Gnat attacks drive horses, riders buggy

Did somebody move the Gnat Line north? Gnats are driving horses and their riders buggy in north Fulton County, Channel 2 Action News reports.

A wet fall and above normal temperatures have brought on a gnat infestation that’s causing problems for horse owners in Milton and across North Georgia -- well beyond the line across Middle Georgia that generally marks the northernmost range of the insects.

"Up here you get them once in a blue moon, but nothing, nothing like this before," horse trainer Crystal Matusevich told Channel 2. "October, November, they got really bad, got into the horse's ears."

The little insects are swarming, biting and causing infections among animals – as well as annoying riders.

"They end up around your head, in your eyes, you breath them in," Matusevich said. "In November, we thought OK, they’re going to be gone, but every time it gets warm, they were back."

Equine veterinarian Ken Marcella told Channel 2 that conditions this autumn have been ideal for gnats.

"This fall we've seen a lot of moisture, and you top that off with late-season warm weather, there are lots of gnats around," Marcella said, noting that some horses he’s seen have had to be tranquilized so the doctor could treat their skin.

“This year the gnats have been bad, as bad as I’ve seen them in years,” he said.