan'] well used to that carry on.[/QUOTE]Just curious as you have inferred that kind of thing a few times down the years, what are these other hellholes you hang out at Tristan? :sick:

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I feel that Kiwimana has made a positive contribution. Let's stop this picking holes in it. The critiques come across as bit mean. Agree- Adequate stores, treatment getting done, reduce large entrances (nasty mice for us), rearrange frames (if brood nest in top box or well to the side of bottom -center it) Neutral - removing excluders, that's really climatic dependent. Agree that warmer areas okay to leave in (unless small bee population) My contribution, queens- good queens. Little you can do about is in April. So yes, earlier intervention. Keep the peace

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[quote name='tristan']the long winded post of trival nonsense doesn't work with me. well used to that carry on. thats about the only decent thing in that long long post. its all good, i'm happy for the correction has it was hard to tell. however you also mention removing queen excluder which effectively turns it into double brood hive. queen can stay below because of the warm weather, honey filled box above with no laying room, but that will not always be the case. you go on about its for those in auckland etc, but you mention queen getting left behind by the excluder in cold weather, something that never happens in aucklands mild climate. there no mention of that your timing for a late honey flow. your article is a basic recipe, but its missing a lot of required information which makes it highly misleading. fyi, despite being commercial, we actually used to winter them like that. its nothing new to me, hence why i can tell you leaving out all the info. so how about a rewrite and put in all the info this time.[/QUOTE] @tristan Do the interview. Would be great to hear your methods. I think the @Kiwimana thread is basic sound advise, if people followed it they won't go far wrong. It's not comprehensive, I don't think they set out to write a thesis for a PHD.

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A small addition, i lifted all my hives off bases and cleaned them, found wax moth larvae in cocoons in the corners in quite a few. Now they are clean and ready.

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[quote name='Alastair']Just curious as you have inferred that kind of thing a few times down the years, what are these other hellholes you hang out at Tristan? :sick:[/QUOTE] Internet forums, being a tradie and being mistaken for being in the organics/alternative community.

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Ha Ha being taken for alternative. Must be tough LOL

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[QUOTE="api mania, post: 87071, member: 2739"]@tristan Do the interview. Would be great to hear your methods. I think the @Kiwimana thread is basic sound advise, if people followed it they won't go far wrong. It's not comprehensive, I don't think they set out to write a thesis for a PHD.[/QUOTE] not likely. i wouldn't call it sound advice when its missing big parts, even basic principles. i don't expect all the little details but the basics is required. if they followed that lot, a lot of their hives would be dead because their situation isn't the same. theres plenty of people here far far better than i, who can give you really great details. plus they write better than i do.

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[quote name='Kiwimana']Hi, kiwimana love to hear varying views. However, Disappointed that you haven't taken time to understand the context of the article of this 'Handy 5 Step Guide' and we certainly take exception to your dismissal of this awesome piece of work because its very obvious you certainly have completely missed the point of the guide. So here's our response to yours and Tristan's comments; Lets discuss the 'issues' with this.... [INDENT]We love to hear your views and accept that your comments are based from your own beekeeping perspective, and assume that your views are formed from your own experience and your response to your local climate and weather patterns?[/INDENT] Lets also assume that you don't know the context of this 'handy guide' nor do you live in my backyard? I will assume that you operate commercially? [INDENT] Its fair to say that you have your own desired outcomes for your beekeeping endeavours which may not serve all or every-other beekeeper in New Zealand ...who experience different climates, weather impacts and who have other desired outcomes by the way. So giving an idea of context would obviously bee helpful .....often it helps with understanding the method presented so one can understand anothers perspective and their desired outcome...so here goes... What is agreed ? - Yes it is agreed that timing is everything. - Yes earlier Wintering-Down is desirable - however, in the context of releasing this "Handy 5 step Guide" at this time - its because [B]our audience asked us for it beecause they experienced a late honey-flow so most waited for a full-box of honey before Wintering-Down.[/B] - Our audience do not necessarily have the same desired outcome as you but ... - Yes we all have in common the fact that we, as do you, want our Colonies to survive wasps, Winter and stay dry and healthy. - Yes Winter does start [URL='http://www.nzbees.net/forum/x-apple-data-detectors://2']on 1st June[/URL] - fact. Lets bee clear - We did not say winter-down [URL='http://www.nzbees.net/forum/x-apple-data-detectors://3']1st June[/URL] ! - Yes we agree that preparation through Seasons for the coming seasons is necessary and this is what we promote and advocate. What is the context? Our audience are made up of kiwis and overseas folks so we serve a wide-audience. We provide lots of information to serve this wide-rangng audience AND we own that its all based from our own experiences and perspective and research we undertake. [/INDENT] Do you know us? [INDENT]It is important to note that this method has served us well over 6 years and yes - it is a 'simple' guide and is effective and successful and definitely encompasses preparation for Spring. So to understand our context ? We are hobbyist-beekeepers and support hobbyist beekeepers successfully. What is the Desired Outcome wanted by using this method? To enable hobbyists to feed their colonies their own honey, to complete varroa treatment, to prepare for Spring.[/INDENT] [INDENT]The reason? - this method enables the colony to have Winter-Stores on hand, to enable the girls to feed through the regular and sometimes long periods of rain we experience here in West Auckland where the girls are not able to go out and need to feed. The aim ? ... so the colony do not require liquid sugar-feeds. ... so over Winter into Spring, as the honey is eaten, it creates space so this becomes available to enable the queen to have laying space in readiness as the hive-population expansion naturally occurs. ... so the queen can bee bred from and kept so new colonies can be bred from these strong-surviving genetics.[/INDENT] [INDENT]No seasonal queen-killing is conducted by us. We leave honey on for the girls so they can feed on their own healthy food so as to avoid feeding 'processed' white sugar which we believe is an inferior food source. We use this 2 box method to capture the 'swarm-effect' by anticipating it before queen-cells are drawn - this is managed through monitoring colony growth - therefore No queens cells are are destroyed / killed by us.[/INDENT] In the assumption that you are a commercial beekeeper and that your outcomes serve you ....based on this assumption, I accept that you have your own methods which cover your desired outcome, we respect your views ....however, your dismissal without understanding the context of who we are and what we do is something I think you need to consider. [INDENT] Here are other things we do and perhaps you don't know about us.... We treat organically - 4x per year ie: each season - usually mid-season We have been beekeepers for over 6 years.[/INDENT] We produce and sell "fully working colonies" which serve our hobbyists well and successfully [INDENT]We are DECA certified[/INDENT] [INDENT]And thats the tip of what we do ...for more about us ? ...check us out at :[URL='http://www.kiwimana.co.nz/']www.kiwimana.co.nz[/URL] I think you have missed the main point - this is a 'simple' guide and is relevant, effective and successful. Other points? This Wintering down method is clear that it is 2 boxes - as shown on the "Handy Guide sheet" which shows 1 x brood box and 1 x Honey Super. Why? The method explains the brood is contained in to 1 box, the Honey is on-hand (reiterating...so girls can feed through the regular periods of rain experienced in Auckland).[/INDENT] The photo used clearly shows reducing the entrance - it is not referenced in the article. [INDENT] The 5 step guide clearly explains 'reducing' space, it explains condensing brood - as you'll also want all brood in 1 box for effective varroa treatment and to serve the reducing population going in to Winter.[/INDENT] Interestingly it is the cluster that keeps the girls warm, not the hive-box - the beekeeper needs to make sure the hive-boxes are dry and provide 'air'. Also interestingly, the cluster generally remains with the brood. No Queen excluders are left in over Winter. [INDENT] The fact that this method is in preparation for Spring is correct beecause the plan is to provide (did I mention?) food over Winter which can avoid too much intervention over Winter. Most importantly know and let me bee clear - this is only PART of the work we undertake and acknowledge that this simple guide is not the Bee all and end all of the work required to manage a Beehive colony through and in preparation for coming seasons, let alone an encyclopedia of yearly Beehive management.[/INDENT] We apply an 'Integrated Pest Management Program' which includes regular monitoring, seasonal methods, regular treatments, record-keeping, beekeeper hygiene, and tools such as mesh-boards, hive-stands, drone-management, robbing-screens, etc. So for what its worth, this is our reply...but we value others views, beecause this helps us all to help save bees...so please consider, about sharing your views with our wider audience? [INDENT] We love to hear more about your methods because we appreciate there are different views so we would like to invite you to bee interviewed to share your methods and views. Cheers Tristan let us know [URL='http://www.nzbees.net/forum/tel:(09)%208109965'](09) 8109965[/URL][/INDENT] [/QUOTE] Gosh, guys.. defensive, much? It doesn't make a lot of sense to berate someone for not understanding 'your context' when your context is apparently contrary to the title you gave the article "How to prepare a beehive for winter in New Zealand". Not "how to prepare a hobbyist beehive" or "winter in Auckland". Change your title or state your contextual qualifiers at the start of the article you readers will understand where you're coming from too. :)

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