Beehives Everywhere: Examples of the Beehive as Symbol in Utah

Ever present in Utah, the beehive is a type of “invasive narrative.” This concept from folklore refers to a story that has taken root in a specific place or locale and is particularly prominent.

These stories are often represented by a particular image(s) and are “not a story that locals live by; rather, it is a story that locals have to live with…They don’t go away, they are not always easy to deal with, and they usually require that locals grapple with them in one way or another” (Thomas, 51).

For Utah, the beehive initially represents the story of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ historical and contemporary presence and influence. Over time, Utahns continually adapted, incorporated, popularized, and secularized the beehive into multiple contexts outside of this original story.

The following pages illustrate only a few of the many ways Utahns use the beehive to communicate while also handling, adapting, and changing its story. While appearing under one category, many of the examples fit under and across multiple uses.