Cicada Invasion Grounds White House Press Charter Plane
A White House charter plane which was set to carry members of the press to Europe to cover President Joe Biden’s first overseas trip was unable to take off briefly on Tuesday after its engines were filled by a swarm of cicadas, amid the once-in-17-years event which sees billions of the insects emerge from ground that is currently afflicting the nation’s capital.
The chartered plane was scheduled to depart at around 9 p.m. ET, but it was delayed after the flying insects somehow managed to find their way inside the plane’s engines and also take over several exterior sections of the aircraft.
White House officials have arranged for a replacement plane to be dispatched to Dulles International Airport, CNN reports, and it is scheduled to leave early Wednesday morning.
Biden is scheduled to depart to England on Wednesday to attend a G7 conference in what will be his first overseas trip as President.
Trillions of cicadas that make up Brood X reemerged from their underground hiding spot last month in an event that takes place once every 17 years. The insects have swarmed all over the U.S. east coast with the cicada cloud over the nation’s capital being dense enough to be picked up by weather radars. The insects lay their eggs and quickly die off as and then disappear until the next generation restarts the cycle in 2038.
Cicadas’ similarity to shellfish means that they are cooked and consumed by some people. Some chefs note that the insects are “tasty, healthy, short on carbs and packed with protein.” However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned that people who are allergic to seafood should give once-in-17-years culinary opportunity a pass.