When it come to buying the empty frames or the wired ones with wax strip. Which one should I choose.
I have a NUC to put in at some point which already has 4 frames in.
My flow hive come with just the frames, but have been told to get the ones with wire and was strip because in WA it gets so hot the honeycomb that the bees make can melt and collapse from the frames with no added support! Thought? Thanks.
if you are a beginner or relatively new beekeeper I would personally go with wired frames with sheets of foundation wax. Make sure they are quality frames with Australian bees wax foundation. there are cheap evil frames with fake non-bees wax foundation coming out of china. Avoid them! Using starter strips and foundationless frames can work very well - but can also be more tricky and take more experience. Using wired frames with foundation will get you off to a great start and could save you some troubles down the road.
It isn’t true that the honey comb will melt and collapse in WA, well its not for myself and many others. Foundationless comb breaking off tends to be during inspection when it isn’t braced on the sides and/or bottom of the frame. It is much more common in a top bar hive that only supports the comb at the top.
With a Nuc it is really your choice. The 4 fully drawn frames will provide a guide for foundationless frames being drawn out as the real pitfall with foundationless frames as Jack alludes to is that they will form wonky comb when the hive is not level side to side. Frames with foundation do tend to give the bees a head start as they need to convert less nectar into building the comb.
Certainly have a play with foundationless frames in your honey super if you would like some honey comb for yourself or friends/family. In the brood box there is no real advantage. I think flow ships with the foundationless frames because they then don’t need to navigate the import biosecurity rules of all the jurisdictions they ship to.
One of my nucs last summer made a section of wonky doubled up comb on a frame with foundation, I think it was four frames in a five frame nuc box from memory.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to cycle it out of the brood box in time after transferring it to prevent SHB from using the pocket they had formed as a beachhead for their assault.
I always use foundation but even then they can do weird things with it if the spacing isn’t correct etc.
I have tried foundationless frames and starter strips but had too many issues to continue with them in my apiary. My advice is to use wired frames and a full sheet of bees wax foundation. Fill the brood box with the right number of frames and have them sitting shoulder touching shoulder and you won’t have anything near the issues of ‘open’ frames.
In 47 years of bee keeping I have only had comb collapse from heat in a three or four day period. So there is more powerful arguments in using wired frames and foundation than comb collapse.