The whole wood/wax vs. plastic issue can be complicated and everyone seems to have an opinion. I know that the first time I tried plastic, I hated it. Yet, a local beek uses it exclusively and loves it....won't use anything else. Sometimes bees don't like to get started on plastic for all sorts of reasons and there are many different types of plastic frames or foundation. Certainly, there are advantages and disadvantages. There's a lot less work using plastic frames/foundation than assembling wooden frames and putting wax foundation it. Plastic can be sturdier although I've seen heat warped frames here and there. Obviously, plastic can't be melted down but it can be pressure washed clean. When you're done with a plastic frame, it may or may not be recyclable.
Wood can be more time consuming and may be more fragile. If you're extracting, wood, wax and wire will hold together fairly well but plastic is more durable...at least as far as the frame goes. Bees seem to draw on wax before plastic although, when a flow is on, they'll usually draw on anything that's in the hive.
I have both but prefer wood and wax. Old frames make great kindling and I don't mind tossing old comb into the solar wax melter.
I don't know a lot about foam hives but I've seen them here and there. Maybe I'll try them someday.
8 frame hives are certainly lighter and easier to handle. If you're worried about lifting then 8 frame hives are a great alternative. I've seen ten frame hive bodies with 8 frame supers so that the honey boxes are more easily lifted. You have to cover the open space on the top 10 frame brood box if you're going to go this way.
Hope this helps. You'll get lots more opinions I'm sure.
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