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Flying insects ground White House press flight and swarm Joe Biden on tarmac


Flying insects have forced a plane in the US which was due to carry dozens of reporters covering Joe Biden’s visit to the G7 summit in Cornwall to be grounded.

Even the US president wasn’t spared and had to swat away a cicada as he boarded Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland for his flight to the UK, saying: “Watch out for the cicadas. I just got one. It got me.”

The insects, seen here at the base of a tree in New Jersey, delayed the White House media pack
The insects, seen here at the base of a tree in New Jersey, delayed the White House media pack

The cicadas – noisy insects which emerge every 17 years – managed to fill the engines of the White House plane carrying journalists at Washington Dulles International Airport shortly before its departure.

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After officials were notified of the invasion on Tuesday, a new plane was sent to Washington from New York.

President Joe Biden, with a brood X cicada on his back, walks to board Air Force One. Pic: AP
The US president, with a cicada on his neck, walks to board Air Force One. Pic: AP

The media pack was looked after at an airport hotel and eventually boarded a flight that left the US more than six hours behind schedule.

Mr Biden, who will arrive in the UK on Air Force One on Wednesday, will be making his first trip abroad since taking over as president.

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He will be hoping to rally US allies against common threats and difficulties including Covid-19, Russia and the environment.

The insects which delayed the Washington journalists emerged in eastern and midwestern US states in May as part of Brood X, an infestation which sees them coating everything from trees, walls and vehicles.

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Joe Biden swats away a cicada prior to boarding Air Force One for the G7 summit in Cornwall
Mr Biden swats away a cicada prior to boarding his plane

According to the National Park Service, the insect goes through five stages of development for 17 years underground before they emerge to begin mating.

The swarms of billions of insects have already caused disruption for people in the US, with many residents stocking up on food supplies and others taking different avoidance measures.

This round of cicadas will begin to die off later this month – ahead of their next appearance in 2038.

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