DURHAM – Bee Downtown is creating buzz on Earth Day, announcing the addition of three partners to its effort to boost honeybee populations.

“Every third bite of food we eat is thanks to a honey bee. They’re the backbone of our agricultural system,” said Bee Downtown founder and CEO Leigh-Kathryn Bonner. “North Carolina’s foundation as a state is built on a strong history and respect for agriculture. It is an honor and a joy to work with companies that understand the importance of supporting our earth and our farmers while also offering their employees an engaging and educational experience unlike any other.”

Parmer RTP, RTI International and Appalachian Mountain Brewing will be adding hives at their corporate locations. The hives will serve as homes for hundreds of thousands of bees to Bee Downtown’s existing 150 hives spread across more than 50 businesses.

“For its newest corporate partners, Bee Downtown will install and maintain beehives on their campuses to help rebuild healthy honey bee populations while simultaneously providing year-round employee engagement and leadership development programs for their employees,” the company noted, pointing out this is its fourth “bee season.”

Other partners include Burt’s Bees, SAS and IBM.

Parmer RTP will kick off its efforts on Wednesday.

Appalachian Mountain Brewing will launch its efforts on Thursday.

RTI’s kickoff is set for Friday.

“As part of our commitment to environmental stewardship, sustainability and community, RTI is proud to partner with Bee Downtown on this important effort to rebuild healthy honey bee populations in our area,” said Jim Gibson, RTI International executive vice president and chief operating officer, in a statement. “Our mission to improve the human condition starts at home, and we look forward to working together to strengthen our relationship with bees and our environment.”