Even President Joe Biden can't escape the Brood X cicadas. As the commander-in-chief on Wednesday prepared to depart to Europe on his first foreign trip since entering the Oval Office in January, he had a faceoff with a cicada crawling up his neck, proving that the creepy crawlers now emerging from the ground by the millions are no match for the Secret Service.
The humorous video that has since gone viral captured the moment as it occurred while Biden was at Andrew's Air Force Base in Maryland Wednesday morning. In the brief clip, the president and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden could be seen speaking with men and women in uniform. In deep discussion, Biden, at one point, swatted at one of the bugs on his neck. As he approached reporters, he offered a few words of advice, telling them, "Watch out for the cicadas. I just got one. It just got me."
President Biden gets the cicada treatment on the way to Europe pic.twitter.com/ywthb2hIJy— The Recount (@therecount) June 9, 2021
The cicadas proved to be more than just a humorous nuisance. The White House press plane set to carry journalists abroad for Biden's overseas trip was grounded for several hours due to the insects. According to CNBC, the chartered Delta Air Lines Airbus 330-300 scheduled to depart Washington Dulles International Airport at 9 p.m. Tuesday, but it was delayed by more than six and a half hours after a swarm of cicadas arrived. The swarm made the auxiliary power unit, or APU, which provides electrical power to the cabin and other onboard systems, inoperative, with Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant telling the outlet, "at issue was the presence of periodical cicadas within the APU, rendering it unworkable."
As a result of the swarm, a replacement plane had to be called in. The flight eventually departed to Cornwall Airport Newquay in the U.K. at around 3:30 a.m. ET. Durrant said, "We apologize to our charter customers for this rarest of entomological delays, but still nothing is more important than safety." Reacting to the delay, NBC News' Andrea Mitchell tweeted, "another reason to dislike cicadas: 'cicada strike' disabled White House press plane set to depart for G7 in Cornwall last night. Waiting to board replacement aircraft 6 hours later..."
Currently, millions of cicadas that are part of Brood X, which is the largest group of cicadas that live on 17-year cycles, are emerging from the ground. Washington, D.C. is among the parts of the country experiencing the emergence. Other than causing a flight delay and being a nuisance, the cicadas pose no true harm to humans, with Zoe Getman-Pickering, a post-doctoral fellow studying cicadas at George Washington University, telling The Washington Post, "They can't do any kind of damage besides tickling you with their feet."