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Installing Spring Clips


There appear to be two main methods for holding your hive boxes secured together: the strap + emlock or spring clips (also known as Z clips).

I decided to use the spring clips as I thought they looked neater and also rather cheap.

I got the spring clips from Hornsy Beekeeping and used some small screws I already had.

Whilst they are relatively easy to install, I wanted to find some documentation on how to do it, but it is quite lacking. The only decent details I found were from David Cushman’s website which shows a variety of methods for a very similar looking Z clips.

After examining my boxes and bottom boards, I went with slightly different dimensions because of the way the bottom board for the flow hive is constructed (with the sloping pieces towards the back). Instead of 20mm from each side, I went with 25mm on the lower side and 15mm on the upper side. Also, the clips I had were reversed to the David Cushman version due to the way the “handle” is shaped, so the clips is screwed in on the right side, no the left.

In order to make it consistent, in case I moved boxes around in the future, I did the same with the brood box to super box too. Note: I am using a plastic queen excluder, so the dimensions I used are fine for this as it is only a few mm in height, but if you are using a metal excluder which I think is about 5mm (?), you may need to adjust for this.

I found that the clips appear to be quite strong when clipped in, and whilst quite simple, look like they should do their job.

Here are some more photos:

I hope this can help anyone who wants to also do this installation.


Very tidy and simple solution


This has inspired me. These spring clips look similar to the way a bungee is used to secure a paddle to a kayak.

More to follow.


Those are nice simple clips but I am not sure that you are not ‘fixing’ a problem that doesn’t exist.

Hive boxes stick together pretty good, I am not sure that in the normal course of business you really need a clip of any sort.

Only time we have have a hive ‘come undone’ was when my dad and spouse dropped the damned thing. And nothing short of pallet straps would have saved that hive from disaster…

In general do folks add clips or hooks to their hives? Curious if we are in the minority?


I know they do use these for transporting bees, so maybe it is designed for that.

At a bee keeping course I recently did, they used emlocks + straps on all their hives (basically a strap around the whole hive with a locking mechanism to hold it tight). They said that it was used to prevent the hives coming apart if knocked over (for example, if your hives are in a field where there are cattle or sheep which may knock them over).

I am using it just to keep the boxes in position. Perhaps it is overkill…


For sure the big pollinators secure their hives for bulk transport. We see that all the time here in California.

And livestock could present a challenge as well. And no one ever regretted overkill once they needed it!

Like I said, the family is the biggest threat to our hives in our yard ; -)

Bee Hive Base Sizes

I have never seen anyone in the UK using clips. The weight of the box, coupled with the bees use of propolis to stick everything together, keeps things in place.


I’ve only ever seen them as belt and braces to move hives. Usually three straps is enough


Hi @sara,

Way down here in the land down under, especially in Christchurch NZ, we get these things call earth quakes which make hives (and houses) bounce up and down, and usually fall apart. Typically we strap them up (the hives, not the houses), but these clips look like a great design.

I am wondering if two sets of screws would be worthwhile so you can shift boxes up or down (swapping brood boxes over) and still use, or not, a queen excluder. Makes sense in my mind, but I’ve never physically used these clips.


Thanks for posting this, I use these clips on a plastic hive that is at risk of people kicking it over. Also for the lids of hives to prevent them from being blown off in a storm. Generally speaking, they are not very strong and can be pulled out at the screw so my advise would be to also use an Emlock if transporting. There is another variety that could be used to hold your hive components together.


Snickering slightly here in my home in San Francisco…

Yeah, earthquakes. I guess I figure that a quake big enough to rock my hive off its base is going to be presenting more problems to me than the state of my hive…


Hi Justin, if cows are likely to knock a hive over. That would be the quickest way I know of of SHB getting a start on sliming out beehives.


I have put my screws in the same position, so they could be turned around (180°) and/or swapping the top box to the bottom box (note: although currently I only have the one top flow frame box, so I won’t be doing that - I do plan on getting a second brood box, so that will allow for it).

I have seen some people put it on the ends of the box too, rather than the sides.

If you take a look at the link to David Cushman’s website you will see about 5 other versions of it, one of which may suit you better.


We lost our house for three years (five years ago) after a big earthquake and the bee hive fell to pieces. We really missed the bees, so worth doing. You never know when…


You all had a very hard time of it! Those were bad quakes. You are so right that you never know when…


Interestingly, and related to this discussion, we have had over 12,000, yes twelve thousand, aftershocks since the big ones five years ago. Of this at least 20 or more have been big enough to shift bee hives and rattle them open. Everyone has straps!


Thanks for that @MrBear. Do the clips hang down when released and get in the way when removing and replacing boxes?


Arrrgh. Don’t confuse me with facts!

I don’t want to add straps or clips to my beeutiful hive! I like how it looks all perfect and simple…


Yes, I agree. Just rely on the propolis to hold it all together :slight_smile:


Agree with no clips needed…
Your problems are much more likely to be that the bees stick everything together and you can’t get it apart.
Heck, I’ve moved hives a short distance without straps when they’ve been so well stuck together by the bees.
It’s an engineering solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.