It never fails, every year as your lilies begin to sprout out of the ground those beetles are already feasting on your precious lilies. It is a problem all too common that every gardener woes. Below I will offer some tips on how to get rid of the dreaded red lily beetle and keep it out of your garden.

What is a red lily beetle?

The red lily beetle – also known as lilioceris lilii, scarlet lily beetle and lily leaf beetle are hungry insects that can devour an entire lily plant in just a short time and wreak havoc in your garden.

Recognizing a Red Lily Beetle


  • The adults are a bright red beetle, 6-8 mm long with a rectangular body shape.
  • Black head, legs and underside

(See picture to the right)

  • These beetles can easily be confused with lady bugs as they look similar the only difference is lady bugs have spots on their backs.


  • Appears to have yellow to orange soft bodies with black heads.
  • Small larvae hide on the underside of leaves.

Tips on how to get rid of the Red Lily Beetle

Diatomaceous earth

That is a great natural alternative to get rid of most hard-shelled unwanted critters such as beetles, ants, and more. Sprinkle it at the base of the plants and as the bugs trek through the powder they will die within 24 hrs as the powder suffocates them.

You can get diatomaceous earth at a whole foods store, ensure you are buying the food grade type to keep animals safe.

Pick them off

If you aren’t squeamish about bugs, you can pick them up and put them in a tall pail. You can spray them with soapy water or water mixed with olive oil to kill them.

Spray with Neem oil

Neem oil is a great way to kill the larvae and the bugs, be sure to spray the underside of the leaves. Spray again within 5 – 7 days to ensure there are no new eggs that hatched.

You can find neem oil and diatomaceous earth at various department stores and health food stores. Specifically, Earths General Store may carry both, call to confirm.

Check for infestation

To stay diligent and to make sure your garden is free from these pests all gardens should be vigilant and inspect planted lilies and any bulbs in the soil every year and check often.

So there you have it, a natural alternative to help get rid of red lily beetles. It is important to use natural alternatives so you can protect your plants and of course the bees. Bees are a big fan of lilies and we want to ensure we are not using any harmful chemicals on our plants that would harm them.

Sherwood Nurseries treats all their plants with environmentally friendly pesticides to ensure there is no harm to the bees or the environment. Contact for details.

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Scarlet lily beetles (lilioceris lilii) – also known as red lily beetles or simply lily beetles – are pesky little offenders that can wreak some serious havoc on your garden. Today, we’re explaining the life cycle of lily beetles as well as our foolproof way to get rid of lily beetles naturally.

About Lily Beetles

Red lily beetles: a new pest to watch out for in your precious garden. While lily beetles do affect Asiatic, Oriental, LA, and Martagon types of lilies, when it comes to day lilies, they quickly become disinterested.

During the fall, lily beetles tend take flight; and they do fly well – which is how they’ve spread from garden to garden, town to town, and province to province.

Over that last 20 years, lily beetles have been making a steady migration across the country into Edmonton and across Alberta, following an apparent inadvertent import from Europe.

Once spring has sprung, they resurface; just as the lilies begin to emerge. The adults are hungry and ready to get on with life and mate – any one female can lay as many as 250 eggs!

Are your blooms being attacked by lily beetles?

Signs of Lily Beetles

  • multiple unsightly holes in your lily leaves
  • their bright red rectangular shaped bodies (slightly larger than a lady bug)
  • large black antennae

How to Get Rid of Lily Beetles

Scarlet Lily Beetles love to hang out upside down on the bottom sides of the lily leaves. When they detect any slight danger, they drop off of the leaf backwards, landing on their red backs with their black underbelly facing up – an impressive protective mechanism because it makes them next to impossible to see in the soil.

There are few chemicals (spray pesticides, insecticides) that are effective against Scarlet Lily Beetles, so the most effective way to catch them is to go out regularly – every 2 or 3 days – and catch them manually. This requires resolve and diligence, but this war can be won.

Lily Beetle’s Life Cycle

In having dealt with more than a few armies of red lily beetles, I’ve come to find that the key to successfully getting rid of lily beetles is to understand their life cycle; so you can “short circuit” them at different stages.

Lily Beetle Larvae Treatment

Scarlet lily beetle eggs are easy to find. They are bright red and laid in an impressively straight line on the undersides of the lily leaves. The beetles hatch about 2 weeks after the eggs are laid.

How To Kill Lily Beetle Larvae

  • Carefully examine the underside of your lily leaves
  • Gently remove any infested leaves where you spot larvae
  • Put the leaves into a plastic bag and be sure to seal it tightly
  • The lily beetle larvae will suffocate and be stopped from spreading

Watch our video explaining scarlet lily beetles during the larvae phase and how to get rid of them:

Juvenile Lily Beetle Treatment

As the juveniles grow, they cover themselves with their own excrement as a way of camouflaging and making themselves less desirable for birds (no kidding – no sane bird would eat that!).

To get rid of these beetle babies, you can use either the lily beetle larvae method, or the adult lily beetle method I’ll explain next.

Adult Lily Beetle Treatment

Because of their predictable back flipping, adult lily beetles are simple enough to eliminate. This natural solution is wonderfully effective.

How To Kill Adult Lily Beetles

  • Fill a sealable container halfway with soapy water or vinegar
  • Very gingerly, without shaking the lily plant, hold the container against the stem of the lily, below the beetle and knock the leaf the beetle is on
  • The beetle will instinctively back flip right into your container and drown
  • Keep scouting for adults all summer as they stick around until fall

Watch our video explaining the adult life stage of scarlet lily beetles and how to get rid of them:

How to Control Lily Beetles in the Fall

Come autumn, red lily beetles overwinter in the soil surrounding the lily stalks.

To catch hibernating lily beetles, loosen up the first 2-3” of soil around the stalk of the lilies after the first few frosts to disrupt their napping. The more beetles you catch on this side of spring the better.

Be encouraged to do your best to rid our gardens of this aggressive beetle – you have to be diligent but you can do this!

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4

Stink Bugs Revisited (Family Pentatomidae)

Salutations, BugFans,

The BugLady has always had a soft spot in her heart for stink bugs. She likes the name “stink bug” and the chemical warfare that earned that name; they come in a rainbow of colors and even the nymphs are pretty.

Why “stink bug?” When they are fussed, SBs release what Kaufman and Eaton, in the Field Guide to Insects of North America, call “aromatic compounds sure to repel all but the most desperate predators.” They are not the only odor-producing insects. SB nymphs manufacture chemicals in internal glands are on the top side of their abdomen (a location that will be covered by wings when they are adults), adults in one gland on the thorax. The chemical is released through slits in the exoskeleton; the adults’ gland has two openings, and they can spray left or right or both. Odor isn’t a foolproof deterrent; most birds have no sense of smell and happily chow down on them, one parasitic wasp finds SBs by their defensive scent, and some feather-legged flies (whose maggots are parasitoids) are attracted to the SBs’ pheromones.

Stink bugs are in the family Pentatomidae, and their family tree includes some voracious, crop-damaging plant feeders (many stink bugs are somewhat resistant to pesticides) as well as some species that eat their brethren. SBs use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to inject a “saliva” that pre-digests their food, and the mouthparts are tucked “under their chin” when not in use. It’s not a huge family—maybe 250 species in North America and 5,000 worldwide. Their shield-shaped bodies average a chunky half-inch and their five-segmented antennae explain the family name—Penta (five) and tomos (section).

Here are a few great SB stories from For Love of Insects, by the renowned entomologist Thomas Eisner. First, he describes the stink bug’s stink as “persistent.” When an SB discharges its scent gland, some of the liquid is trapped on a rough surface near the slit that acts like a sponge, retaining some of the chemical for a lingering effect.

The second story has to do with SBs and spiders. An SB caught in a web is generally a goner. Spiders quite efficiently bite and wrap their prey, and many can thus immobilize SBs without allowing the SB to spray. By the time the spider delivers the coup de grace, any resulting spray is trapped in the web envelope and generally diffused into the air. Occasionally though, Eisner saw a spider get hit full force by the chemical, early in its “processing” of the SB. In those cases, the spider’s reaction was dramatic—it fled the scene, regurgitated, and used its legs to clean itself, which included drawing appendages through its mouth as if wiping the chemical off.

Meanwhile, the SB took advantage of the distraction and escaped, but Eisner was amazed by its method. An SB’s piercing-sucking mouthparts are not designed for chewing through spider web; instead, it applied its corrosive saliva to the web where the web touched its legs or body and used its legs to spread the saliva around. The saliva both diluted the glue on the strands of web and made them less elastic. The imprisoning strands broke, the SB slid down and got trapped on a new, sticky section of web, and repeated the process, over and over, until it got to the bottom edge of the web. The amount of saliva needed was far beyond what any SB carries around with it, so they must be able to produce it easily. Wowsers!!

Here in the (snooty) Western World, we turn up our noses at entomophagy (the science of eating insects) but SBs have found their way into the cuisines of Mexico and of several southeast Asian cultures (where their strong “spicy” odor is appreciated).

Maternal care has been recorded for some species of stink bugs. After she lays her cluster of keg-shaped eggs, some females stay and guard them. According to Waldbauer in The Handy Bug Answer Book, when an experimenter removed the guarding female from some clutches of eggs but not from others, none of the unguarded eggs survived and only half of the guarded eggs survived. The guarded eggs were parasitized by wasps that eluded the watchful female, who always faces forward when guarding, by sneaking in behind her.

Here’s a sampling of Wisconsin SBs, all of which are pretty common nation-wide.

Green Stink Bugs

Green stink bugs (Chinavia or Acrosternum hilaris) (probably) suck juices from a variety of agricultural crops like tomatoes, peas, corn and soybeans and from fruit trees and their seeds.

Brown Stink Bugs

Brown stink bugs (Euschistus sp.) hang out in open spaces like grasslands and gardens, where they eat grasses and grains, flowers and fruits. And corn and soybeans. Their piercing-injecting-sucking causes mechanical damage (holes) and chemical injury that kills or stunts plants or inflicts cosmetic damage on fruits. Some SBs have earned the nickname “catfacing insect” because of the cat-faced scars that are left by their browsings.

Red and Green or Red-backed Stink Bug

The red and green or red-backed stink bug (Banasa dimiata)(a.k.a. dimidiate) feeds on the juices of a variety of trees and shrubs. The Bug Lady once saw a picture of a group of stink bug nymphs clustered around their recently-vacated eggs. The caption explained that they were eating their eggs, and that as they did so they were ingesting bacteria left behind from their mother’s gut that would set up shop in their guts and allow them to digest the cellulose materials they ate!

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

If Alfred Hitchcock had done a movie about insects, he might have chosen the alien brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys). From their original appearance in eastern Pennsylvania just 20 years ago, they’ve spread to 33 states, have just gotten to Wisconsin, and a separate population is building along the Pacific coast. They seem to be out-competing native SBs. BMSBs feed on ornamental plants, agricultural crops and fruits, where they are also guilty of “catfacing” and of introducing rot into fruit where they pierce it.

They’re also having a profound impact on non-farmers. It seems that like box elder bugs, BMSBs gather on the outsides of homes in fall, plotting to get inside. Not just a few—there are reports of front doors completely covered by them. They don’t bite, but they do stink, and they do fly through the house, lodge in AC filters, and congregate in boots and coat pockets and closets. One homeowner (ironically, a scientist who studies invasive species) reported vacuuming 8,000 BMSBs from his attic in a single day; his three-month total was almost 22,000. The potential controls—pheromone traps, BMSB birth control, and parasitic wasps, are years down the road.

Rough Stink Bugs

The story of rough stink bugs (this one is probably Brochymena quadripustulata, the Four-humped Stink Bug) is a contradictory one. Some sources list them as herbivores, targeting fruit trees, and others list them among the predaceous SBs. Sometimes called “tree stink bugs,” they are well-camouflaged on tree bark. Their scent is “almondy” suggesting a possible cyanide component. The BugLady thinks they look like tiny painted turtles.

Two-spotted Stink Bug

Predaceous stink bugs like the two-spotted stink bug (Perillus bioculatus) are important biological controls. The TSSB specializes in Colorado Potato Beetles, and now that the Potato Beetle has skipped across The Pond to Europe, the TSSB has been introduced there too. The first instar TSSB nymph feeds on juices from potato plants, but then it switches to potato beetles. In one study, a nymph ate 285 eggs, 3.7 larvae and 5.1 adult potato beetles on the way to adulthood. Later instar nymphs polish off 59 beetle eggs per day, and adults eat 85 beetle larvae in six weeks. When such an efficient (and host-specific) biological control exists, the lab folks try to mass-produce them, but TSSBs can be tricky to rear because they don’t thrive on “artificial” foods.

According to a study done in 1923, the red in the TSSB comes from carotenes it ingests while feeding on the gold-colored lymph of adult and larval Colorado potato beetles.

The BugLady

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

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Wednesday – May 12, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Red-backed bugs on mountain laurel (Sophoro secundiflora)
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I found red-backed bugs (in fact two end-to-end like the east Texas love bugs) on my mountain laurel which has been losing leaves. Are these bugs the culprit?


Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel), according to the US Forest Service “…are primarily pest-free, except for infestations by caterpillars of a moth in the family Pyralidae.” The moth is Uresiphita reversalis (Pyralid moth or Genista broom moth). You would see the caterpillar and its damage from chewing on the leaves if they were infesting the plant. Obviously the bugs aren’t the caterpillars and since there don’t seem to be any other serious insect pests I don’t think the bugs are the culprit. The Forest Service site does mention that the mountain laurels are especially susceptible to phenoxy herbicides. One of the commonest of these phenoxy herbicides is 2,4-D. These particular herbicides are used against broadleaf weeds on grass lawns, pastures or in grain fields. The problem is that they are very volatile and can drift for miles with the wind and effect plants far from their application. They have been especially detrimental to grapevines. If you or your neighbors have been using any of these on your lawns, it is possible that some has landed on your mountain laurel and is causing the problem.

Another possibility is that you have had some environmental change where the plant is growing. Mountain laurels like well-drained soil to grow in. They don’t like having ‘wet feet’. Has the drainage in its vicinity changed? Is there the possibility that the soil has become compacted by a lot of traffic—foot or vehicle? If you think that this has happened, you need to remedy this by stopping the traffic and adding a hardwood mulch over the soil surrounding the tree. It will help protect the roots and eventually work its way into the soil and relieve the compaction. Better yet, you could carefully work some of the mulch into the soil so that when the tree does get water (from rain or supplemental watering) the water gets to the roots and doesn’t stand on top of them. Whatever you do, don’t fertilize the tree. In the first place, native plants don’t need fertilizing and a plant under stress (as yours seems to be) should never be fertilized.

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Foreign Grain Beetle

Description of foreign grain beetles

An interesting, but unsettling thing happens to many occupants of brand new houses, especially when the houses are built in the summer and occupied in late summer or fall. New houses are frequently infested with foreign grain beetles, a common and often abundant “fungus” beetle found throughout the world.

In my opinion, this annoying little beetle should be renamed the “new house beetle” because I seldom receive samples or calls from people finding this insect in foreign grain. Calls and samples from new home owners, on the other hand, are quite common.

The foreign grain beetle is abundant during late summer and fall. The reddish-brown beetles are small, only 3/32 inch long which is slightly more than half the length of the familiar red flour beetle. The shape is similar to that of the flour beetle, but the most noticeable difference, in addition to the smaller size, is the presence of tiny knobs or bumps on the front corners of the thorax. A good magnifier is necessary to see this distinguishing character. The beetles are strong fliers and they are attracted to lights.

Red flour beetle (right) and a foreign grain
beetle (left) for a size comparison.

Life cycle of foreign grain beetles

Foreign grain beetle adults and larvae feed on molds and fungi, and not on grain as the name would imply. However, they often infest damp or spoiled grain and are common in grain storage facilities, giving rise to their name. Almost any mold or fungus growth may support foreign grain beetles.

They are common “outdoor” insects and may enter homes in small numbers as “accidental invaders” through screens, cracks, and crevices, or around windows and doors. Normal exclusion techniques as for other accidental invaders can be used in this case. However, as indicated above, foreign grain beetles are most frequently discovered as an unwanted house-warming guest in newly-constructed homes. The beetles come from inside walls where molds are growing because of moisture that was sealed into the walls during construction. This moisture could come from wood left outdoors and exposed to rain before or during building, rain that blew into the house before it was “closed in,” or moisture from drywall compound applied over sheetrock. Beetles emerge from the new house walls for a period of several weeks until the house completely dries out.

Management of foreign grain beetles

Foreign grain beetles are a nuisance and annoyance but do not harm anything within the home. They cannot bite or sting and do not attack plants, furniture or the house structure. Further, they do not infest stored products and thus, are not “pantry pests.” Problems with this pest are usually self-limiting as the seasons change and as moisture trapped in new houses dries out naturally. If known moisture problems exist in an infested house (e.g., leaky pipes within a wall), these should be corrected. If the beetles are known to be originating outdoors, there may be some benefit to exclusion techniques such as a use of tight-fitting screens and doors and sealing or caulking cracks and crevices around windows, doors and screens to reduce the amount of entry. Beetles already inside the home can be vacuumed or swept up and discarded.

Do you live in Iowa and have an insect you would like identified?

The Iowa State University Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic will identify your insect, provide information on what it eats, life cycle, and if it is a pest the best ways to manage them. Please see our website for current forms, fees, and instructions on preserving and mailing insects.

Contact information for each states diagnostic laboratory for U.S. residents. If you live outside of Iowa please do not submit a sample without contacting the Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic.

Red Flour Beetle

Red Flour Beetle

Color: Reddish-brown

Characteristics: Adults have antennae with an abrupt, 3-segmented club. Sides of the thorax are rounded and although wings are functional, this insect commonly flies only short distances. Except for antennal and thorax differences, red flour beetles are almost identical to the confused flour beetle.

Size: About 1/8”

Potentially dangerous: No

Food Contamination

Pantry Pest

What Do Red Flour Beetles Look Like?

Red flour beetles are shiny and reddish-brown in color, they have a flattened, oval shaped body and are winged. They will use their wings to fly short distances. Adults will grow to be about 1/8th of an inch in length. Red flour beetles have distinctive antennae that abruptly end into an enlarged three-segmented club.

Is The Red Flour Beetle And The Confused Flour Beetle The Same Pest?

The red flour beetle and the confused flour beetle are both flour beetles but are considered to be different species. Both are pests that infest flour and cereal products and invade and become problematic in homes, grocery stores, mills and food processing plants. But the red flour beetle originally originated from Asia, while the confused flour beetle originated from Africa.

Even though they are different species they are so similar that that confused flour beetle was named so because it is so commonly “confused” with the red flour beetle. In fact they are so similar appearing that it is almost impossible to tell the two apart except under a magnifying glass. The confused flour beetle has a four-segmented antenna that gradually enlarges towards the tip into a “club”, while the red flour beetle has its’ abrupt ending three-segmented antenna.

Visit for more information.

Why Do I Have A Red Flour Beetle Problem?

The red flour beetle is of Indo-Australian origin and now occurs worldwide in the warmer climates. In the United States, it is found primarily in the southern states in homes and grocery stores.

What Are The Signs Of A Red Flour Beetle Infestation?

The most common signs that red flour beetles have invaded your home is to see the actual beetles either crawling or flying throughout your home, or by seeing them in your flour or cereal products. You may also notice holes where they have chewed through the packaging of flour or other dry cereal products that are stored in your kitchen or pantry areas.

What Kind Of Threat Do Red Flour Beetles Pose?

Appropriately named, the red flour beetle has a habit of infesting flour, but it will not feed on whole kernels or undamaged grain. Although humans are not harmed by this pest, red flour beetles do impart a disagreeable odor and taste to the flour they infest.

How Do I Control Red Flour Beetles?

Because these pest are found in our food supply, treating them with pesticides, if not properly trained can be harmful to people and pets. Contacting Holder’s Pest Solutions at the first sign of a red flour beetle infestation is the most effective way to protect your food items from this pest. Good sanitation efforts, inspecting items and keeping your home or business ventilated can also help keep these pests from entering your property.

Have more questions? Ready to scheduale your inspection or treatment?

    GLI Bot

    Beetles In Houston

    November 25th, 2019|0 Comments

    Have you seen beetles in your home? If you have, you’re not alone. We get calls regularly from concerned home and business owners that are seeing beetles inside their properties and although they aren’t sure what kinds of beetles they have, they know they have a problem.

    GLI Bot

    Weather Radar Picks Up Swarms of Bugs

    August 19th, 2015|0 Comments

    Technology can be a pretty amazing thing. Such is the case with Doppler radar. Doppler is used to monitor cloud cover and rain potential. It is so sensitive that it can tell how heavy or light the rain will be, if there is lightening or hail in the storm, or if there is a rotation indicating a tornado. Radar can detect wildfire smoke, bird migrations, and even bats. Amazing! But, did you know that it can also detect bugs. That’s right, bugs!

    GLI Bot

    What To Do About Pantry Pests In Texas

    December 31st, 2014|0 Comments

    Whether you cook in your home, or run a 5 star restaurant, this blog is for you. Pantry pest prevention is simple: seal pests from entering the areas where you keep your food, protect your food, and don’t carry pests in. If you follow these three basic rules, you won’t have to worry about beetles, weevils, moths, and other food infesting bugs.

    YOU ARE HERE Pest Watch > Lily beetle control

    Lily beetle control

  • Controlling lily beetle
  • Distribution
  • Suppliers
  • The lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii) is the number one pest of lilies. It can reduce a lily plant to nothing in just a few days, so needs to be controlled.

    Both the adult lily beetles (or red or scarlet lily beetle to give it its full name) and the horrible grubs devour lilies – leaves, flowers and flower buds.

    The adult beetle is about 5-8mm (about 1/4in) long, bright red with a black head and legs. Eggs (right) are laid on the underside of leaves in groups of up to 12-15; they vary in colour from bright orange to nearly red. The grubs have dirty orangey bodies and cover themselves with their own excreta; this gives them some protection from predators and they can be mistaken for birds’ droppings. They then fall onto the ground and pupate.

    Adult beetles emerge from the soil from late March to May, laying eggs from April until September. They overwinter in sheltered places, often in the soil but not always near lilies.

    It’s not only lilies that they have an appetite for – they also go for fritillaries (Fritillaria species) and Cardiocrinum – the tree lily.


    One of the best ways to control lily beetle is to inspect plants regularly, and pick off and kill any adults, eggs or grubs as soon as they’re seen. I do it early in the morning (before 7.30am) when the adults are sluggish and easy to catch. If disturbed they will drop to the ground on their backs where they can be difficult to spot, so sneak up on them quietly.

    Adult beetles and grubs can be controlled, and plants protected, by spraying with Bayer Garden Provado Ultimate Bug Killer* or Scotts BugClear Ultra; the larvae are more susceptible than the adults.

    Or you can use the “eco friendly” foliar spray Grazers G4, which reduces the feeding damage of lily beetle infestations. It also strengthens and stimulates plant growth. I’ve never used it, so I’d love to hear from anyone that has on how effective it is.

    Currently there are no biological controls available for lily beetle.

    Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

    * In 2016, Bayer Garden changed the active ingredient in Provado Ultimate Bug Killer to one that doesn’t have a systemic action.


    The lily beetle is not native to the UK, but it has now become widespread in England and Wales and was first found in Scotland in 2002 and in the Republic of Ireland in 2010.

    The RHS is conducting a survey on the distribution of lily beetle; take part in the survey


    Buy a range of pest control products from my affiliate companies, Harrod Horticultural and

    • Bayer Garden (Provado)
    • Grazers (Grazers G4)
    • The Scotts Company (BugClear Ultra)

    If you want to know more, or if you’ve got a gardening problem you need help with, then send an e-mail to: [email protected]

    Problems with slugs & snails, aphids, scale insect, vine weevil or whitefly?

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