Re: swarm trapping
I don't think your going to find anything "cheaper" than cardboard. I would advise using some old deep supers and a frame of comb if you have any. Cardboard for obvious reasons doesn't hold up very well to weathered conditions. Most of my swarms have been caught in a standard deep box as opposed to a 5 frame nuc, but you never know. A swarm lure never hurts either. Don't think cheap, think creative.
"Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti