Most years it does not get really cold in North Carolina. Well, this year was one of the exceptions. In December 2017 we had temps in the teens and single digits for about 2 weeks. Then there was a little bit of reprieve of temps in the 40's and 50's and then another waft of cold AND SNOW! Again, it doesn't usually snow much in the Piedmont of North Carolina. January 2018 was the exception with 2.5 inches of snow at The Bee Lady Apiary and to the east and north or me, they got a lot more.
A couple of days later, the snow is melting in 50 degree temperatures and I see life at the entrance of the bee hives. All but one has the bees coming and going. Some are taking out casualties of the cold weather. Older bees die and the undertakers in the hive remove the dead bees. I try to help a little by removing dead bees from the entrance, with a leaf or feather. This death is a normal process after the cold that we experienced.
The hive that I do not see any life at the entrance, I leave it alone. After the last cold spell, it took them longer to revive than the other hives. Yes, it is a weaker hive, but they just might surprise me!
I put my bee watering container back out so that the bees can get fresh water, and like every year, I have to rescue some bees from the swimming pool.
I like to compare this to when the bees are in the state of Torpor. If it is really cold, the bees go into a type of hibernation where they look like they are dead. In the warmer temperatures that follow, the bees are warmed, and they come back to life.