The episode marked the second time in less than 24 hours that the loud, red-eyed pest had intruded upon White House operations in the run-up to Biden’s European travel. On Tuesday night, the charter plane meant to carry the press corps for the president’s trip was grounded for roughly five hours at Virginia’s Dulles International Airport due to mechanical problems caused by the cicadas.
The intrusions from the insects come as potentially trillions of Brood X cicadas are surfacing from underground after 17 years, inundating as many as 15 states and currently staking their claim in the greater Washington, D.C., area. On Wednesday morning, however, their population decreased by exactly one, according to the president.
“I just got one,” Biden told reporters before venturing across the Atlantic. “It got me.”