|The Fall Line a.k.a. "The Gnat Line"|
"What is the Gnat Line?"
Much like the seven wonders of the world, the Gnat Line is just one of many wonders of the Deep South. Needless to say, it has been an interesting experience to receive the number of emails from folks who really are searching for the timeless answer to this question.
It is not a gauntlet of hovering swarms of these pestering insects guarding the unseen border south of the Mason Dixon Line. Technically speaking, the Gnat Line refers to a geographic fall line that geologists or archaeologists [or both] believe may have been a prehistoric beach or shoreline. While the graphic map above shows the line beginning a little further north, most scientists believe it begins somewhere near the southeastern coastline of Virginia and proceeds south through North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and on to the Gulf of Mexico. The geographic region below this line is often referred to as the southeastern coastal plains region. Many refer to this region as "the Deep South"; most Southerners feel the Deep South includes the entire states' regions rather than parts thereof.
Just know this: the further into the Deep South you venture, the thicker the onslaught of this zoological phenom.
ABOUT THE BUG:
While there are gnats found near and wide most everywhere, the Southern species found 'South of' this geographic anomaly will, in all likelihood, carry you away. They show up in cloud form, swirl all about your face and aspire to pepper the center of your two front teeth at any important outdoor gathering.
Even our beloved Lewis Grizzard had something to say about this pestering bug:
"A South Georgia Hazard:
GNATS: Gnats, tiny bugs, are the cause of a number of deaths in South Georgia each year. Some of these deaths have been attributed to swallowing a large number of gnats while talking or eating. Some also think the reason a lot of South Georgians disappear and are never heard from again is they are carried off by giants swarms of gnats and drowned in the Okefenokee Swamp." ~"Life Span in Georgia"
Camilla, Georgia (Mitchell County) hosts an annual festival the first weekend of every May known to the region simply as "Gnat Days." First held in 1987, the celebration begins on Friday with a 5K race and the two day event includes a music review, bike race, food, a Gnat Market along with a plethora of festivities as well as a pageant, of course. Be sure to check it out!
Savannah's local minor league baseball team is none other than the Savannah Sand Gnats. Sand Gnats are nearly microscopic and fierce! They should not be confused with Sand Flies - an entirely different species of pests.
South Florida has what is well known as "No See'ums" . These gnats are insane making their victims feel as if their legs are being set on fire - one pinhead bite at a time.
Texas has a species of this insect called the Buffalo Gnat that bites the blood right out of you. Anything with a "buffalo" reference is entirely too big for me. I'm happy to live with Georgia gnats and leave it at that.
Gnat's Landing is a place for casual food and fare found on St. Simon's Island and also in Statesboro.
If you don't believe that gnats are detrimental issues to lives in the Deep South, check out this online comment thread.
Politics; what do politics have to do with the gnat line? Read for yourself here.
Then… (insert long pause), there's "the Gnat Hat". You know, to wear. To shield a person from the insect. I'm thinkin' the camo one is my top pick. Bless their hearts.
Don't just take my word for it, find more thoughts written as well as scientific information and references on the Gnat Line from these resources:
- "You Know You're in Georgia When: You Cross the Gnat Line"
- And…even olives are growing south of the gnat line.