Another bee mystery! It was sunny earlier today, but when I went to check on the bees later, it was colder and the hives were in shadow. I found the strangest thing! There were some bees sitting on each of the hives that did not move when I prodded them. But what was really odd was one of the hives had a little cluster of bees clinging to some of the dead grass and stems below the hive (which is propped on cinder blocks). They were just clinging there completely rigid. They were not exactly frozen - it wasn't cold enough. They were just immobilized because the air temperature had probably dropped below 42 degrees. My bee book says bees lose their ability to move when the temperature drops this low.
I can only think that what happened was, some came out when the sun was out earlier in the day, and were happily sunning themselves outside their hive when the sun suddenly went behind a cloud or behind a tree. The temperature dropped, and there they were, stuck!
You will think I am nuts, but I felt bad for them and started trying to pry some off and get them to the landing platform of their hive to see if they could make their way in and get warm again. I was able to do this for 2 or 3 clinging to the hive, and a couple of those were able to crawl into the entrance of the hive, but the ones clinging to the dead grass stems I couldn't budge. They were tightly attached by their claws. I gave up and had to leave them where they were. When I came back a couple of days later, there was a little pile of decaying bee bodies lying on the ground where the little cluster had been. Very sad. Perhaps I saved two. A bit silly, really, because bees don't live very long anyway.