A charter flight headed from Washington, D.C., to Europe was delayed by several hours after a brood of cicadas invaded the engine

By Virginia Chamlee
June 09, 2021 11:02 AM
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cicadas
Cicadas
| Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The brood of cicadas currently hitting areas from the East Coast to the Midwest has made its way to the White House - with a swarm of the insects delaying a press flight traveling with President Joe Biden, who had his own buggy brush.

As the plane prepared to take off from Washington, D.C. to Europe for Biden's first international trip, mechanical issues were noted after cicadas filled the engines.

The Associated Press reports that White House aides eventually found another plane for reporters to board, and the flight was delayed some six hours.

AP reporter Jonathan Lemire recounted the incident on Twitter, writing, "The White House press charter, flying from Dulles to Europe ahead of President Biden, has been delayed for hours - due to mechanical issues caused by cicadas Yes. Cicadas."

Even the president wasn't spared from the winged creatures, brushing one from his neck as he prepared to board Air Force One on Wednesday morning and telling reporters, "Watch out for the cicadas," according to a pool report.

"I just got one - it got me," Biden, 78, said.

RELATED: People with Seafood Allergies Should Avoid Eating Cicadas, FDA Warns

Cicadas, which rise from the ground every 17 years, are currently at the peak of their mating season in Maryland, Virginia, D.C. and Illinois.

Having recently made their one-month reemergence, the bugs have already been blamed for a number of issues, including making some pets sick and causing a car crash in Cincinnati, where the local police department said a cicada hit a driver in the face after flying through an open window.

The driver, in turn, crashed into a utility pole and totaled their car.

This brood of cicadas - dubbed Brood X or The Great Eastern Brood - has been tunneling to the surface as ground temperatures warm, according to a cicada mapping site from the University of Connecticut.

Scientists say that other states in which the brood may eventually surface include Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Some people taken to eating the insects, but the FDA said on Twitter earlier this month that those with seafood allergies should not eat cicadas under any circumstances due to the bug's connection to shrimp and lobsters.

"Yep! We have to say it! Don't eat #cicadas if you're allergic to seafood as these insects share a family relation to shrimp and lobsters," the agency wrote.

cicadas
Cicadas
| Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The cicada incident on the press plane marks the White House's second air travel issue this week, following Vice President Kamala Harris' plane trouble on Sunday.

Roughly 30 minutes into her flight to Guatemala (where, along with Mexico, she visited to tout the Biden administration's immigration policies during a three-day trip), Harris' plane was grounded after experiencing technical difficulties.

Symone Sanders, Harris' chief spokeswoman, told reporters before landing that the issue was merely "a technical issue," and that "There are no major safety concerns."

After deplaning, the vice president assured the press she was fine.

"I'm good. I'm good," she said with a laugh, in footage shared by the AP. "We all said a little prayer, but we're good."