Biden buzzed by cicada as swarm of noisy insects delays press flight

'It just got me,' president says after bug flies into his neck

Reporters accompanying US President Joe Biden on the first overseas trip of his presidency were delayed for seven hours after their chartered aircraft was overrun by cicadas.

The Washington area is among the many parts of the country that have been swarmed by Brood X cicadas, a brood of periodical cicadas that live underground for 17 years before emerging in huge numbers.

Once on the surface, the large insects take to dive-bombing moving vehicles and unsuspecting passers-by, as noisy males gather to attract mates.

Even the president, departing on an eight-day trip to to the UK, Belgium and Switzerland, was not spared.

Mr Biden brushed a cicada from the back of his neck as he chatted with military personnel after arriving at Joint Base Andrews military facility in Maryland for Wednesday’s flight.

“Watch out for the cicadas,” Mr Biden then told reporters. “I just got one. It just got me.”

It was not reported how the cicadas had disrupted the mechanics of the press plane, but weather and crew rest issues contributed to the flight delay late on Tuesday.

Ultimately, the aircraft was swapped for another one and the flight took off shortly after 4am on Wednesday.

The press plane is arranged with the assistance of the White House and carries journalists at their expense.

The delay is not expected to have any impact on news coverage of Mr Biden’s visit.

Updated: June 9, 2021 11:59 PM

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