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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