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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love "common knowledge", "common sense", and "rules of thumb!" They are great starting points, as opposed to random, arbitrary values changed periodically based on trial and error until they no longer fail. There is no data like empiracle data!!!

The problem with "common knowledge", "common sense", and "rules of thumb" are that once something becomes classified as one of these things most people generally no longer question them.

Unfortunately for me, I am an engineer, and a gen-x'er. That means I am overly literal, want to understand the big picture, as well as each tiny little detail and all the answers to any question that starts with "why". Even worse, is that my generation didn't want to grow up and be president, and we don't trust authority, and don't have any heroes. Even though we expect to get let down by those we depend on, and lied to by those in power over us, we still feel saddened when it happens, and irritated every time we recognize that it has happened.

You now know me better than any astrologer, and if you have come this far and are still reading I will try to bore you with some ridiculous math. This is for those like myself that want to know why, why, why, and how.

The common sense rule of thumb is that an optimal bait trap contain certain things (old comb, LGO, tincture of queen, nasonov pheromone, incantations, and prayers) and be of a specific optimal size of 40 qts. It is the 40 qt size that I wish to discuss in this essay. :)

Sometimes when I read this people say 40 litres. These are not equivalent because 40 l is a little more than 42 1//4 quarts. That may be picking a nit, but, again I am quite literal.

So the next piece of common advice I see is "Just use a deep box/super" that's a great size! Well, That bothers me for so many reasons... Remember the engineer thing? So according to the Langstroth designs I have seen, that comes out to 45 qt or an 8 frame deep which comes out to 37 and 1/2 qt. Which using the idea that these are all just estimates and so either of those should be in some good range. Now, I have heard people say, "I just use an old nuc" or whatever... probably goes to say that this 40 qt is definitely not being taken seriously by them because we are looking at about 23 and 3/4 quarts. So the nice round number of 40 aside it could be as low as 23-3/4 and as high as 45 qt. Although I think most times the 40 qt number gets handed out it is with "at least 40" So the high end of this mess may not be significant, but if this numbers is shared as a minimum starting point... well you get me.

I have also seen flower pot traps that are 13 x 14 round. These come out to about 34-5/8 quart. Another one that crops up are the 5 gallon bucket. Obviously, 5 gallons is 20 quarts.. and though a five gallon bucket itself can hold another 3 or so quarts, it is still pretty low at 23 which is even less than a 5 frame deep nuc. However, if you go to Food Lion back in the bakery and smile nice, and ask with your best manners they will give you, for free, with their compliments, and are happy to do so, the used butter cream frosting buckets. These are taller than my 5 gallon buckets, but they are sold by weight not volume so unless I measure one, I am not sure how big they are. But I would estimate 7 gallon, but still less than 10.

Anyway, all that to come up with this. Let's say there is an actual magical number and it is some how based on the size of a bee, and the number of eggs a queen can lay, and the amount of food stores they will need to pack away, and bee space, and the solunar tables and all that stuff and it is actually 40 (which seems like an oddly round number, hence the "about" and other estimated "close enough" things to go with it. It would be easier to do the next part if we did 40 l because that so easily converts that it isn't funny. So for 40 l that converts to 40,000 ml directly. And an ml is equivalent to a cc, quite interchangeably. Metric system says that the amount of water at whatever magical temperature and altitude that fits inside a cubic centimeter (cc) shall be a (ml) and will have the mass of a gram. ****ed convenient. So if you take a box made up of any arbitrary length and width given in cm, you can divide it by the expected cc or ml value and get the remaining dimension. Here is an example. Let's say that you wanted to put frames into a swarm trap and because of that you know the 1 dimension has to be 470 mm (or 47 cm) because that is what a langstroth interior width is although we call it 18 3/8" even though it actually converts to 18-1/2". :) And I have gone tangental.

So 1 dimension (frame width) is 470 mm or 47 cm and you would like to have something that fits under an arm so it is easy to hump up and down a ladder not unlike the aspect ratio of a 5 frame nuc. So let's take that dimension (200 mm or 20 cm) for the second one, really love the metric system for cabinetry!! Again, 200 mm is just a whisker under 7-7/8" and the official measurement for some reason is 7-3/4. But, I will perhaps initiate a discussion about that in another thread. :) This gives you 2 dimensions to produce an area.

47 * 20 is 9400 and 40,000 / 9400 that gives you 42.5531914894 and since no one really uses cm and no one really uses parts of a mm I magically round that to 425 (go ahead and argue that it should be 426, but in the vein of nice round numbers I would be more likely to say let's stick with round cm and actually go with 420 mm (or 42 cm and I will pause here to see how many are Doug Adams fans, and how many are stoners. I will expect this to be an age difference thing, and for those that belong to both groups I am sure you mind was just blown. :) )

So the perfect 5F nuc based swarm trap size in metric would be 470mm L x 200mm W x 420mm H.
If you add the height of 1 deep plus the height of one medium you get 410mm. This might be a reason to further round the 410. If you are stockpiling sides and such or stock dressed to common measurements, you could easily laminate two together to accomplish this number. But if you read the next section on the imperial system, you will see a happy little accident that makes it so much more interesting. :)

Depending on which side of the boarder or pond you are on we might be done. And for those who I may have bored to death with metric details 420 mm is about 16-1/2 inches. But if you are still with me, let's try this in "English" or imperial or sae or whatever,... :)

So all the previous assumptions in play as far as magical volume number of 40 let's assume that we want a 40 qt (or 10 gallon) container. This is a little tougher, because cubic inches or cubic feet or whatever are not so nicely tied into the gallon ounce etc. We like numbers like 12 instead of 10 and things like that so of course... 1 oz is equivalent to about 1.8 cubic inches. And there are 32 oz in a qt there are 57-3/4 cc to a quart exactly. So in 40 of them there are 2310 cu in. Since we are doing our measurements in inches, let's attempt the same game as before. You decide you really like a 5 frame nuc's size. Which internally requires 18-3/8" for the frame width. and 7-3/4" for the 5 frame width plus extra space calculated into the 5F nuc width. We start with an area of:

Come on, let's not see the same hands every time!!! :)
18 3/8 * 7 3/4 = 142 13/32 which is obviously better than using the metric system... Did we all get the same answer? That is a crappy number because who uses 32nd's of an inch. But certainly lets go through the rest of the exercise before we round!

2310 / 142 13/32 = just a hair more than 16 7/32. However, we need a round number and that means something to the nearest 8th. So 8/32 is 1/4 and 6/32 is 3/16 because 1/4 is a round number because it is a full 8th.

The perfect 5F nuc based bait hive dimensions if you like inches should be 18 3/8" L x 7 3/4" W x 16 1/4" D.
In case it matters, 16 1/4" is equal to the height of 1 deep plus 1 medium. A little glue and some clamps and here is the happy little accident I promised earlier!!

If all the volumetric magic numbers don't mater critically, then I would say this comes down to 3 numbers 1 of which is pretty critical, and that is the frame size if you want to put a frame in it. The second number though it has some variability to it, and is based on 1 a standard (width of 5 F nuc) and presents a physically comfortable aspect ratio for carrying up or down a ladder. If it were changed by a couple inches in either direction it would make no difference. But let's say we like it. The last number is completely based off of these, and it is rounder arbitrarily to boot. So, since the volume is not hyper critical, I think I would further round it to 15-7/8" and why is that?

Many people, myself includes, would choose to build something such as this out of sheet goods, either bcx or advantech or whatever the Orange Lowes' equivalent of that is and so forth. Sheet goods in this country come as 48" x 96". For someone cutting out such things, it is convenient to be able to cut an even number with no waste in one direction either the 48" or the 96" side. And of course, because of the magic of the imperial system, and feet and inches..... 16 goes evenly into both 48 as well as 96!! Who needs stupid base 10 :) Why, then 15-7/8"? Because on my table saw, I have an 1/8" kerf. So each cut loses 1/8" so 16" - 1/8" = 15-7/8" for each piece cut. (Well, perhaps not the very last piece, but you might want to cut that as well, since it will even out the lack or dead square edges on plywood. :)

This could certainly go further, like when constructing a box depending on joinery and configuration, you can lose the interior distance equal to up to double the thickness of your material (depending on whether the controlling panel is wrapped by the sides, or butted against them or rabbetted (rebated depending again on your relations to the boarder/pond) into it. But I decided that since the volumetric size is apparently not all that critical, then we can probably have the leeway of any of that.

But that would be how someone could come up with a design for a purpose built box requiring a specific volume while having other guiding numbers to try and honor.

This is not posted as a question, and it is likely no one will actually gain nearly as much entertainment from it as I had thinking about it. Some days, my mind is a dangerous playground. It can be a scary place, come play with me :)
 

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Sometimes it sucks to have an engineering mind. However, there's a lot of stuff out there, doing stuff well, that wouldn't otherwise, because someone had a somewhat obsessive attention to details. I'm not making excuses for my own behavior, it takes different kinds of thinkers to find out potential truth. It is known that a corporation that recruits just the personality traits that they get along with suffer from lack of perspective. I both suffered the lawyer types and appreciated them at the same time. The best innovation work we did as an engineering group was an affair that sometimes resembled a dog fight.:D Despite the bruised egos I rather enjoyed the debate and learned a lot in the process. At least there was a rule that questions must be listened too and considered. Everyone has different experiences that form their respective positions. I had to laugh at myself a little after co-workers made intuitive decisions, but could not explain themselves, only to find out later that they were spot on in their feeling based assessment. Sometimes we can't define why we think something.

I generally listened to the common or conventional idea that a swarm trap might work a little better if it was considered by the bees to be large enough. Whatever that means, Swarms vary in size. I don't think anyone weighs them post catch.

As far as frugal use of construction materials goes, I try to stretch dollars but also save cut off pieces for other uses.

So I would build swarm traps, if you plan on using a frame of comb or 2 in it, to the size that accommodates that size. Considering that one might have some wild comb in the space left over.

I think we should work on a mini camera linked to a phone that will trigger when a swarm trap gets occupied, or at least trigger when the scouts show up.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Absinthe, Tom Seeley did a lot of research in determining what volumetric capacity was preferred by the bees. This was done in a closed environment with swarms of bees that were forced to choose one size over another, all other variables being the same. 40L is arbitrary in that it represents a mid point in the range of the various sizes most preferred by the bees. Dr. Leo's swarm trap plans make very good use of the standard 4x8 sheet goods we can buy at Lowe's. That trap is essentially a deep and a medium as a single unit, it is actually a bit deeper and a bit wider, but that works out ok and minimizes waste.

I am a baby boomer and I promise you that you do not hold a monopoly on demanding to know the why about everything. It is just a sign of intelligence. Likewise, I question authority when authority is clearly stupid. Take our fascist governor's mandate that everyone must wear a face covering when going out in public. Certainly not because of any great fear of viruses. Last week he was pbotographed several times in Virginia Beach doing the ol meet and greet with nary a facemask in sight. But I digress...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I will just say this on the mask issue and then not discuss political stuff in open forum. In pretty much every state it is illegal for most adults over the age of 15 I think to wear a mask that obscures their identity in public. I believe they specifically mention masks and hoods, so I guess I know why, when, where those laws originated. Throughout all this, I have yet to hear anyone mention it or address it. I don't mind wearing it, so I do. I guess I could raise a ruckus, if it bothered me, but I would just as soon, go around looking like a ninja all the time anyway, and stay out of public anyway.

That said, I would love to know what the number is, and what it is based on. It is quite interesting that it coincides so well with the 10FD box. But I am under the impression that was an arbitrary decision based on some particular easily available packaging of the day. Happens all the time. When the computer punch card... sorry I guess I am dating myself here.. "The overall dimensions of punched cards used for data processing have remained the same since Herman Hollerith invented the medium: 7 3/8 inches wide by 3 1/4 inches high by .007 inches thick. Prior to 1929, this was a standard size for many US banknotes, and Hollerith apparently chose it so that he could store cards in boxes made for the Treasury Department."

but I just had fun playing with the numbers. It was a neat little blog entry
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading the blog/post. Langstroth may have come to the same conclusions when he designed the 10 frame hive, although I have head that it had to do with some packing boxes.

In Virginia it is illegal to wear a mask in public. I believe it is a felony to do so and carry a lawfully posessed concealed firearm. I never saw how any of those laws were suspended so that an executive order could be issued. I always thought that laws, enactments and repeals,had to go through the state legislature
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Glad you enjoyed it.

Yeah, all laws should have a 1 year sunset. That would fix the system. That and reduce voting age to 15-1/2 and make it mandatory. :)
 

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Not to stir the pot too much, wouldn't want to create froth.......ing.

Read one study that suggests that cloth masks are only 1 to 2% effective in preventing virus transmission. Then there is the issue that probably the vast majority aren't fitted properly. At medical facilities, mask fit is something that is supposed to be done to certify that they are actually doing as they are intended.

I attribute the mask mandates for the general public as herd mentality manipulations. Otherwise the government would have specified a mask type and replacement/re-sanitation mandate. How could that be checked? Our own fascist governor allowed canoeing or kayaking but no motor boats and no travel to vacation homes. Never heard an explanation. Of course her husband was caught up near their vacation home trying to launch his boat.

I can attest to the problem of following the herd when it comes to some technical arenas. Everyone seems to be doing something the way everyone else does it. At least until someone comes along and actually questions and decides to diverge from the herd. Boy can it upset some apple carts. I have thought about starting a company called "apple cart innovation" With of course a picture of a cart tipped over and apples rolling around. At one time my brother had a company that did innovation for other companies. As a former VP for Philips Corporation he found that too much energy was spent on people jockeying around for promotions rather than really trying to do what was best for growth through innovation.

I always seem to have more questions than answers. One of the Bk I talked to about swarm traps said he will usually stack 2 or even 3 NUC boxes for the trap. It makes some sense to me because it has enough volume for an average swarm and seems more like a tree cavity. I just wondered about trying to climb down a ladder with 3 NUC's. I suppose a rope and a ratchet strap might work to get it to the ground.

"Yeah, all laws should have a 1 year sunset. That would fix the system. That and reduce voting age to 15-1/2 and make it mandatory"

At least have a real conversation of what Liberty means. Having order doesn't mean control is paramount. I would also make mandatory classes that taught logic and ethics. Maybe a house rule where representatives caught fabricating "evidence" or hiding it, get immediately booted for life. I would also ban corporate funny money. Corporations are not citizens per say. So attempting to buy a vote should have dire consequences. If you take the $ out of office holding, then we probably would get a more representative government. I still can't figure out how those sworn to uphold the constitution seem bent on destroying it. Seems to me that a lot of them have violated their oath, so I say expel them. Sort of like a student cheating on an exam, they should suffer the consequences.
 

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40L - 60L volume range and don't think too much.
I'd err on the upper end of this range if have to choose.
This topic has been discussed in this sub-forum N times - search and see.

Very briefly - this particular volume range has to do with volumes of natural tree cavities (the natural habitat of the honey bees for millions of years in Eurasia).
In this sub-forum some details of primitive beekeeping are discusses where the primitive man-made hollows are also made in 40L - 60L range (so to emulate the true wild bee trees).
https://www.beesource.com/forums/sh...rimitive-beekeeping-(bee-trees-log-hives-etc)

My dimensions are driven by my own custom standards (equivalent of 12-14 Lang medium frames).
20200520_130840.jpg
 

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I think it's worth remembering that the primary studies (on bait hives) were not done with an extensive range of box sizes and shapes. There were little ones, medium ones and big ones (or perhaps they were just little and big?). The shapes were cubes or long/tall and narrow (can't remember the name for this type of object - not enough coffee yet this morning!). Results were presented as 40 litres > 10 litres, or cubes = long/tall ... so not 40 litres is better than 37 litres and worse than 43 litres.

As GregV says there are additional studies of holes occupied in hollow trees by Seeley and others. Unless the hollows are man made I'd argue that their volume is of less relevance as they reflect what's there that the bees can use.
 

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According to Seeley (The Lives of the Bees, pp. 117-118), he tested 10L, 40L, 70L (later 80L), 100L volumes.
Overall he neglected to more closely study the 40-60L range.
And so the closest to optimal size (as indicated by the swarm acceptance) was 40L from the options presented.

But really, T. Seeley simply failed to study more closely the optimal cavity range for the bees (once it became clear 40L was preferred).
Maybe he did not think of it; maybe he was constrained by money; maybe he pre-set his mind and would not change it; whatever - he would not discuss this it he book.

Indeed, the volumes studied were either TOO small (10L) or TOO large (70L, 80L, 100L) or something more or less acceptable (the only offered in that range was the 40L volume).
And so, the 40L is not at all the optimal volume - which of often presented AS IF it is.
40L just happened to be within acceptable range - which is somewhere in 40L-60L range and depends on a particular case/particular swarm.

This being said, it is better to err on the larger end of this range (closer to 60L) when making your traps, so to not repel a particularly large swarm (due to too small of a trap).
 

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I just set out some of what I've got and many get filled, no regards to Seeley. I posted these videos earlier this year. First box filled, the smallest. Last two filled this week - five framers. The largest, a 10 frame with Jumbo frames not filled yet. On the other side of the yard a 12 framed Jumbo filled with a small swarm. A double 8 frame medium with granulated honey frames SHB slime easily filled. A stack of supers no comb, no lure, filled. My policy...set it, bait it, log it, sit back and wait. Size does not matter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02orkU7EQL0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HISY6Owr2Vc
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Thanks for setting me straight Greg. I could not remember which specific sizes were tested and did not have time to look through my copy of "Honey Bee Democracy".

I agree with Ollie that the best traps are whatever you have available. Can't catch swarms if you do not have traps set out.
 

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In Honey Bee Democracy, Chapter 3. Dream Home for Honeybees, Dr. Seeley describes how he experimentally determined a swarm's size preference and recorded how they determined the size. He did not come to a conclusion on WHY they prefer that size only that they did measure it.

Walt Wright provided a pretty strong rational based on species survival.
The minimum size is one where enough resources from the spring nectar flow can be stored to allow the colony to survive through the summer and autumn dearths and support colony reproduction the following spring.
The maximum size is an issue of thermodynamic constraints.


If you are a fan of 628DirtRooster on YouTube, you will have seen the numerous and varied spaces that bees are prone to inhabit.

Bees are in control; humans are just along for the honey.
 

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In Virginia it is illegal to wear a mask in public. I believe it is a felony to do so and carry a lawfully posessed concealed firearm. I never saw how any of those laws were suspended so that an executive order could be issued. I always thought that laws, enactments and repeals,had to go through the state legislature
JW,

I believe there is a clause in the VA statute which allows exceptions during a state of emergency. So Gov. Northam backdated the mask mandate to March 12th, 2020 (I think) to coincide with the state of emergency. Then, of course, he places the responsibility for enforcement on the business owners and pastors. What a farce.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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When I frequent a business, I look at the posting on the door. If they are asking me to please wear a mask, I will. If they demand that I do, I either take my business elsewhere or enter without, like many of the other folks in the store already. It is a farce, and the stupid sheeple have no clue that their homemade mask from some loosely woven fabric is totally ineffective at stopping the transmission of the virus. There was a reason that the N95 designation was so important.

I am a fan of Randy and am amazed at some of the places in which bees choose to live.
 

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I just set out some of what I've got and many get filled, no regards to Seeley. I posted these videos earlier this year. First box filled, the smallest. Last two filled this week - five framers. The largest, a 10 frame with Jumbo frames not filled yet. On the other side of the yard a 12 framed Jumbo filled with a small swarm. A double 8 frame medium with granulated honey frames SHB slime easily filled. A stack of supers no comb, no lure, filled. My policy...set it, bait it, log it, sit back and wait. Size does not matter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02orkU7EQL0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HISY6Owr2Vc
Agree. I catch 2 or more in my backyard in residential Portland OR every year, and they go into anything available. My “swarm traps” are 5f nucs built with excess vertical height to give me (if I recall correctly) about 38 Liters volume. Excess space below has never been an issue and I toss all manner of wax, propolis and slum gum in there to make it seem homey. Built from scrap 5/8” ply; well-painted; interior mopped with propolis tincture. Equal numbers of swarms have gone into empty hives, singles and doubles (all the boxes have the tincture coating inside). All of these are at ground level. Have one really nice trap made from a scrounged kitchen cabinet,that been sitting up in a tree about 12’, with old comb, baited every 2 wks with a hit of Swarm Commander or 2 drops of LGO; nary a single swarm in there in 5 years.
 

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...... Size does not matter.
What you fail to note is, however - you have an assortment of sizes at a single spot.
Bees are free to choose from what is available.
This is similar to my backyard - assortment of sizes and trap heights (ground level and porch level).
But the keyword is - an assortment.

If, however, one to install a single trap at a single spot - you want to maximize your chances best you can for all possible swarm sizes and genetics.
And so - the optimal size does matter (not too big and not too small for a given swarm).
A single trap at a single location is the most typical case for the swarm chasers.
The size can be a turn-off.
 
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