WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Even the President of the United States can’t escape Brood X cicadas this year.
President Joe Biden was boarding Air Force One Wednesday when what appeared to be a cicada landed near his shoulder as he chatted with his traveling press corps. Biden quickly swatted the bug away.
“Watch out for the cicadas,” Biden told reporters. “One just got me.”
You can see the full video in the player above.
This isn’t the first time cicadas impacted the president’s first overseas trip. Reporters traveling to the United Kingdom were delayed seven hours after their chartered plane was overrun by cicadas.
It was unclear how cicadas disrupted the mechanics of the press plane. Weather and crew rest issues also contributed to the flight delay late Tuesday. Ultimately, the plane was swapped for another one, and the flight took off shortly after 4 a.m. on Wednesday.
The periodical cicada brood, Brood X, is crawling out of the ground after 17 years. There are annual cicadas, which are seen every year, and there are periodical cicadas, which live underground for 13 or 17 years and mass emerge in broods. Brood X is part of the latter. The large emergence of the loud 17-year insects that take to dive-bombing onto moving vehicles and unsuspecting passersby.
While they may be loud, cicadas are completely harmless, according to David Shetlar, PhD. at Ohio State University.
“The only thing that they would harm would be the roots of trees and shrubs as a nymph,” said Shetlar. “As adults, they do suck a little juice, mainly to get water and a little bit of sugar out of the tree branches and things like that. But the only damage that’s actually done is by the female when she lays her eggs. She lays her eggs in small, pencil-sized branches, and that will often kill that branch and cause what we call flagging — which is just that the branch turns brown on the tip of the tree.”
Biden’s first stop late Wednesday will be an address to U.S. troops stationed in Britain, and the next day he sits down with British Prime Minster Boris Johnson. The two men will meet a day ahead of the Group of Seven leaders’ summit.