The state Department of Food and Agriculture is kicking off a campaign today to help farmers identify the red imported fire ant. The ants have infected several Southern states, attacking crops, livestock and people, and causing billions of dollars in damage a year. The ants are thought to have arrived in California by stowing away in beehives shipped in from those states. California officials have found the largest red imported fire ant mound and area of infestation in Merced County. The mound is about two and a-half feet tall and about four feet wide. The infestation covers 24-hundred acres in the county. C-D-F-A spokesman Larry Cooper says it´s important that people know the ants are dangerous and they should stay away from their mounds.