“Watch out for the cicadas. I just got one, it got me,” the president warned reporters moments after swatting a cicada off his neck, The Hill reported. The airborne cicada attack happened Wednesday morning at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland as Biden was preparing to board Air Force One for his inaugural presidential visit to Europe.
- The president and first lady Jill Biden appeared to be unharmed by the large, bite-less and sting-less insect.
- “The bugs also tried to stow away on Air Force Two on Sunday when Vice President Kamala Harris flew to Guatemala,” The Associated Press reported. “The cicadas were caught hiding in folds of the shirts of a Secret Service agent and a photographer, and escorted off the plane before takeoff.”
Cicada hoard grounds White House press plane
But, on Wednesday evening, the cicadas — which invade America’s eastern seaboard every 17 years — did organize a successful operation to ground the White House press pool plane at Virginia’s Dulles Airport, The New York Times reported.
- “Somehow, the flying insects had filled the plane’s engines, grounding it and forcing Mr. Biden’s aides to scramble for another way to ferry the reporters overseas,” Times White House correspondent Michael Shear wrote.
- The White House press pool support was also bound for Europe, an evening before Air Force One.
- “CICADA UPDATE — New plane arrived, we’ve boarded. Rolling now for the UK, flight time 6:20 after an almost 7-hour (plus 17 years) delay because of the flying bugs. G7 summit, here we come,” Shear said on Twitter of the cicadas overnight operation.
CICADA UPDATE — New plane arrived, we’ve boarded. Rolling now for the UK, flight time 6:20 after an almost 7-hour (plus 17 years) delay because of the flying bugs. G7 summit, here we come.— Michael D. Shear (@shearm) June 9, 2021