What determines if the hive is a weak hive or not? On my two hives the one always has a lot of bees on the outside entrance. Does that mean anything? ( And Yes, I have a lot to learn) This is my first experience with bees.
On my two hives the one always has a lot of bees on the outside entrance.
this generally indicates a good population for the hive (and is generally a good external sign for telling you what is happening inside the box without ever break apart a box or breaking into a sweat) plus typically suggest ventilation of this hive is something you may wish to consider improving. bees bearding at the front door can also take place prior to the hive swarming but is also quit typical whenever temperature and humidity gets high enough so that the worker take themselves to the front porch to remove their body heat from the brood rearing area.
to your question... generally a weak hive is indiated by low numbers and the inability of a hive to obtain resources but is almost always reflected by a poor laying pattern. that is to say.... weak numbers of worker or disproportinate numbes of drones point the finger towards a weak hive but both of these are 'told to you in fact' by the queens laying pattern (or lack thereof).
Not for the original poster, but perhaps a generalized comment....
Weak hives can be tolerated or dealt with in the spring and early summer just as with splits, small swarms etc. Nothing should be weak going into August and September. Weak hives during dearths will be robbed out and lost. Do what you need to do to, by combining or correcting any problems, very soon.